NSA racing to build `mother of all encryption breaker` quantum computer
Washington – The US’ National Security Agency is reportedly aiming to build a quantum computer that could break any and every type of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.
Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that the NSA’s effort to build ‘a cryptologically useful quantum computer’ is part of a 79.7 million dollars research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.”
According to the Washington Post, with such a 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.
An associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Scott Aaronson said that it seemed improbable that the NSA could be that far ahead of the open world without anybody knowing it.
However, an MIT professor of quantum mechanical engineering, Seth Lloyd said that NSA’s focus is not misplaced as the E.U. and Switzerland have made significant advances over the last decade and have caught up to the US in quantum computing technology.
Developing quantum computers requires specific conditions and it has been reportedly alleged that the agency carries out some of its research in large, shielded rooms known as Faraday cages, which are designed to prevent electromagnetic energy from coming in or out.
The report said that a large-scale quantum computer could theoretically break a 1,024-bit encryption faster and even 2,048-bit keys that Internet companies are slowly moving to are vulnerable to rapid decryption than classical computers.