In a mad panic to ensure another whistle blower doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Edward Snowden the National Security Agency (NSA) is planning to eliminate 90 percent of its system administrators:
(Reuters) – 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.
Although Keith Alexander is selling this move as a security enhancement it’s really nothing more than shuffling around potential weaknesses in the NSA’s networks. In order to replace so many system administrators their jobs will have to be automated, which will require developers to create new administrative tools. Instead of worrying about a system administrator leaking information to the public the NSA will now have to worry about a back door being created in its new automation tools. As the Underhanded C Contest has demonstrated numerous times, hiding malicious code is surprisingly easy. Replacing human administrators with automated systems will also give attackers a new source of potential exploits.