It seems like NSA news is alive and well in 2014.
According to new documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has dropped $79.7 million on a program called "Penetrating Hard Targets” (leave your sex-related jokes below), an initiative dedicated to funding research into the development of a quantum computer that could be used to break the most difficult of codes and encryption. The Washington Post says that the NSA hasn’t gotten far in the research, and though they have a huge amount of money behind them, their research isn’t vastly better than any other organization looking into the same thing. Snowden’s documents show that the NSA isn’t funding the actual building of the quantum computer as of now, but only the research into how one may build one for practical code breaking use.
Quantum computing allows “individual bits (called qubits) to contain superimposed values of zero and one, vastly increasing computing power. Its implications for cryptography, medicine, and research have made it a major goal for public services and private industry alike.” According to experts, the biggest hurdle is the building of a computer with the right number of qubits (which a quantum computer for breaking encryption would need hundreds or thousands), but is difficult given how unstable quantum computing currently is.
We’re still far off (maybe) from the day that quantum computing could be used against the masses, but sadly, it may only be a matter of time.
[via The Verge]