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Senate Passes Bill to Prevent Quantum Computing-Enabled Data Breaches

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The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that aims to prevent data breaches enabled by quantum computers that are capable of decrypting protected information. 

The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act was introduced by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and has a companion bill in the House introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Hassan’s office said Friday.

Portman, a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the legislation would require government agencies to inventory cryptographic systems and prioritize the transition of most at-risk systems to post-quantum cryptography.

“Data breaches exploited by quantum computing are a serious national security concern. America’s adversaries look for any vulnerabilities in our cybersecurity systems in order to threaten our infrastructure, data, and security,” Hassan said.

The legislation directs the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize the acquisition and migration of government information technology systems to post-quantum cryptography.

It also orders OMB to create guidance for assessing critical systems based on standards for the implementation of quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In addition, the agency would send a report annually to Congress summarizing progress and recommendations on the effort to migrate to post-quantum cryptography standards.