Snowden Documents Reveal NSA Working On A Super Computer

Image: Snowden Documents Reveal NSA Working On A Super Computer

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 09:01 PM

By Cathy Burke

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The National Security Agency is working on development of a super computer that can break most types of encryption, the Washington Post reported Thursday, citing documents from fugitive spy agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Building a mega-fast quantum computer is the holy grail for many in the scientific community, with potential benefits for medicine and even for the creation of artificial intelligence, The Post noted. There are also significant risks for national security.

"The application of quantum technologies to encryption algorithms threatens to dramatically impact the U.S. government's ability to both protect its communications and eavesdrop on the communications of foreign governments," one Snowden document warns, The Post reported.

But the Snowden documents hint NSA has a long way to go. "It seems improbable that the NSA could be that far ahead of the open world without anybody knowing it," Scott Aaronson, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, told the newspaper.

According to the documents, the project is part of a $79.7 million research program, "Penetrating Hard Targets" in a lab in College Park, Maryland.

Encryption is a method of scrambling information with the noise of arbitrary character strings; only someone with a rubric could distinguish the noise from the message. The more noise, or bits, the more difficult it is to crack the code by trial and error, the magazine Tech Crunch noted. A 1,024-bit encryption, for example, could take years to decode.

The road to developing a quantum computer also entails the use of highly complicated quantum mechanics, The Post noted, quoting a pioneer in quantum computing, the late Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, as saying: "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

Still, by the end of September, the NSA is expected to be able to have some basic building blocks, The Post reported. "That's a great step, but it's a pretty small step on the road to building a large-scale quantum computer," explained MIT mechanical engineer, Lloyd Seth.

But it's not too soon to worry, another expert told The Post.

"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," Daniel Lidar, a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology at the University of Southern California, told The Post.

The NSA declined to comment.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Ferguson Protest Closes Huge St. Louis-area Mall

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 17:05 PM

Officials temporarily closed a large shopping mall near St. Louis amid a protest triggered by a grand jury's decision no . . .

UN Slams US, Calls for Crackdown on Police Brutality

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 16:46 PM

The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality . . .

Legal Immigrants Being Blocked in Latest Obamacare Glitch

Friday, 28 Nov 2014 14:27 PM

Legal immigrants, eligible for Obamacare, are running into problems when they try to sign up for coverage on HealthCare. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved