Many are concerned about the National Security Agency (NSA) collection of data on US companies and individuals and the very real possibility that it has a way of directly accessing the servers of the world’s largest computing platforms: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.
It’s certainly a situation that deserves attention and concern. But what’s missing in this discussion is this: how secure is the NSA’s spying system?
If a foreign entity wanted to spy on US companies or individuals, would it try to tackle the problem directly by targeting the specific company or individual in its electronic spying attempts? It might, but that’s a lot of work for an uncertain payoff.
A much more efficient approach would be to hack into a surveillance system that already has access to the information. Far better to hack into the NSA spying system at Google, or at Facebook, or at Microsoft (if such an NSA system exists, of course).
In early 2010 Google discovered that Chinese hackers had gotten into its systems. Who did it call to help deal with this problem? The NSA. [Google to enlist NSA to help it ward off cyberattacks.]
This puzzled me tremendously, why would Google, with its enormous brain trust of the world’s top computer experts call on the NSA? Why didn’t Google have the means, the expertise, to deal with this problem directly and solely?
It makes sense if it was the NSA’s spying system that got hacked within Google.