Feeds

NSA gets burned by a sysadmin, decides to burn 90% of its sysadmins

Need to end planet-wide-snooping leaks? That'll do the trick, thinks US spymaster

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

The NSA has announced its brainwave to end further leaks about its secret operations by disaffected employees: it will simply sack 90 per cent of all its sysadmins.

The US surveillance agency's spyboss General Keith Alexander told a computer security conference in New York that automating much of his organisation's work - such as snooping on anyone with an internet connection - will make it more secure.

The inner workings of the NSA's massive PRISM and XKEYSCORE programmes were exposed to the world by Edward Snowden, an ex-CIA techie and NSA contractor who had access to highly classified material, along with about 1,000 other sysadmins.

Gen Alexander said: "What we're in the process of doing - not fast enough - is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent."

Until now, the chief spook continued, the NSA has "put people in the loop of transferring data, securing networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing".

Replacing these leaky humans with computers would make the spooks' work "more defensible and more secure". However, the general said his agency had been planning these changes for some time. He did not refer to Snowden by name while announcing his layoffs.

The head spook has previously discussed security measures employed by the agency, such as the requiring the presence of two people before certain sensitive data can be accessed.

"At the end of the day it's about people and trust," Gen Alexander added. "No one [at the NSA] has wilfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacies. There were no mistakes like that at all." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.