Shaw Centre Ottawa

Play to Canada’s Strengths to Build A Quantum-Safe Future

Mike Brown
Mike Brown, CTO, ISARA Corporation
“The challenge of protecting cyber systems and information is about to get a lot harder, thanks to quantum computing.”
—Greta Bossenmaier, Chief, CSE, delivering A Canadian Perspective on the Cyber Challenge, Lecture to the Canadian Association For Security and Intelligence Studies Symposium, September 23, 2016
It’s widely recognized that the global increase in cybersecurity attacks is not expected to slow. Those responsible for protecting data today can’t postpone or avoid cybersecurity fixes. Hacks are more public and more damaging to organizations, to their customers, and to brands, than ever before. Data breaches have become a familiar consequence of inadequate security and risk anticipation, and the personal and financial costs of breaches have also been increasing. Worldwide, spending to mitigate cybersecurity risk is expected to hit $101.6 billion in five years, according to the recently released IDC (International Data Corporation) 2016 report. The report also states that “Security spending will surpass C$2B in 2016 but Canadian businesses will still not be investing in all the right places”. If businesses are not considering innovations that anticipate the quantum computing threat to cybersecurity, cybersecurity spending may be even more misdirected and wasteful than predicted.
So what does it really mean to have a quantum safe strategy? Most people don’t have an answer to that question yet, but the creation of quantum safe strategies will be critical over the next decade. The availability of quantum resistant security solutions could provide an additional layer of protection that, when integrated into conventional security systems, has immediate benefits. This means governments and large organizations, even small organizations with specific security concerns, can take steps to improve their security posture and ready their data protection strategies for the quantum age. By connecting governments and large organizations with cybersecurity companies right here in Ontario, we can limit the negative impact that quantum computers may have in the hands of the hackers and criminal insiders who are already wreaking havoc on our personal and corporate data.
We have a clear advantage in being able to create advance strategies to mitigate the quantum threat through collaboration and early investment in innovative cybersecurity solutions. Lack of preparation will allow the cost of a quantum computing attack to increase exponentially. The number of records compromised will be significantly greater when decryption allows access to all records that have not been protected with quantum-resistant cryptography, in addition to records that hackers have traditionally been able to obtain in the clear.

Imagine being able to initiate quantum safe strategies today that will allow you to:

  • Invest in quantum resistant cryptography solutions that protect data both pre- and post-quantum computer
  • Adopt standards as they are decided, and even help progress towards standardization of the cryptographic primitives, protocols and technologies that will be most impactful to your systems.
  • Integrate with and maximize the potential of quantum technologies as they reach market readiness.
  • Extend your proactive approach to perform threat modelling and attack drills, and to prepare attack detection.

The first step is awareness of the quantum threat. The second is creating a connected community that works to produce, test, and deploy the solutions that will work best. As the recent report from the Ontario Centres for Excellence, “Harnessing the cybersecurity opportunity for growth: Cybersecurity innovation & the financial services industry in Ontario” concluded, government and Canadian cybersecurity innovators need to make a concerted effort to nurture cybersecurity talent here at home, and foster access to markets. We should also build on Canada’s dual strengths in the fields of quantum computing and cybersecurity to develop the next generation cybersecurity solutions that Canada, and the world, needs.
Join Mike for his session Quantum Safe Strategy for Canada during GTEC 2016.