The World Economic Forum and Deloitte launch Quantum Readiness Toolkit to stem cybersecurity risk

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The World Economic Forum in collaboration with Deloitte has released actionable guidance with its Quantum Readiness Toolkit to help protect organizations during the rapid development of quantum computing technologies.

The guidance compiled in the toolkit provides a specific steer to help prevent the advancements in quantum computing from having adverse cybersecurity risk, whether through increased breaches of sensitive health and financial personal data, compromised private communications or forged digital versions of information and identities.

The new toolkit has outlined five principles organizations should follow when building their quantum security readiness, including effectively enforcing change through quantum readiness transition efforts within the organization, avoiding fear-focused conversations and helping leaders stay informed about advances in quantum threats, as well as using existing cyber risk management methods to help mitigate quantum threat.

In addition, the toolkit advises businesses in the quantum industry to assess the current technological infrastructure, invest in new, emerging technologies and consider novel concepts like crypto agility, while collaborating with other organizations to identify systemic risks in ecosystems.

Colin Soutar, managing director of Deloitte and co-lead of WEF Quantum Security support of Deloitte US, said: “The Forum has developed specific messaging for executive leaders to help mitigate quantum risk. This is important as many discussions on this topic get bogged down about when a quantum computer will be available to mount these types of attacks.

“The dialog should be much more about preparing today while you still have time so that quantum risk can be methodically mitigated and businesses can continue to thrive without fear of disruption.”

This is not the first time The World Economic Forum has collaborated with Deloitte on quantum computing, in the past, the two have assessed the risks to cybersecurity and have warned that while the latest developments in the application of quantum mechanics, used in creating quantum computers, should enable organizations to speed up complicated mathematical processes often used in research and development, they can threaten some existing models.

For instance, these advances in computational capability could threaten cryptographic algorithms which rely on mathematical complexity as the bedrock of their security. This means that some forms of cryptography like public-key cryptography will likely be cracked with quantum computers.

The duo also emphasized that as the timeline to prepare for quantum computing threats is shrinking, businesses should take a multi-pronged approach, including empowering the quantum cybersecurity team with executive support and mandates, upskilling talent and requiring quantum security provisions in new or renewed product contracts.

At the same time, Akshay Joshi, head of industry and partnerships at the Centre for Cybersecurity of World Economic Forum, cautioned that: “As we make rapid strides towards the quantum era, it is crucial for leaders to ensure that security risks don’t come in the way of realizing the transformative potential of the technology.”