The American National Security Agency (NSA) apparently will be offering one of its specially developed cybersecurity tools to anyone with interest. Named GHIDRA, it is a reverse engineering tool. According to an articlein the Hacker News, the NSA is planning to release it at the RSA security conference in March.
The NSA has been victimized by theft and hacks of their security tools in recent years with the existence of this particular program revealed in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 leak. According to the article, the NSA developedthe program in the 2000s for reverse engineering programs and different types of files.
These tools look at how programs work with the hardware that runs them and isvery useful at identifying weaknesses hackers can exploit. GHIDRA is built around Java and can run on several operating systems and platforms. It has a graphical user interface (GUI) and, to quote the NSA’s, Robert Joyce,
“the GHIDRA platform includes all the features expected in high-end commercial tools, with new and expanded functionality NSA uniquely developed.”
Just as a point of interest, when writing this article, the MS Word spell checker was happy with the name of the tool in all caps but flagged it as an error when only capitalizing the first letter. Has Microsoft hadexperience with GHIDRA and included it in their dictionary?
The question becomes, what does the NSA expect to gain by releasing one of their cybersecurity tools? There is speculation, reported in the article, that the NSA will post it on GitHub in the hopes that the software community will maintain it. They have already posted 32 other programs there. The suspicious types think they have something better and are making this tool public because they don’t need it anymore.
As a US taxpayer, it’s nice that we canaccess such powerful tools developed with tax dollars. And, I am thankful the software folks out there will be able to use them to test and improve software against cyber attacks.
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