The NSA is reportedly building a quantum computer designed to break the most secure of online encryptions.
According to the Washington Post, the NSA is believed to have spent $80m (£49m) on the project so far and its efforts are ongoing. The project was revealed within documents passed to the title by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
It is part of a research programme called ‘Penetrating Hard Targets’ and the computer is being built in a lab in Maryland, it is understood. Among the computer’s duties would be breaking online encryptions used by foreign governments to protect their communications.
The news comes amid the stream of spying revelations and accusations that have come about as a result of the Edward Snowden leaks, the latest of which included allegations that the NSA attempted to install spyware onto iPhones.
While the NSA is not believed to have made any great breakthroughs in its attempts to build a quantum computer, it’s not the only organisation investing significantly into trying.
In May, Google announced it was teaming up with Nasa to launch a quantum artificial intelligence lab, and later released a video offering a peak into its development of a 512-qubit D-Wave Two quantum computer.
However, according to the Washington Post, the development from Google and Nasa would not have the capabilities the NSA is trying to develop.