Apr 112014
 
 April 11, 2014  Posted by  Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

Michael Riley reports:

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

The NSA’s decision to keep the bug secret in pursuit of national security interests threatens to renew the rancorous debate over the role of the government’s top computer experts.

Read more on Bloomberg News, who really really need to be more specific about the two sources “familiar with the matter.”

NSA has denied the Bloomberg report in a tweet this afternoon:

Statement: NSA was not aware of the recently identified Heartbleed vulnerability until it was made public.

Now will Bloomberg be forthcoming about their sources for their reporting?

Update 2: The ODNI has posted this statement on their website:

Statement on Bloomberg News story that NSA knew about the “Heartbleed bug” flaw and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence

April 11, 2014

NSA was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report. Reports that say otherwise are wrong.

Reports that NSA or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before April 2014 are wrong. The Federal government was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report. The Federal government relies on OpenSSL to protect the privacy of users of government websites and other online services. This Administration takes seriously its responsibility to help maintain an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet. If the Federal government, including the intelligence community, had discovered this vulnerability prior to last week, it would have been disclosed to the community responsible for OpenSSL.

When Federal agencies discover a new vulnerability in commercial and open source software – a so-called “Zero day” vulnerability because the developers of the vulnerable software have had zero days to fix it – it is in the national interest to responsibly disclose the vulnerability rather than to hold it for an investigative or intelligence purpose.

In response to the recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, the White House has reviewed its policies in this area and reinvigorated an interagency process for deciding when to share vulnerabilities.  This process is called the Vulnerabilities Equities Process.  Unless there is a clear national security or law enforcement need, this process is biased toward responsibly disclosing such vulnerabilities.

ODNI Public Affairs Office

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