Ordenadores cuánticos Cybersecurity

Why Quantum is a Cyber Threat 🔒

16/02/23 4 min. read

💻 The development of quantum computers represents an unprecedented threat to many of today’s cryptographic systems. In other words, a Cryptographically Relevant Quantum Computer (CRQC) will be able to threaten the fundamental pillars of cybersecurity, such as the confidentiality of the information and the security of authentication systems.🛡

Although it is uncertain when this type of computer will emerge, there is some consensus among experts that this is likely to happen in approximately 15 years. That is, around 2036. 📅

The importance of preparing for the future of cybersecurity 🙌

Do not fall into the trap of believing that the “quantum cyber threat” is a problem of the future. Most agencies, regulators, and experts recommend that governments and businesses start studying the problem and looking for solutions as soon as possible.

🌎 The world’s major powers have developed national strategies aimed to be the first to develop quantum technologies. These strategies seek to leverage the opportunities that will emerge around quantum computing. At the same time, they take full account of the risks they will face and lay the foundations for defenses against quantum threats.

Most of these strategies focus on the following areas 👇:

  • Commit public investment and attract private investment to research quantum technologies and their applications.
  • Coordinate initiatives of different stakeholders to join efforts and avoid duplication.
  • Support businesses to find use cases and have access to quantum infrastructure to realise them.
  • Find solutions to the quantum talent shortage.
  • Lay the foundations for the transition to post-quantum cryptographic algorithms.

Leaders in the quantum technology sector 💪

The United States and China are the main leaders in the quantum technologies sector. In part, this is because between them they have most of the major technology companies in the market.


In the case of the United States, this technological advantage is favoured by a rich ecosystem of start-ups dedicated to the development of specific quantum applications, the ability to attract investment, and the presence of renowned research agencies (NIST, DARPA, NASA, etc.).


In recent years, China has prioritized investment in science and technology, seeing it as key to its national security and political goals.

The commitment to quantum technologies is also clear: according to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey, the Chinese government has pledged a public investment of $15 billion to their development. It is therefore not surprising that China has the largest number of patents related to quantum technologies.

Fuente: McKinsey Quantum Technology Monitor.

European Union

The European Union has created the Quantum Flagship program to coordinate the different research projects in its Member States, lay the foundations for national strategies, and create a vibrant ecosystem around these technologies.

However, despite accumulating much of the academic acquis, competition for private capital and the brain drain are holding back faster development in the region.

The following image shows the main initiatives and policies of each country.

Are there enough quantum technology professionals? 🤔

In this context, there is a general shortage of talent specialized in quantum technologies. One possible solution to this problem is to introduce graduates from other technology areas to quantum (upskilling).

Fuente: McKinsey Quantum Technology Monitor.

Another dimension of the problem lies in the difficulty of finding profiles that combine expertise in quantum technologies with knowledge of the real needs of the sector to which they are to be applied.

In the specific case of the financial sector, much research is excessively academic and ignores the real objectives and challenges faced by the sector.

One solution may be to develop training in quantum technologies for in-house talent in the banking sector, as well as to attract graduates in relevant areas to develop practical use cases.

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Itziar Miravalles

Itziar Miravalles

Santander Digital Services

Specialist in international relations and cyber-intelligence.


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