Fifth Case of NSA Data Loss in Five Years, Russia May Build its Own DNS & Scientists Build Biggest Quantum Simulators


Another Leaky Bucket – Another case of sensitive data on show from another unsecured Amazon Web Services S3 bucket was made public today with the information exposed belonging to the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). INSCOM are a component of the NSA and the database exposed was found to contain classified information and could have been easily avoided if it were not for a simple configuration error. There is no direct attribution to anyone within INSCOM yet but the news is likely to bring more Congressional pressure for an intensified mole-hunt within the Intelligence community. Despite the latest leak, it apparently hasn’t slowed the apparent move by the US Security services to move sensitive data into the cloud. With the CIA saying that the cloud is cost saving and provides better security. I believe the first of those reasons is probably the truth with the latter being what is compromised.

New DNS for Russia – Russia has hinted that it may build its own DNS (Domain Name System) by August next year, citing US control of the current system as the reason for doing so. The current DNS system is under the control of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation. Members of the Russian council observed that “the increased capabilities of Western nations to conduct offensive operations in the informational space as well as the increased readiness to exercise these capabilities pose a serious threat to Russia’s security”.

Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian Secretary Vladimir Putin, said: “Russia’s disconnection from the global Internet is of course out of the question.” But, he added, “recently, a fair share of unpredictability is present in the actions of our partners both in the US and the EU, and we [Russia] must be prepared for any turn of events”. “We all know who the chief administrator of the global Internet is,” Peskov said. “And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security. “It’s not about disconnecting Russia from the World Wide Web”, but about “protecting it from possible external influence”. The irony of Russia citing Western capabilities of conducting cyber attacks has not been lost on most.

Good News Story – Two research teams have created the world’s largest publicly known quantum simulators – a type of quantum computer – with each containing more than 50 qubits to model complex interactions between matter that cannot be performed with current supercomputers. Quantum simulators are a restricted type of quantum computer made up of qubits – the quantum analogue of a bit used in traditional computing, where the states 0 and 1 can be in a superposition of both states at the same time. The creations are not a general-purpose quantum computer, and can only simulate specific situations, such as quantum magnets. However, Jiehang Zhang, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, believes that the system can be refined to fit 100 ion qubits or more. At that point, scientists can potentially model more difficult problems in “quantum chemistry or materials design,” Zhang concluded.