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NSA Can Access Non-Net-Connected PCs

Using RF devices implanted in the computers.  Perhaps this is what that previous report of them intercepting shipments is all about.  Color me very favorably impressed.

Color me less impressed with the human timber leading the government.  The Times says that it withheld this information at administration request when it was spilling the beans about our attacks on Iran’s computers during 2012′s presidential campaign.

And then, there’s this:

President Obama is scheduled to announce on Friday what recommendations he is accepting from an advisory panel on changing N.S.A. practices. The panel agreed with Silicon Valley executives that some of the techniques developed by the agency to find flaws in computer systems undermine global confidence in a range of American-made information products like laptop computers and cloud services.

Embracing Silicon Valley’s critique of the N.S.A., the panel has recommended banning, except in extreme cases, the N.S.A. practice of exploiting flaws in common software to aid in American surveillance and cyberattacks. It also called for an end to government efforts to weaken publicly available encryption systems, and said the government should never develop secret ways into computer systems to exploit them, which sometimes include software implants.

Richard A. Clarke, an official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who served as one of the five members of the advisory panel, explained the group’s reasoning in an email last week, saying that “it is more important that we defend ourselves than that we attack others.”

Good grief.  If we end up in an all-out cyber conflict with China, we’ll want to defend ourselves so that we can safely attack others.  Given the porous nature of networks, going all digital Maginot Line is basically the equivalent of going into a fetal position.

I can understand saying that we’re not going to exploit software holes, I can’t understand not doing it.

Posted in Foreign Policy, Military.

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