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NSA Issues Advisory on Future Quantum-Resistant Algorithm Requirements; Rob Joyce Quoted

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The National Security Agency has released an advisory on future requirements for quantum-resistant algorithms for networks or national security systems that contain classified data and are key to intelligence and military efforts.

The Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite 2.0 cybersecurity advisory seeks to help NSS operators, owners and vendors prepare for their transition to QR algorithms to ensure the security of NSS assets from future cryptanalytically relevant quantum computers that could break current public-key systems, NSA said Wednesday.

The agency said its algorithm selections for CNSA 2.0 were based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s recent selections for the quantum-resistant cryptography standardization process.

This transition to quantum-resistant technology in our most critical systems will require collaboration between government, National Security System owners and operators, and industry,” said Rob Joyce, director of cybersecurity at NSA and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner.

Our hope is that sharing these requirements now will help efficiently operationalize these requirements when the time comes,” added Joyce. 

NSA said NIST and the National Information Assurance Partnership should first vet the QR algorithms before NSS operators and owners can deploy such technologies on mission networks.

The advisory covers algorithms for software- and firmware signing, symmetric-key algorithms and general-use quantum-resistant public-key algorithms.