SPECIAL REPORT: When it comes to hacking, the best defense is not the best offense.
Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers.
The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks.
That’s because U.S. intelligence and military agencies aren’t buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.
The core problem: Spy tools and cyber-weapons rely on vulnerabilities in existing software programs, and these hacks would be much less useful to the government if the flaws were exposed through public warnings. So the more the government spends on offensive techniques, the greater its interest in making sure that security holes in widely used software remain unrepaired.
Moreover, the money going for offense lures some talented researchers away from work on defense, while tax dollars may end up flowing to skilled hackers simultaneously supplying criminal groups. “The only people paying are on the offensive side,” said Charlie Miller, a security researcher at Twitter who previously worked for the National Security Agency.
Hope renews in Bangladesh: a woman named Reshma has been rescued from the garment factory building rubble that collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24.
The Bangladesh garment factory collapse has killed more than 1,000 people.
Greece’s February unemployment for young persons rose to 64 percent in February. In the early stage of their working lives, unemployed youths are limited by a recession which will take years to recover from. The average unemployment in Greece, of all ages, is around 27 percent.
What would you do?
Photo: REUTERS/John Kolesidis
Eureka! A team of Japanese and Brazilian scientists say they may have discovered part of the earth’s original continent off the coast of Brazil before the land masses drifted apart.
Police detained 31 people over a $50 million heist of diamonds, one of the biggest jewelry robberies in history.
Robbers dressed as police and armed with machine guns stole 120 parcels of diamonds from the runway of Brussels airport without firing a shot. The suspect detained in France was believed to be a member of the gang of eight who carried out the heist.
Gun crime plunges, though most Americans think it has risen
Some 11,101 gun-related homicides were reported in the United States in 2011, a figure that is down 39 percent from the 1993 peak, the Justice Department reported. Nonfatal firearm crimes declined by 69 percent to 467,300 in the same period.