Quantum computer is the future weapon of NSA

10:00 ET, 6 January 2014

The Washington post revealed that NSA is spending a great effort to build a quantum computer that could break most types of encryption.

The NSA is monopolizing the security landscape, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Intelligence Agency spending a significant effort to develop a computer that could break the majority of encryption algorithms and applications that use them. The intent is to improve the surveillance capabilities of the agency, breaking principal encryption systems the NSA could spy on other foreign spying applications and banking platforms.

Also in this case the revelations are based on document leaked by Edward Snowden, the report mention the development of a quantum computer that could be used to break encryption codes used to protect sensitive data all over the world.

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“With such technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken, including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.”

“The application of quantum technologies to encryption algorithms threatens to dramatically impact the US government’s ability to both protect its communications and eavesdrop on the communications of foreign governments,” according to an internal document provided by Snowden.” stated The Washington Post.

The effort is impressive, a quantum computer is a computation device that makes direct use of quantum-mechanical phenomena to perform calculation.

“Quantum computers are different from digital computers based on transistors. Whereas digital computers require data to be encoded into binary digits (bits), quantum computation uses quantum properties to represent data and perform operations on these data”

The Washington Post revealed that a quantum computer could take years to develop, it’s use is not limited to cryptanalysis but could be extended in other sectors including industry and medicine. The newspaper doesn’t provides any information on the involvement of private companies for the designing of the supercomputer.

The NSA development of a quantum computer is partially financed with funds belonging to research program codenamed “Penetrating Hard Targets” for which the Government reserved $79.7 million.

“The geographic scope has narrowed from a global effort to a discrete focus on the European Union and Switzerland,” one NSA document states. 

There is also the news of another secret project called “Owning the Net,” that is financing the research for the development of a quantum computer able to attack encryption algorithms like RSA.

In time I’m writing the NSA declined to comment for the article.

Let’s wait for the next revelation based on the document leaked by Snowden.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  NSA, quantum computer)

 

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