Standing Room Only for SandboxAQ at DEFCON30


Last week, 11 members of our SandboxAQ Quantum Security Group attended DEFCON30 in Las Vegas. It was delightful to see the amount of care and attention to detail that the organizers and exhibitors put into the conference. From our own little corner in the Quantum Village to the crowd-favorite Lockpicking Village, we met many new friends and old acquaintances.

Interest in SandboxAQ was high and we supplied many attendees with a copy of "Transitioning Organizations to Post-Quantum Cryptography" for their flight home.

Two of our researchers, James Howe and David Joseph, gave talks at the Quantum Village on the current state and future of post-quantum cryptography (PQC), each drawing standing room-only crowds.

James’ talk, PQC in the Real World, offered an introductory background on PQC, why it’s needed, and how, where and when it should be implemented. He also discussed the latest updates from NIST on standardizing the new PQC algorithms, and how migrating to PQC will be much more challenging and complex than a typical IT transition.

In David’s talk, Start Now or Else! Transitioning Organizations to Post-Quantum Cryptography, he spoke about where PQC development meets quantum computing advances, discussed emerging quantum threats and implications for organizations, and proposed an approach for tackling the complexities of migrating networks, products, and services to PQC. He lightly touched on some of the work SandboxAQ is doing with SoftBank, and detailed progress in QC and PQC, and how organization’s can strategize toward migration.

Separately, David was part of defending the importance of crypto-agility and preparedness for quantum attacks in an Oxford-style debate.

Beyond that, there seemed to be a strong awareness among attendees of the implications of the impending quantum revolution on the practice of securing digital communications.

Despite the torrential rain and impressive lightning storm, the team enjoyed the many extracurricular activities and experiences available at DEFCON and Las Vegas, including:

  • Lock-picking tutorials at the Lockpicking Village
  • Flight simulator landing challenge in the Aerospace Village
  • Sticker-hunting at the post-con party
  • Sky talks on the gritty parts of the cybersecurity craft
  • Plus driving halfway across the Mojave to a vegan Italian dinner (shout out to Anthony from Jersey!) and our interns cleaning up at the craps table

We thank the organizers for running a safe and fun conference and will be back next year!

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