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Security NASA Supercomputing

Quantum Computer Security? NASA Doesn't Want To Talk About It (csoonline.com) 86

itwbennett writes: At a press event at NASA's Advanced Supercomputer Facility in Silicon Valley on Tuesday, the agency was keen to talk about the capabilities of its D-Wave 2X quantum computer. 'Engineers from NASA and Google are using it to research a whole new area of computing — one that's years from commercialization but could revolutionize the way computers solve complex problems,' writes Martyn Williams. But when questions turned to the system's security, a NASA moderator quickly shut things down [VIDEO], saying the topic was 'for later discussion at another time.'
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Quantum Computer Security? NASA Doesn't Want To Talk About It

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  • Ahhh well, just another phase in the evolution of NASA from a can do engineering organization, to a can't do political pork barrel.

    • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @04:27PM (#51096737)

      Ahhh well, just another phase in the evolution of NASA from a can do engineering organization, to a can't do political pork barrel.

      What the hell are you talking about? Nobody used that phrase but you. Watch the video. He gives a reasonable answer, and then they try to steer the questioning to other topics so it doesn't get bogged down.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Yeah, if you actually bother to take 2 minutes to watch the video, it doesn't match the "NASA moderator shut discussion down" description at all. This is just an attempt to generate controversy where there is none.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      Nah, it is just because quantum computing is relativistic therefore, nothing they may say will always be true, it always depends of the user point of vue... ;-)

      http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/... [arxiv.org]

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      A long time ago, we had a space shuttle that blew up with a teacher on it. That shuttle was named Challenger and after it blew up there was a rather lengthy period of downtime and a review. In that review a gentleman named Feynman stuck a gasket in a cup of ice water to show how brittle it was. Eventually, they solved this problem and launched the shuttle again.

      Why do I tell you that?

      Well, a couple of weeks before the shuttle resumed launching, NASA had their networks compromised and someone (they think it

  • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @04:23PM (#51096707)
    It's a news conference and they likely weren't prepared to field security questions. That doesn't mean the security is lacking. It just isn't what they were there to talk about.
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @04:33PM (#51096779) Journal

      It's simpler than that. Quantum computing in this scale is in the area of heavy research, with a huge blanket of unknown unknowns; security is about mapping out your known and unknown unknowns and turning them into known resolvable state. You can't discuss security in this field yet because you have to discuss how the system *does* behave and how to ensure it *reliably* follows that behavior in the face of any and all unknown input states.

    • It's a news conference and they likely weren't prepared to field security questions. That doesn't mean the security is lacking. It just isn't what they were there to talk about.

      That, and also they did field the security question. The answer to the question was ""It's behind various security firewalls, with RSA security tokens to get in," said David Bell, a director at the Universities Space Research Association".

      The headline here is very misleading.

    • This is such a bullshit making a mountain from a molehill article. The moderator did not "quickly shut things down" - the above OP is crap.

      "Hi - we're here to talk about the new Ford Mustang" --- Question: "What do you think of the decision to use Aluminum in the F150 frame?" "uh - yeah - great idea, lots of interesting engineering problems to solve ... Next Question"

      You are Correct. If you listen to the Video the host answers the question asked - but says effectively "this isn't what we came to talk a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...a NASA moderator quickly shut things down [VIDEO], saying the topic was 'for later discussion at another time.'

    No, you may not ask us how the NSA plans to use the d-wavies to make mince meat of all existing encryption protocols.

    • Actually that has nothing to do with the question asked. I assumed that would be the gist as well, but it was more "what are you doing to protect the computer from hackers", which was pointed out as being off-topic but got a brief answer anyway. Very disappointing, this article was total click-bait.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @04:24PM (#51096723)

    I'm wondering if this fits in with this story about a quantum computing grant for IBM, as well: http://www.zdnet.com/article/i... [zdnet.com]

  • Really need SIDH ECDSA ASAP... Nothing seems to have been officiated as of yet though :/
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "NASA moderator quickly shut things down?"

    Watch the video. Who gives a fuck?

    By shutting it down during questions about security, it could mean they don't have any more prepared answers and don't want to talk about it. That's not what the press event was for. csoonline's headline is making it sound like the questioner was asking Dangerous Questions About Black-Op Shit We're Not Supposed To Talk About.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      The press conference had to do with this D-Wave quantum computing system and its capabilities. It was not a forum for hashing out general security questions. The reporters question wasn't specific to D-Wave or anything in particular; just "government computers". And the panel didn't "shut down" anything, either.

      This is another low quality click-baity "story" like that Intel-AMD crap that got posted yesterday.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @04:42PM (#51096837) Homepage
    As a scientist working with quantum computing I can explain exactly why we dont talk about security and quantum computing. Last month we executed a security benchmark against it, and unfortunely the act of measuring the system security managed to accidentally change the entire quantum computer into a loaf of artisinal bread. We worked hard to change it back, by attempting to measure how inseucure the device was, but in turn only managed to collapse the waveform and ended up with a loaf of bread that was also a quantum computer. Weve not been entirely truthful with the public about this in the past but we can assure you that once we assemble what our team is tentatively referring to as a wheel of quantum swiss and a quantum superposition of 3 kinds of smoked meat, this hamiltonian evolution of delicious cold cut should get us back to a regular quantum computer. security concerns so far are centered around penetration attacks, and keith on the second floor trying to use the quantum artisinal loaf for a peanut butter and banana (regular, not quantum) sandwich.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can tell that this post is a troll. Everybody knows that quantum computing uses cats, not loaves of artisinal bread.

      • No, YOU are the troll here, because everyone knows that quantum computing uses cats with buttered toast strapped to their backs! That, plus ferrets with perpetual IV drips of Rockstar as bus transceivers.
        • cats with buttered toast strapped to their backs

          - Cats land on their feet.
          - Buttered toast lands with the buttered side down.
          - Which way does a cat+buttered toast land when the toast is strapped with the buttered side facing away from the cats back?

          • Which way does a cat+buttered toast land when the toast is strapped with the buttered side facing away from the cats back?

            It depends on whether you're watching or not; it's called the 'observer effect'. XD

    • Once again, Schrödinger's cat offers us some valuable insight here. A quantum computer is both secure and insecure . . . at the same time!

  • All modern crypto, except key exchange, withstands quantum computing fairly well. Unfortunately, you will get pwned and get your symmetric keys extracted during key exchange. The only work-around that I am aware of is using preshared keys.
    • Do you understand the difference between public key cryptography and symmetric key cryptography? Can you succinctly explain why comparing Diffie-Helman to AES is like comparing an apple to a metamorphic rock?

      Answer those questions, my son, then feel free to come back and comment on matters of encryption. Until then, STFU.

  • How about Quantum Computer Porn? Do they have anything to say about that?

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday December 10, 2015 @05:09PM (#51096973) Homepage
    This doesn't really deal with the real issue, the fact that the vast majority of what D-Wave is doing is complete hype with a very tiny chance of having any practical impacts. It isn't even clear that the type of problems D-Wave's machines can handle are problems where we should expect any substantial speedup from quantum computers. D-Wave's latest attempt at claiming that their computers show noticeable speedup is less lacking than some of their previous claims, but still not at all impressive. See Scott Aaronson's blog post http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2535 [scottaaronson.com] where he notes that the D-Wave machine both doesn't give any apparent asymptotic speedup and is beaten by the best classical computers. The real question isn't security but why NASA is wasting money on this instead of more promising quantum computing research.
  • Engineers from NASA and Google are using it to research a whole new area of computing — one that's years from commercialization but could revolutionize the way computers solve complex problems, ...

    ... Jabberwocky ...

    [ Sorry, I guess that's only funny if you've seen the TV show Better Off Ted. ]

  • NASA could be in a quantum state
  • But make me pay for it.
  • If NASA actually has a a real, practical, working quantum computer, they could discuss it any time they want, both earlier and later. And still could have the discussion any time after they first built the damn thing.

    Seriously, for NASA to clam up like this is atypical of usual NASA culture. I suspect one or another of our 3-letter agencies have been pressuring them.

Mathematics deals exclusively with the relations of concepts to each other without consideration of their relation to experience. -- Albert Einstein

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