The NSA is aiming at creating a “quantum computer” that can decipher any encrypted data, according to the Washington Post, referring to some documents disclosed by the former Edward Snowden consultant.
As part of a US$ 80 million research program, called “Penetrating Hard Targets “, the NSA has launched some research to develop a machine with computing power incommensurate with current computers.
This research, still at an early stage, is conducted simultaneously by the United States, Switzerland and the European Union. The Washington Post states that if the NSA’s results of are not yet known, the documents suggest that it might not be able to obtain conclusive results regarding this complex research and if this was the case, they may take years to happen.
“It seems unlikely that the NSA is ahead of the private companies without anyone knowing,” as explained in the Washington Post Scott Aaronson, the famous MIT.
As powerful computers that quantum computers would allow the NSA to leverage its power calculation, making any readable code currently used to encrypt online conversations and transactions, including RSA encryption, widely used, for example, by banks. The agency acknowledged in some document that it would have ” a dramatic impact on the ability of the federal government to protect its communications and tracks communications of foreign governments.”
Interviewed by the Washington Post, the director of the Centre for Information on Quantum Science and Technology Daniel Lidar raises a sensible point: “If you can imagine that someone could build in a few decades a quantum computer capable of deciphering many codes, then you need to worry about it today.”
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