According to Dark Reading, two groups of scientists apparently have (separately) implemented computing schemes that might unravel the robustness of existing encryption technology as we know it today.
Site editor Tim Wilson explained that many current encryption technologies, such as RSA, rely on the difficulty of computing prime factors in very large numbers. As the size of the numbers involved are increased, it becomes harder for any computer to find the solution.
However, this assumption may not hold true for much longer.
Using an experimental computer based on photonics, the researchers in Australia and China have independently been able to do a full-scale implementation of something called Shor's Algorithm, a non-linear method of factoring composite numbers. Shor's Algorithm breaks many of the rules of linear computing and therefore has no trouble finding the prime factors in any number, no matter how large.
The research shakes the foundation of all types of currently available encryption methods. If the quantum computer can factor any number of any size with equal ease, then, theoretically, no algorithm based on linear computing is safe.
According to the University of Queensland researchers: "The full realization of Shor's algorithm will have a large impact on modern cryptography."
In the meantime, Seagate's FDE hard disk or not, I think I'll stick with full disk data wipes for now.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.