Black Hat , Events , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development

Keeping Assets Secure in the Quantum Era

SandboxAQ's Jen Sovada on the Quantum Divide, Preparing for Threats to Encryption
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Jen Sovada, president, global public sector, SandboxAQ

The disruption of quantum computing could come sooner than we think, but only 18 countries are actively investing in the technology - creating a potential quantum divide of have and have-not governments and businesses, said retired U.S. Air Force Col. Jen Sovada, president of global public sector at SandboxAQ.

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Russia and China are among the countries spending an estimated $36 billion on quantum information science in 2023, and Sovada cautioned that their focus is on breaking traditional encryption and safeguarding their own data. Many hacks of encrypted files today are done with a "store now, decrypt later" strategy, she said.

"We're concerned about that. That's one of the reasons why we have to prepare," Sovada said. She said Russia is "very much partnered with China on their quantum program. They are not developing at the same rate of speed, but Putin just this week said, 'We need to have a quantum Manhattan Project very similar to what happened in the 1940s with the atomic bomb.'"

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at Black Hat USA 2023, Sovada discussed:

  • Progress on quantum computing research and potential innovations;
  • How organizations can start preparing for threats and disruption;
  • How SandboxAQ is building talent and providing services to help organizations prepare for a quantum world.

At SandboxAQ, Sovada focuses on government issues at the nexus of quantum physics and AI to help solve problems that can't be solved with classical computing today. She previously served as chief futures officer and senior vice president/general manager for the intelligence community startup MissionTech Solutions, acquired by Avantus Federal in November 2020. Prior to that, she served in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years in intelligence focused on higher-end technological capabilities and held positions in operational test, systems interoperability, and requirements definition. She commanded the Air Force Technical Applications Center, the Department of Defense's sole organization responsible for nuclear treaty monitoring.


About the Author

Tom Field

Tom Field

Senior Vice President, Editorial, ISMG

Field is responsible for all of ISMG's 28 global media properties and its team of journalists. He also helped to develop and lead ISMG's award-winning summit series that has brought together security practitioners and industry influencers from around the world, as well as ISMG's series of exclusive executive roundtables.




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