Security & Fraud

US Spies Embrace 21st-Century Tech

US Spies Embrace Advanced Tech

From iPhones to wireless connections, it seems that U.S. spies are finally catching up with the latest technologies.

An official with the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) told Bloomberg that U.S. spies are starting to install wireless connections in secure facilities and have even begun using iPhones and tablets.

“We’d be cutting off our noses to spite our faces by denying us those kinds of tools,” Matt Conner, the agency’s deputy chief information security officer, explained.

The NGA delivers intelligence to various parts of the government and is working with the Director of National Intelligence to study how wireless networks and devices can be utilized by spies, while still keeping their covers intact.

Conner said that the equipment needed to lock down and secure a wireless system can be quite costly, which is why there are many who remain skeptical that there’s value in doing it.

But the NGA is continuing its efforts to move swiftly towards cloud services with Amazon Web Services for its encrypted classified and unclassified networks. Conner confirmed the agency is also working with Microsoft on other cloud-based resources.

With the opening of its own outpost in Silicon Valley, the NGA staff is also hoping to learn more from startups and tech companies.

According to Conner, the ongoing number of high-profile breaches has "absolutely raised the visibility" of the work that he does.

"I’ve joked often that it’s a good problem to have — we have more senior-level attention on our cybersecurity program that I’m aware of," he explained.

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