Hacked Off

It’s been just over three years since the US government indicted a former hacker at a major defense contractor for, ironically, spilling reams of classified information for all the world to see.

In doing so Edward Snowden irreversibly opened the eyes of the public to both the capacity of the US to plumb the world’s communication channels and the sheer volume of information it was collecting (or may still be collecting) on a routine basis.

But it also begged the question of why aren’t government networks more secure. Certainly there are hacks and attacks taking place at a near-constant frequency. Why are these channels still hooked up to the world at large? Would not the world’s respective defense departments be better served if they operated on secure, private networks that weren’t, for example, routed on common platforms? Put another way, isn’t the cost of being digitally pick-pocketed far greater than the nuisance of having to work on multiple systems?

Setting up systems as such wouldn’t prevent a rogue operator like Snowden from successfully spilling the beans, but it would create a far superior barrier from the reach of foreign hands than is currently in place.

In light of all the IP and security concerns so prevalent today, one would think we’d be wise to no only close the barn doors before the horse is pilfered, but also move the barn away from the farm once and for all.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow