Report: NSA developing quantum computer that could crack most encryption

By End the Lie

(Image credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

(Image credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

The National Security Agency (NSA) is currently developing a quantum computer capable of cracking almost every type of encryption, according to documents provided to The Washignton Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

This comes after it was revealed that the NSA has backdoor access to the iPhone, places backdoors in electronics produced by companies like Cisco and Dell and intercepts electronics shipments to install surveillance software and hardware.

The latest report published by the Post on Thursday states that the agency’s question to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” is part of the $79.7 million “Penetrating Hard Targets” research program.

Most of the work is reportedly carried out under classified contracts at a lab in College Park, Maryland.

The quantum computer, a machine far more powerful than the fastest traditional computer, could be able to break “nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world,” according to the Post.

One major security company, however, was tied to the NSA with a  $10 million contract, apparently part of an arrangement making it easier for the agency to crack their encryption.

Reports in September also stated that NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ crack encryption and covertly influence companies.

While the NSA is seeking to develop this code-cracking quantum computer, some say the agency is actually far from obtaining their goal.

“It seems improbable that the NSA could be that far ahead of the open world without anybody knowing it,” Scott Aaronson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, said to the Post.

Indeed, the paper reports “the documents provided by Snowden suggest that the NSA is no closer to success than others in the scientific community.”

The agency has the goal of demonstrating “dynamical decoupling and complete quantum control on two semiconductor qubits” by the end of September, according to the documents.

For more info on how a quantum computer works and what a “qubit” is, see the below video:

“This will enable initial scaling towards large systems in related and follow-on efforts,” the document states.

Yet the agency is reportedly pouring tens of millions of dollars into developing a quantum computer capable of breaking even the most complex methods of encryption.

Another project, separate from “Penetrating Hard Targets,” called “Owning the Net,” is using quantum research to create new attacks on some of today’s most secure encryption methods.

“The irony of quantum computing is that if you can imagine someone building a quantum computer that can break encryption a few decades into the future, then you need to be worried right now,” said Daniel Lidar, professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology at the University of Southern California.

Apparently, the NSA is indeed worried right now.

“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,” an internal NSA document provided by Snowden states.

Just how long it will be until this type of technology is a reality remains to be seen. University of Manchester professor Jeff Forshaw told the Guardian last year that it is “probably too soon to speculate on when the first full-scale quantum computer will be built but recent progress indicates that there is every reason to be optimistic.”

Seth Lloyd, professor of quantum mechanical engineering at MIT, told the Post that he thinks the type of quantum computer the NSA desires will take at least five years to develop.

Without a major breakthrough, it may take much longer, Lloyd told the Post in a recent interview.

Yet a small quantum computer was already sold to a consortium made up of Google, NASA and the Universities Space Research Association for $10 million by D-Wave Systems, a Canadian company, in 2012.

D-Wave Systems said they have been making quantum computers since 2009 and reports state that they also sold machines to Lockheed Martin.

The NSA has remained silent on the matter, declining to comment for the Post and The Hill.

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3 Responses to Report: NSA developing quantum computer that could crack most encryption

  1. WatchOutNow January 3, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    The long sobs of the violins of autumn. This can be encrypted and sent, and intercepted and decrypted by the NSA. But is it a poem or the signal to launch the D-Day invasion? And keys that use the page and word number of a book remain unbreakable unless you know what the book is. And while you can track couriers, you do not know what they have in their briefcase. Sure, there are plenty of idiots that still communicate openly and NSA and others can intercept these (including the British royals) – but it is not the idiots that I am worried about.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Report: NSA developing quantum computer that could crack most encryptionNot Exactly The News | Not Exactly The News

  3. v.zc January 29, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Nsa and or Darpa have it already. Its a combo version of ion sattelite refractive imagey. They are essentially using mirrors and multi sattelite convergence that is minds eye tech. Im a victim of this device…a horrid experience..and a regular usa citizen.
    The thing is…everyones looking a traditional devices…only faster..like this story. Mind reading has been perfected from sattelite. They measure heat signature and visual projection and reflection… throat pressure…vibration….conductivity…and forced speech thru gut and voice box pressured.
    The thing to understand is at first its predictive and takes a long time to set a person up.but they can generate hate…rage…word precipitation…and pressure of regions of words both in brain and spinal cord. Mind reading is really body reading.
    Here is the evil…it is being used for evil. I know how..why. they are manipulating movement with a magnet like device. This drvice moves..and can kill humans. It rolls a truck on flat (and flips) ground with a groundswell electroionic gradio magnet.it shoves people in front of busses. It can see everywhere but they confessed it cannot see in a safe.
    Its quantum..genius in most respects..and has killed 14 that i know of. Its likely close to 100.
    They are using a fake id system to swap heads of victims. They are using innocent ignorant non criminals….and experimentjng. They drill the bones with sinic ion waves that are targeted into notches they make on the skull…just behind the ear…and creases they create to mount s type of template.
    They can go into microsoft, a politician..a baseball card owners house and rob..cheat and kill. They are.
    Ive lived the horrior. Ive kept quiet mostly..they make you an idiot and unable to think or eat or sleep. They will dry the brain until a person goes insane..its sick stuff from the microwave sickos of the usa government. I know what Snowden was saying..but he didnt say How. I know. They kill. They are weak..pathetic…sick…little thieves.
    see on the side..the guys that are experts are taking it home…and at work…skimming bank cards….stock market…sporting events.
    they are bending light…making mirrors out of hydrogen and refraction…using ions that create mirages.
    its really bad. They are raping women…using children as entry tools to homes…generalizing the population into a facade of a person. Its all very early on.
    The heads of nsa…but not darpa…do not know. The experts are torturing humans to switch locations…by seizing controls from a computer safety device…by taking the consentless computer safety out of the hardware. They switch to hide the theft. The multi sattelite method of invisibility is visible in different places thst the other sattelite imagry. They interrupt feeds..and make the feeds go a longer distance thru refraction.
    The key is to understand the killers are going unchecked. The geeks cannot fsthom sucb evil..and these guys are stealing big time (57 laundry) .
    They take people and ruin lives. The safety protocol is how they are breaking in. Its microwaving so much people turn colors..i do. They torture people with old versions of aversion programs to trick the computer. They hurt the human and the comouter trys to protect..then they move it to la paz mexico and make a gian checker board in the sky to map out banks and put grids on certain homes and hide the most horrific crime ever perpetrated on usa citizens.
    If you dont believe me thats ok. I have a 6 years of daily proof. Earthquakes…dead …synthetic illness worse than the real….humiliation…convulsions..brain torture. They use hospitals too. Scripps Alverado Parkway. Forced torture..no consent..no release forms..hundreds given migraines and a horrior of horriors. Evil does exist i found..and its pathetic.
    Yes this is real and yes its going to destroy usa.

    Reply

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