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FBI Warns of Foreign Adversary Threat to Quantum Technology

World Quantum Day announcement aims to prevent damage to US national and economic security

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

April 15, 2024

2 Min Read
FBI and US flags flying on masts

The FBI is bringing together a team of security and quantum professionals to protect technology and research from adversary nation-states seeking to gain a competitive and strategic advantage.

In a statement timed to coincide with World Quantum Day on April 14, the agency announced the National Counterintelligence Task Force's (NCITF) Quantum Information Science Counterintelligence Protection Team (QISCPT).

QISCPT brings together the FBI and its intelligence and security partners to protect quantum information science and technology developed in the U.S. and like-minded nations. It is working with input from members of the quantum ecosystem from industry, academia, national labs, investors and end users.

"Quantum information science and technology has the potential for enormous positive humanitarian impact, but its implications for our economic and national security are consequential as well," said FBI deputy director Paul Abbate.

"QISCPT leverages partnerships across government, academia and private industry to protect progress in this field and thwart nation-state and other adversaries' efforts to steal innovations. The QISCPT is working within the interagency framework of the NCITF to ensure that the U.S. and like-minded nations do not lose momentum in the successful development of quantum technology."

Related:FBI Dismantles Major Ransomware Cyber Criminal Group

The FBI announcement said quantum information science has the potential to advance research in communication networks, new drugs, new materials, more defined medical imaging, microelectronics and semiconductors.

This generates significant investment from private investors and governments but also risks hostile nation-states stealing research and trade secrets.

The FBI singled out China as an adversary nation seeking to stay ahead in the quantum race by any means necessary to meet the innovation-driven economic growth goals set out in its Five-Year and Made in China 2025 strategic plans. China also announced a technology collaboration with Russia in 2023.

“The FBI and our NCITF partners have developed security partnerships with technology developers, investors and end-users to thwart adversaries' efforts to steal quantum innovations,” the FBI said in the announcement.

“To aid in keeping the quantum field safe, we are increasing outreach to government research agencies, private sector companies, and academic institutions to help bolster the industry’s cybersecurity defenses and to coordinate any counterintelligence investigations associated with quantum technology.”

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About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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