Time for the feds to focus more productively

I'm not a cybersecurity expert, but I can't be the only person who has an uncomfortable feeling about today's reports about how Russian hackers stole data from Yahoo. Read behind the stories of the last three years, and what do you see? You have a picture of U. S. security agencies like the FBI and NSA maneuvering to increase their domestic surveillance capabilities, while companies like Yahoo have to fight off constant government efforts to force access to the technology giants' data. After Snowden, the technology giants knew they had to reduce cooperation with the feds, as their reputations already suffered grievously from past cooperation.

The Russian hack into Yahoo indicates that some measure of cooperation between the giants and the feds, to prevent _foreign_ intrusions, might be helpful. Instead, the giants and the feds wrangle over _domestic_ intrusions. The Russian hackers pretended they would _help_ the FBI, and their ruse worked. Their relationship with the feds helped them steal Yahoo's supposedly secure data. If you didn't feel confident about government's ability to protect its data from Chinese hackers, or CIA's ability to protect its hacking tools from publication in Wikileaks, how do you feel about its security efforts now? We find out the FBI, through its own carelessness, was an accessory to the Yahoo hack!

Overall, you have the feeling that Russia, Rumania, China, and almost anyone in the world with a computer and a few brain molecules can run circles around our security people. What are they thinking? I can tell you what they're thinking. They think about domestic stings, non-existent domestic terror threats, domestic surveillance, and every other activity they can think of to discredit themselves. Meantime, people abroad seem to run around cyberspace unimpeded, stealing whatever they want, wherever they want. You want Podesta's email? Here, take it!

At first, you think it matters whether Russian hackers, or the KGB, are behind a particular theft, but when one hack after another comes to light, you realize it doesn't matter that much whether its the KGB, Rumania, Big Bear, Fancy Bear, or Yogi Bear. The outcome is the same: the U. S. has its pants down, with the data published or used by some clandestine organization to cause further damage.

How many embarrassments can we take? How long before the feds stop puffing themselves up when they obviously don't even know what they should be doing? If anyone at the FBI, or any other security agency, has thought about how to improve the feds' performance in this area, it's not apparent from where I sit. I can tell you something improvement does not require: more domestic surveillance and more invasion of American citizens' privacy rights.

Russian spies masterminded huge Yahoo data breach, U.S. prosecutors say


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