Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Could the NSA itself be hacked? Yikes!

[Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who created the world wide web], who was honoured in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, reserved his harshest words for GCHQ and the NSA's undermining of the protection afforded by encryption, which he said would benefit organised criminal hacker gangs and hostile states.

‘In a totalitarian state where it reckoned it was the only strong state in the world, I can imagine that being a reasonable plan. But in this situation, internet security is hard. It's naïve to imagine that if you introduce a weakness into a system you will be the only one to use it.’

He also criticised the cracking of encryption on ethical grounds: ‘Any democratic country has to take the high road; it has to live by its principles. I'm very sympathetic to attempts to increase security against organised crime, but you have to distinguish yourself from the criminal.’

by Larry Geller

Must read: Tim Berners-Lee: encryption cracking by spy agencies 'appalling and foolish': Inventor of world wide web calls for debate about 'dysfunctional and unaccountable' oversight of NSA and GCHQ (The Guardian (UK), 11/6/2013).

While reading this story I was reminded of others that criticized not only the cracking by NSA of Internet encryption, but the planting of back doors in the Windows operating system and other software. The argument goes that others, including evil-doers, could find these NSA-created loopholes and exploit them as well.

My second thought is not in the article, but here it is: Could the NSA itself be hacked? What a target! What a prize! Access to all the world’s data. All those emails, tweets, and yes, credit card numbers.

Perhaps someone is working on that right now. Perhaps dozens of people are working on that. Perhaps hundreds of people are working on that. Who will be the first to crack the NSA itself? Could it be a kid in Korea? Has a disgruntled contractor (a neo-Snowden perhaps) planted a secret backdoor in PRISM to be accessed later?


(Another Guardian story published today: Al Gore: Snowden 'revealed evidence' of crimes against US constitution)


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