A reorganization of the National Security Agency could increase pressure on US spies to choose between keeping hackers out – or acting like them to gather intelligence. This week, the NSA is expected to announce an internal reshuffling that will merge its defensive and offensive cybersecurity missions, two former US officials said. The defensive side, called the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), works with private companies and government networks to plug security holes before they can be exploited in a cyberattack. The offensive side, called the Signals Intelligence Directorate, often seeks to leave such security holes unpatched so they can be used when they hack into foreign systems. Merging the two departments goes against the recommendation of some computer security experts, technology executives and the Obama administration’s surveillance reform commission, all of which have argued that those two missions are inherently contradictory and need to be further separated. The NSA could decide not tell a tech company to patch a security flaw, they argue, if it knows it could be used to hack into a targeted machine. This could leave consumers at risk. NSA director admiral Michael Rogers has said a flatter structure is necessary to make the agency, which can […]
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