As the world of cybersecurity becomes more convoluted with cyber threats emerging from various entities and foreign governments, some experts are warning of the devasting effects that quantum computers could have on the American financial system.

During an online event on May 22 hosted by the Hudson Institute titled “Prosperity at Risk: The Quantum Computer Threat to the US Financial System,” different panelists discussed the potential effects that quantum attacks can present to the financial sector.

“The financial sector network presents a prime target for a quantum attack. If you were having a dispute with the United States … and you wanted to make it more complicated, why not take down the financial system as a distraction, let’s say in the midst of an invasion of Taiwan,” said John Prisco, CEO and Founder of Quantum Safe, Inc.

The discussion on quantum systems comes as the prevalence of these new technologies becomes more ubiquitous as well as with companies such as IBM launching a new $100 million partnership with various educational institutions to create new quantum computers.

During the discussion, Prisco warned that the exact costs these impacts could have are not well known, but it would be safe to consider these effects as “immense” and highly costly.

“I don’t know… but I think we can very plausibly say that the costs would be extremely large and would be immense in effect. My belief is having studied a lot of financial crises is it’s always worse than you think,” said Prisco.

Although quantum computing continues to present cybersecurity challenges, there are currently actions that financial organizations can take to confront such challenges, according to Arthur Herman, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

“The solutions, the protections against such a threat are already here, they’re already at hand and could be mobilized and used in ways that would make the process of getting quantum ready and quantum secure much easier and much more efficient,” said Herman.

Government agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have also taken steps last year to move forward with creating post-quantum cryptography to stay ahead of quantum attacks in the near future.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.