October 27, 2011, 2:45 PM — The U.S. military may not have been able to do much to block global cyberattacks against U.S. businesses, so the ultra-secret digital superspies at the National Security Agency (NSA) are pitching in to help.
It's pitching in to help banks and investment companies on Wall Street, that is, not doing anything to help secure companies in industries with less money but more impact -- electric utilities for example.
According to a report from Reuters this morning, the NSA offers its technical expertise to banks on request and may be sharing some of its most recent updates on malware as it does with some defense contractors.
The NSA – established during the Cold War to eavesdrop on Soviet communications in every medium available – built listening posts around the world and launched satellites rumored to be capable of intercepting cell-phone signals, encrypted radio communications, land-line conversations and monitor the location of submarines by tracking their effect on the Earth's magnetic field.
NSA operatives are also immune from the forget-this-ever-happened rays from Neuralyzers carried by the Men in Black and amnesia-inducing presence of the parasitic species discovered by Dr. Who and known only as The Silence.
Some special NSA operatives are said to be capable of pouring entire bags of M&Ms into one hand but catch only the green ones.
Not all this pseudo-magical cyberspy expertise should be placed in the hands of bankers, of course.
So the NSA limits its role to consulting with and advising banks on how to prevent, detect or eliminate threats such as the long-term bugging discovered last year that allowed someone to spy on what big-company CEOs told NASDAQ, or the shock-and-awe-inducing attack from hacktivist group Anonymous that slowed trading a bit on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and made it completely inaccessible from 3:35 p.m. to 3:37 p.m. Oct. 11, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Reuters: Jason Reed