world war E
dispatches from the network society

the NSA: opening the door to global hackers?

Sun Microsystems’s Susan Landau claims in the Washington Post that the NSA’s request for fiber optic intercept ability is an open invitation for global hackers, especially from geopolitical rivals China and Russia with professed cyberwarfare ambitions. Her argument is that once the capability for such intercepts is installed, the NSA will be unable to protect it from unauthorized use – and she illustrates with a string of recent cyberattacks on U.S. military information systems. Yet the implied solution – prevent such capability from being developed or deployed – seems unrealistic, even if it is the correct strategic path.

An apt comparison can be drawn with those who argued that the U.S. should not invent the atom bomb even if it could; once unleashed, the technology would be too dangerous. So far, it has not proven thus, although more and more countries are seeking to become nuclear powers. But Landau’s point – that the U.S. does not enjoy the kind of decades-long technological superiority in information networks as it did in nuclear physics – is valid; is not the network society, where knowledge is far more globally distributed, more dangerous with respect to the security implications of technological developments?

2 Responses to “the NSA: opening the door to global hackers?”

  1. I’m sorry to tell you that nobody’s safe (no matter the encryption bits or whatever) The NSA isn’t really opening any doors to ‘global hackers’. The EL173 wouldn’t really be interested anyway. Legitimate hackers are only problem solvers, not harmful or dangerous criminals. A hacker is a problem solver, and a hacker may help out system administrators. Crackers are the ones you should be scared of. The NSA should leave programmed bots in thousands of IRC channels to monitor inter-hacker communication to see if any attacks (major or minor or DOS or whatever) are being planned. This article doesn’t really say much about anything. Cool stuff anyway, props or whatever. Peace out Jim Whimpey, or should I say should I simply address you as ‘’? anyway good job at keeping ftp closed up and only having hyper text transfer protocol open 🙂 doesn’t give “hackers” much of an ‘attack’ route if you must. Dude seriously stop calling people who damage systems “hackers” i find the term offensive. I’m bored now. Ummmm sorry if I like wrote stuff that was bad for your blog or whatever. peace out. watch swordfish good hacking movie but so unreal

  2. Thanks – I appreciate the comment; I feel the same way you do (as I tried to express here:

    Swordfish is NOT a good hacking movie. Hackers is a good hacking movie 🙂

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