Geeks bearing gifts?

The NSA has announced that it is to make a new weapon available in the war against malicious code. It is a software reverse engineering framework called “Ghidra” and the NSA is making it available to download for free.

Ghidra includes a suite of software analysis tools for analysing compiled code on a variety of platforms. This will enable “white hat” hackers to disassemble and decompile suspect code. It is part of the NSA strategy of enlisting an army of freelance hackers in the hope that this larger citizen’s force has a greater chance of spotting the sort of programs that hostile hackers from countries such as China and Russia love to sneak into the West.

It is a good idea, but first there may be a slight matter of trust to overcome. Most people with enough technical nous to be hackers tend to be a little suspicious of anything handed out by the government “for free”. The NSA has tried to counter this by pledging that there are absolutely no back doors or other software tricks embedded in the code for the NSA to exploit later. However, hackers have already zeroed in certain oddities about the code, such as the opening of certain ports once it is running. The NSA is trying to exaplin these things away, but judging by the chatter on the net, the hacking community is yet to be convinced.

Ghidra is not available yet, but if you are interested you can find further information here:

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