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Ear to the Ground

NSA Said to Have Left Us Vulnerable to Attack in Order to Exploit Heartbleed

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Posted on Apr 11, 2014

In violation of one of its primary missions, the National Security Agency reportedly has kept secret the biggest threat to Internet security in memory in order to exploit it.

The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL, a basic security protocol, affects as many as two-thirds of the Internet’s servers, and, according to a Bloomberg piece, the NSA has known about it for years:

Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers.

“It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first,” said Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer. “They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.”

The NSA exists, in part, to identify bugs like Heartbleed and make us more secure. Instead, the agency appears to have become totally obsessed with espionage.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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