Super computers that can break advanced encryption at a much faster speed may just be the norm in the near future, with rumours of the National Security Agency (NSA) currently planning to build a quantum computer that can do exactly the same thing.
According to the Washington Post that got hold of the documents from Edward Snowden, the project is part of “Penetrating Hard Targets”, a classified research program worth &79.7 million. The supercomputer project is aimed to protect the records on banking, medicine, business, and governments all over the globe.
However, while the plan seems grand, some engineers already commented that the computers are extremely fragile, hindering NSA to build a quantum computer on a large scale. It may also potentially threaten the web security. That’s why NSA is allegedly hiring security experts who can make backdoors.
Aside from NSA, the European Union and the Swiss government are also in the pursuit of building quantum computers. However, both governments still have yet to hit an immediate breakthrough.
As of this writing, the NSA has still no comment on the issue.
Encryption has already been around since the ancient Greek period. It’s a method used for scrambling information by using noise or bits of arbitrary character strings. The more noise or bits, the harder it will be to crack the code by trial and error. Only someone with the rubric can differentiate between the noise and the message extracted from the information.
On the other hand, Quantum mechanics conceptualises that matter can exist in multiple states. Quantum computers can easily calculate problems with bits called qubits that can feature 1s and 0s simultaneously, potentially increasing the speed of calculations exponentially.