Revealing the NSAs Silicon Slopes: Leaked Documents Show Utah Data Center
- In May 2014, an IT contractor working for the National Security Agency (NSA) leaked terabytes of secret, top-secret and other classified documents
- These documents revealed key information about the Utah Data Center, the NSA’s main data storage and backup facility
- The NSA responded by compiling and publishing the leaked information along with explanatory notes
- In order to handle its large amounts of data, the NSA built a massive data center in Utah – an area known as Silicon Slopes which is home to many digital technology facilities.
New Utah Data Center Powering Intelligence with Speculated Zettabytes of Capacity
- The Utah Data Center, also known as Bumble Hive, is a 1.3 million square foot site providing a centralized repository of data to authorized intelligence customers
- The site has 20 buildings including Central Administration, firefighting facilities, Pump House, diesel generators, electrical substations and security-related structures
- It consumes 65 megawatts of electricity per year at a cost of 40 million dollars
- Its total capacity is speculated to be in the zettabytes range although the NSA officially declares it as classified information
- It is run by a massively parallel cray xc30 supercomputer which can perform 100 thousand trillion calculations each second.
NSAs Advanced Encryption Standard and Water Consumption: Security vs Resource Management
- The NSA’s Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is highly secure and would take a supercomputer a few hundred years to crack
- The NSA’s Oak Ridge research facility and other new supercomputing centers suggest they may be on the way to building an exoflop machine capable of breaking AES encryption in reasonable timeframes
- The Utah Data Center has been accused of stealing Utah’s water due to its high water usage per capita during drought conditions
- The NSA claims it is aware of the issue with water consumption, has reduced their expected use by 1/3 and built a 3 million gallon tank and pipeline
- While some believe the NSA is watching every US communication, they deny this, arguing that law and government oversight prevents them from overreaching their authority.