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Communications of the ACM


The Quantum Threat

quantum system concept, illustration

Credit: Tex Vector

The security of modern communications could soon expire. The precise day, month, or year is impossible to predict because the technology capable of cracking our codes—practical, robust quantum computers—does not exist. Yet experts insist that the time to prepare is now.

"It's beyond something you can just ignore, even though we still don't know when it will happen," says mathematician Michele Mosca of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Canada. "The chance of it happening in five, 10, or 20 years is not a risk you can accept. It's a systematic threat to the global economy, and it's real enough that you definitely have to plan for it now."


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