Yes, that title is, in fact, a reference to one of my favorite movies, SNEAKERS. SNEAKERS is about a group of people who are asked to steal a black box that has an ingenious hardware solution to keyless decryption. The creation of the box was funded by the National Security Agency (NSA), and that’s what this post is about.
A few years ago I read a great tome of a book called “Body of Secrets” about the founding and daily operations of the NSA. So, when I read a Wired article by Bamford regarding the construction of a new NSA facility in Utah, I took notice (read the article and the comments, as you have no idea if my summary is accurate or merely my interpretation).
In it, Bamford explains how the goal of this new facility is to gather and data-mine all data on the Internet, as well as the data from other sources of intelligence; and that the NSA has a new supercomputer that it’s going to use via intelligent brute-force attacks, to read the world’s encrypted message. The nasty part is that the NSA’s slurping of data isn’t simply limited to non-U.S. citizens (the NSA is only chartered for foreign intelligence, so, if it’s really doing that, it’s illegal).
What I found really interesting, other than what I mentioned above, is the comments. People were intelligently discussing (with very few personal attacks) the role the U.S. Intelligence community should play in a government “by the people.”
You might be asking, “All well and good, Jonathan. But, why are you writing about it?” The reason I mention it is because it’s a part of my research for the script I’m working on about a computer hacker. And, the NSA is VERY good at hacking computers, so I think it’s useful for me to pay attention to what they do.