NSA eyes ‘encryption breaking’ machine


INTEL HQ. The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, as seen from the air, January 29, 2010. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP

The Washington Post reported the US National Security Agency (NSA) is eyeing a “quantum computer” that could break nearly any kind of encryption. Citing leaked documents from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the computer would allow the spy agency to break encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world. Quantum computing uses the power of atoms and molecules to increase the security of computers, and perform millions of calculations at once. But experts said it’s unlikely the NSA would be close to creating a quantum computer without the scientific community being aware of it. The Post said the leaked documents indicate the agency carries out research in large, shielded rooms known as Faraday cages that prevent electromagnetic energy from entering or exiting.

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