Skip to comments.NSA to cut system administrators by 90 percent to limit data access
Posted on 08/08/2013 10:41:56 PM PDT by gandalftb
The National Security Agency, hit by disclosures of classified data by former contractor Edward Snowden, said Thursday it intends to eliminate about 90 percent of its system administrators to reduce the number of people with access to secret information.
Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, the U.S. spy agency charged with monitoring foreign electronic communications, told a cybersecurity conference in New York City that automating much of the work would improve security.
"What we're in the process of doing - not fast enough - is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent," he said.
The remarks came as the agency is facing scrutiny after Snowden, who had been one of about 1,000 system administrators who help run the agency's networks, leaked classified details about surveillance programs to the press.
Before the change, "what we've done is we've put people in the loop of transferring data, securing networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing," Alexander said.
Using technology to automate much of the work now done by employees and contractors would make the NSA's networks "more defensible and more secure," as well as faster, he said at the conference, in which he did not mention Snowden by name.
These efforts pre-date Snowden's leaks, the agency has said, but have since been accelerated.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
What Snowden did was remove the entire hard drive from a laptop, install that drive in his own laptop and upload to an encrypted cloud that only he can access from anywhere. No need for thumb drives. Low tech and no alarms, amazing that security never thought of any counter-measures such as a laptop case alarm monitored by a different dept.
Booz Allen knew what he did for two weeks while Snowden bailed out to Hong Kong. Snowden was only stopping over in Hong Kong on his way to Russia, then Tehran, then Damascus and then Venezuela. He got stuck in Hong Kong on a temporary passport hold that expired. When we messed up the paperwork, he bailed to Russia.
Booz Allen not only fumbled online security but was doing only phone call interviews for background, that's how Snowden got in.
The reason there are so many system administrators subbed out to Booz Allen and others, is that occupation is a major destination for retiring intel and military personnel. Unfortunately, the hiring was so sloppy, the Snowden's got in also.
Anyway, it's scandals like this that tip government over and bring them, kicking and screaming and holding their breath, into the real world. I call it the Flintstone Syndrome.
Thou art pinged.
They can claim that they’re putting all their employees on cruise ships or a moon base but since there is no way of checking, we’ll never know, will we?
That's nice. But it isn't going to stop the Obama Administration from using all the agencies of the Government, including the NSA, from spying on citizens and persecuting them.
GMTA. Who really believes anything these gangsters say anyway?
something is rotten in Denmark . . .
I am actually more concerned about the people that have “legitimate” access to all this data.
Certainly makes one question the need for 90% of staffing in the first place?
Correct, we won’t. NSA knows they can be penetrated, the Ruskies could have easily recruited a Snowden and looked in on every secret op and agent we have.
Booz Allen is everywhere and thinking they could isolate the system admins in HI would elevate security is hilarious.
OK all you NSA and Booz Allen security geniuses..... Could you at least locate yourself in places that have no direct flight out of the US??? And how ‘bout putting a travel hold on every employee and sub from leaving the US without permission???
Snowden wouldn’t even have to have swapped the hard drives.
I have seen a so called secure laptop that had no USB ports but did have a VGA port to plug up a larger monitor. All he really needed to do was to be able to plug the USB port less laptop up to a larger monitor. The information could then be siphoned off as video capture. Not as clean in some ways but if the laptop was able to be plugged into a larger monitor through a video port it could be done. The soft ware for doing this is readily available and widely used to convert personal DVD’s to non-disk copies. How hard would it be to get split cable?
“What Snowden did was remove the entire hard drive from a laptop, install that drive in his own laptop and upload to an encrypted cloud that only he can access from anywhere. No need for thumb drives. “
Any proof of this or is it just speculation.
I suspect/speculate that Snowden is just a front man for an inside group. The fact that the NSA is going to eliminate 90% of the SysAdmins indicates that I am probably right about this.
Good point, the problem is the screen ports would have a very slow transfer rate. He took almost a terabyte.
Like I said it is a messier solution but it would work.
A terabyte could probably be obtained in this fashion in a few hours rather than a few minutes.
If I speculate, I’ll tell ya.
There is no inside group, Snowden wasn’t there long enough and he is too anti-social to work in a conspiracy with others.
He is a classic loser, lone wolf, swinging for a home run for some grandiose hero image that he craves.
He will soon be forgotten. Stolen secrets age very quickly.
You’re assuming that the Obama administration cares about leaks that damage our security.
It could work but Snowden was clever enough not to draw attention to a large download by splitting it up over about three months.
He was downloading from the start of his employment at Booz Allen.
As a system admin he could easily sector a hard drive and password protect the sector he was downloading to.
Silly me :):)
So, how much will them changing job titles cost us?
The big secret that the Government is shredding the 4th and spying on its own citizens won’t be soon forgotten.
It’s also having an impact on American Technology companies as foreign companies are hesitating to do business with them.
Unless you work for the Government you have no inside information and if you did you sure wouldn’t be posting it on the Internet.