Relying on “A Guy”

Incredible story briefly detailed in NYT’s “Did One Guy Just Stop a Huge Cyberattack?” by Kevin Roose:

In the cybersecurity world, a database engineer inadvertently finding a backdoor in a core Linux feature is a little like a bakery worker who smells a freshly baked loaf of bread, senses something is off and correctly deduces that someone has tampered with the entire global yeast supply. It’s the kind of intuition that requires years of experience and obsessive attention to detail, plus a healthy dose of luck.

This could have been an unmitigated disaster. So much of the world’s infrastructure relies on random individuals being generally good or exceptionally thoughtful, in this case, the diligence of some dude who describes himself as a “private person who just sits in front of the computer and hacks on code.”

But, on the darker side: Given the seemingly miraculous nature of this catch, what are the odds there aren’t other backdoors already in place in our key systems?

Leave a Reply