(Bloomberg) -- Companies working with the US government may be required to start protecting their data and technology from attacks by quantum computers as soon as July.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology, part of the Department of Commerce, will in July stipulate three types of encryption algorithms the agency deems sufficient for protecting data from quantum computers, setting an internationally-recognized standard aimed at helping organizations manage evolving cybersecurity threats. 

The rollout of the standards will kick off “the transition to the next generation of cryptography,” White House deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger told Bloomberg in Cambridge, England on Tuesday. Breaking encryption not only threatens “national security secrets” but also the the way we secure the internet, online payments and bank transactions, she added.

Neuberger was speaking at an event organized by the University of Cambridge and Vanderbilt University, hosting academics, industry professionals and government officials to discuss the threats posed to cybersecurity by quantum computing, which vastly accelerates processing power by performing calculations in parallel rather than sequentially and will make existing encryption systems obsolete.

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While a quantum computer capable of such attacks has not yet been realized, the US and UK are among governments beginning to take the threat seriously. 

The US Senate, in a rare unanimous vote, passed a bill in 2022 addressing the threat of quantum computers on cryptography. The memorandum gives government agencies the powers to mandate contracted companies to adhere to the standards laid out by NIST. 

Companies holding or seeking federal contracts will eventually be required to meet these standards by 2035, although sensitive projects may require quantum encryption far sooner.

“It’s in companies’ own interests to be leading the way there,” Neuberger said.

British government officials in attendance included “chief spy” Anne Keast-Butler and Chief Technical Officer of the National Cyber Security Centre, Ollie Whitehouse. The UK also plans to adopt the standards proposed by NIST, Keast-Butler, Director of intelligence and security organization GCHQ, said in a panel event. 

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