The Spread of Quantum Resistance and Denial Disorder (QRDD)

3 min read
April 10, 2023

More and more people in cybersecurity are being diagnosed every day with QRDD. In an informal poll of cybersecurity leaders and teams, respondents reported knowing at least one person displaying signs of Quantum Resistance and Denial Disorder (QRDD). So what is it and why is it such a cause for concern in the community?

With QRDD spreading rapidly around the world, we’ve put together this informational overview of common symptoms, disease progression, and treatments for QRDD to help you assess your cryptographic mental health. This is NOT real medical advice, however laughter is the best medicine so read on to find relief from your symptoms.

What Is It?

Quantum Resistance and Denial Disorder (QRDD) is a mood disorder that causes feelings of anxiety, guilt, and isolation. A variant of a common business illness, Ostrich Reflection Disorder (commonly known as head in the sand disease), QRDD affects how you feel, think and behave.

Known to afflict CISOs and security teams in all regions of the world, QRDD commonly presents as a denial of quantum risk and avoidance of taking action to prevent the unauthorized decryption of valuable data by cyberattackers, see entry for Harvest Now Decrypt Later attacks. Failure to treat QRDD early can lead to a variety of security and business problems (comorbidities).

Symptoms of Quantum Resistance and Denial Disorder (QRDD)

Although QRDD may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur nearly every day and may include:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy to accept new information about quantum risk
  • Anxiety, unusual restlessness, or even a lack of worry about the failure of cryptographic algorithms and loss of privacy for valuable data
  • Feelings of guilt or isolation, fixating on procrastination or justifications for inaction
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and quantifying risk

Symptoms of QRDD can vary from person to person. Advanced cases may be characterized by:

  • Angry outbursts anytime someone asks about quantum, irritability or frustration, over-emphasizing insignificant matters like predicting the exact date Shor’s 1994 algorithm will be used. This is usually coupled with ignoring 30 years of mathematical progress.
  • False feelings of superiority and competence, being the smartest person in the room when talking about quantum
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or nightmares about what could happen if your encryption failed

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your doctor may determine a diagnosis of QRDD based on:

  1. Self-Assessment for Signs of Denial: You answer “true” to one or more of the following
    • Quantum computers don’t exist (at least not in a relevant capacity)
    • It will take decades to perfect them
    • Not perfected enough to brute force the cryptography we use
    • RSA can’t be broken
  2. Business Leader Evaluation for Deflection: Leadership finds evidence you hold one or more of the following beliefs
    • I’m fighting immediate and real fires, this can wait
    • Our data isn’t important to state actors
    • I’ll be long gone from here before it is a problem
    • That’s a vendor issue, we’ll just change when the time comes
    • Let’s wait and see what the government suggests
    • Addressing quantum risks takes too long, is too hard, costs too much/not budgeted

Treatment for QRDD is generally quick and painless. Your doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe hardware and security frameworks to relieve symptoms. However, many people with QRDD also benefit from seeing a quantum professional. The typical protocol includes:

  • Small Group Therapy: Accepting that cryptographic risk is real, whether from immensely powerful quantum computing or from advances in mathematics and artificial intelligence that enhance the capabilities of a much smaller (and existing) quantum computer, is a necessary precondition for successful treatment.
  • Off-the-Shelf Remedies: Four commonly prescribed and commercially well-tolerated treatments show promise in fighting QRDD and include PQC Algorithms, Quantum Random Number Generation, Quantum Key Distribution, and Quantum Key Management (QKM).
  • Ongoing Education: Attend webinars and informational sessions, like Quantum Cyber breakfast at RSAC 2023, to reinforce quantum safe behaviors.

When to See a Quantum Expert

It’s normal to feel confusion and paralysis by analysis when confronted with the overwhelming amount of quantum information flooding the market today. Seek professional quantum expertise when you have the desire to continue in your current career path, your company believes its data holds value to itself or others, or you genuinely want to to protect your data today and in the future. 

Work with a company that has been recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for its work in quantum cybersecurity innovation. Schedule an appointment with QuintessenceLabs today.