“Industry-academia cooperation is key to transition to post-quantum cryptography,” national cyber chief says

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Aug. 29, 2023 7:22PM GMT+9

On Tuesday, South Korea’s top cybersecurity official pledged full support for industry leaders who are making the transition to post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

“In order to transition our nationwide cryptography systems to PQC, we need to build a strong foundation for PQC industrialization,” said Baek Jong-wook, the Third Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). He made the comments in relation to the PQC conference that took place in Seoul on August 29. Instead of attending the event in person, the director conveyed his message through an agency press release.

“The agency is committed to offering its full support to the industry in both the technological and policy dimensions, ensuring that they are well-informed about the present status and future plans related to PQC,” Baek further noted.

The PQC conference attracted approximately 100 cryptography experts from research institutes and the cybersecurity industry, all actively involved in PQC development. Notable participants included professionals from the National Security Research Institute, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, and the Korea Internet & Security Agency. The event featured presentations and discussions centered on the evolving landscape of PQC.

Randall Easter, former director of the United States’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a leading figure in developing the “Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140” series for cryptography modules, delivered a keynote speech. He shared insights on what to consider and prepare for during the transition to PQC.

On July 12, the South Korean government unveiled its master plan for PQC. The statement highlighted the government’s aim to transition its national cryptography systems to PQC by 2035. This move is intended to safeguard the nation from potential threats posed by quantum computing and to bolster its cybersecurity infrastructure. The national PQC roadmap is built around three primary objectives, which are further divided into six distinct tracks, including technology acquisition and regulatory amendments.

For the past two years, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has been a sponsor of the PQC event. The agency established a specialized research group for post-quantum cryptography in 2021, known as Korean Post-Quantum Cryptography (KpqC). Han Dae-wan, who heads the Cryptography Research Center at the National Security Research Institute, currently leads the KpqC initiative.


The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

Dain Oh is a distinguished journalist based in South Korea, recognized for her exceptional contributions to the field. As the founder and editor-in-chief of The Readable, she has demonstrated her expertise in leading media outlets to success. Prior to establishing The Readable, Dain was a journalist for The Electronic Times, a prestigious IT newspaper in Korea. During her tenure, she extensively covered the cybersecurity industry, delivering groundbreaking reports. Her work included exclusive stories, such as the revelation of incident response information sharing by the National Intelligence Service. These accomplishments led to her receiving the Journalist of the Year Award in 2021 by the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology, a well-deserved accolade bestowed upon her through a unanimous decision. Dain has been invited to speak at several global conferences, including the APEC Women in STEM Principles and Actions, which was funded by the U.S. State Department. Additionally, she is an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association, further exhibiting her commitment to journalism.