NSA uses Heartbleed bug to spy on citizens

In Opinion

Recently, news of a bug called Heartbleed spread, and with it came news of the National Security Agency possibly abusing the bug to gather information on U.S. citizens. If this information is true, it would be yet another strike against the NSA. 

The Heartbleed bug is one of the biggest flaws in Internet history. It has affected up to two-thirds of the world’s basic security, according to Bloomberg. 

When an individual uses a computer to browse a webpage on the internet, the computer connects to the websites’ server; the website then sends a certificate, or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), along with a key that the computer then uses to unlock the certificate, verifying the websites contents and also assuring the user that the website is legitimate. 

The bug creates an opening in the SSL certificate that makes it possible for potential hackers to monitor anyones browsing history and possibly steal personal information.

 Hackers, or possibly even the NSA, can hijack the security key the website sends back to the computer and use that to steal information without the website knowing, thus leaving the individual completely unaware of any wrongdoing.

When the Heartbleed bug was discovered earlier this month, many companies across the nation started checking and double checking their security system for any holes that could have allowed the bug to slip through. 

It’s not rare to see bugs emerge on the Web.

 The shocking part of this bug is that for two years before the public learned of this bug, the NSA was using it to gather the information on U.S. citizens, according to Bloomberg. 

During this time, the NSA did not tell the public about the security flaw; they simply abused it. 

While the NSA is a spy organization that works in all things covert, that does not excuse them from hurting the security of the very people they are meant to protect. 

“Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers,” said Michael Riley, a writer for Bloomberg.

The notion that the NSA may have used the bug in order to obtain the information of United States citizens is still unconfirmed. 

However, the idea that they would even be contemplating such a tactic is undermining the liberty of this country; this is the nation of the strong and the free and its citizens should not be worried about the government prying into their personal lives. 

The notion of it is pervasive and uncivil at best. 

“Contentions that NSA is secretly exploiting holes in commercial or open source software have sparked protest abroad, with other countries threatening to use the reports as pretext for banning American software,” said Gautham Nagesh, a writer for the Wall Street Journal. “While the administration contends there has been little change to how it handles the security holes since the review, the process remained highly opaque until the review was recently complete. 

The administration’s latest statement came only as part of an effort to deflect what they said was an inaccurate report.”

America is founded on many civil liberties, and individual freedoms are of the utmost importance. 

For any individual to worry about governmental intrusion in their personal life is highly undemocratic.

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