Taking a Quantum Leap in Cyber Deterrence
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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There has been much speculation in Defense and Homeland Security circles about what a so called cyber-911 would look like. Decisions made by United States today could prevent or invite such a scenario in the next 25 years. Cyberspace research and development will significantly impact the increasingly interconnected environment that will describe the world in 2035 creating opportunities and danger. Opportunities lead to cyber omnisciencei while dangers warn of less privacy, compromised sensitive data, and more vulnerable networks. Quantum computing will be the key to this future. Protecting information and networks in an increasingly connected world has grown exponentially more difficult. Less than a decade ago, defense officials theorized about the cyber crime and data exploitation we see today.ii As such, information is increasingly protected by encryption methods. Quantum computing enables more secure encryption, permitting the use of larger keys without increasing decipher time. Quantum theory provides new options for secure communications. Quantum computing paradoxically renders data and networks less secure. A quantum computer could break the encryption it enables leading to increased espionage, attacks on financial institutions and critical infrastructure. Anyone with quantum computing muscle gains power and groups criminal and terrorist have more to gain. Therefore nation-states must learn how to deter Non-State Actors NSAs from illicitly using this technology.As computing technology evolves and quantum computers become readily available will the United States be able to deter violent NSAs from using quantum computer technology to launch potentially devastating attacks in or from cyber space Conversely, does quantum information technology provide the United States new cyberspace deterrence options This research will strive to answer these questions.