NSA Trying To Build Quantum Computer That Could Break All Forms Of Encryption

quantum computingTrying to maintain your privacy? Consider just giving up. The Washington Post reports:

In room-size metal boxes ­secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.

The development of a quantum computer has long been a goal of many in the scientific community. 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.

, , , ,

  • Reasor

    I’m all for it. The government is funding the R&D on these new computers, while their criminal conduct is ensuring that there will be a ready and profitable market for the inevitable, privately owned, quantum computers with the processing power to encrypt against the government’s new hardware. What the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviets did for technology in the 20th Century, the arms race between the U.S. and freedom itself will do in the 21st.

  • Chris

    OMG, yes, and then this falls into the wrong hands and they have to build a bigger super computer to beat the stoeln technology. Yes, mlore money being spend and WASTED by the NSA and ‘Merica overall.

  • Matt Staggs

    In room 2A of the Crypt of the NSA adventurers will find a statue of an octopus with many eyes… Sorry, this looks too much like a D&D dungeon map to me…

  • Hindley Milner

    “With such technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken…”

    This is a very important distinction.

    Quantum computers won’t magically destroy all forms of cryptography. That’s absolute sensationalistic bullshit. Quantum computing is limited. It can only crack asymmetric (public key) systems, which are primarily based on two major computational hardness assumptions: discrete logarithms and integer factorization. Shor’s algorithm provides an efficient way, in complexity class BQP, to solve these problems (by finding prime numbers).

    Symmetric encryption is still safe. AES, Blowfish and so forth will be doing fine, until hardware advances enough to make their key sizes trivial to bruteforce, or if some other cipher-specific vulnerability is uncovered.

    Cryptographic hash functions are fine, so long as the usual vulnerabilities like collisions aren’t found.

    Then we’re heading for an era of post-quantum cryptography. Right now most people are researching lattices, but rest assured: by the time this computer actually works, we will have likely moved.

    Keep protecting your privacy. Quantum computers are useless in cracking your TrueCrypt drive.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Because if there’s one thing we need, it’s the deep state that you can’t stand up to or even hide from.

  • DrDavidKelly

    “A
    computer which can calculate the Question, to the Ultimate Answer. A
    computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself
    will form part of its operational matrix. And it shall be called… the
    Earth.”

  • Jonas Planck

    …And what kind of encryption will the newly un-encrypted data have after they crack it? The honor system?