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Innovation

US taps startup QuSecure for post-quantum cybersecurity

With quantum threats on the horizon, the federal government is granting a major contract to a three-year-old startup to protect encrypted communications and data with quantum resilience.
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on
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Image: Dmitriy Rybin/Shutterstock

Earlier this year, the Biden Administration issued a memo highlighting both the potential benefits and significant risks of quantum computing. Quantum computers powerful enough to break public-key encryption are still years away, but they could eventually pose a major threat to national security as well as to financial and private data.

To address that threat, the federal government is tapping the startup QuSecure to supply it with post-quantum cybersecurity software. The contract is a big deal for the three-year-old startup, which just released its quantum orchestration platform, QuProtect, in May. Its product is designed to protect encrypted communications and data with quantum-resilience using quantum secure channels. 

So far, QuSecure notes, it's the only post-quantum cybersecurity (PQC) vendor to receive a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. The SBIR program is a highly competitive initiative that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in R&D with the potential for commercialization. Now that it's in Phase III -- meaning its technology is ready for commercialization -- QuSecure says it will be "setting the standard for all federal government's PQC requirements."

SEE: What is quantum computing? Everything you need to know about the strange world of quantum computers

On top of that, QuSecure's contract with the federal government is sure to pave the way for more business with private entities that work closely with the government. The company pointed out that industries such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, and healthcare all follow strict regulatory and compliance rules. 

In its memo, the White House said it wants the US to migrate cryptographic systems to ones that are resistant to a "cryptanalytically"-relevant quantum computer (CRQC), with the aim of "mitigating as much of the quantum risk as is feasible" by 2035.

Meanwhile, Congress is sitting on the Endless Frontiers Act (now part of a much larger legislative package), which would allocate $100 billion in federal funding over five years to research emerging technologies such as quantum computing.

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