Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-1-2024


Holland, Helena. "Quantum Computing and U.S. Cybersecurity: A Case Study of the Breaking of RSA and Plan for Cryptographic Algorithm Transition". University of Nebraska Lincoln, March 2024.


The invention of a cryptographically relevant quantum computer would revolutionize computing power, transforming industry and national security. While a theoretical possibility at the time of this writing, the ability of quantum algorithms to solve the factoring and discrete logarithm problems, upon which all currently employed public-key cryptography depends, presents a serious threat to digital communications. This research examines both the mathematics and government policy behind these risks and their implications for cybersecurity. Specifically, a case study of RSA, Shor’s algorithm, and the American Intelligence Community’s plan to transition toward quantum-resistant algorithms is presented to analyze quantum threats and opportunities and characterize the potential large-scale consequences of the technology.