What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Data on our data: 100,000 malware implants

Molly Wood Jun 13, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Data on our data: 100,000 malware implants

Molly Wood Jun 13, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

This month marks the first anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks that changed our understanding of online privacy. Just like the subject matter of the leaks, the reporting over the last year has offered a deluge of information. So this week, we’re posting a short series about all that data. Every day we’ll bring you another number that reminds us how much we have learned in the last year about online surveillance and the reach of the NSA.

85,000-100,000

malware implants

This number refers to the bits of malicious software that the National Security Agency has put onto computers around the world. The software allows the government to conduct surveillance, but it’s also essentially building a network of weaknesses in our vast system of computing devices.

“This often introduces vulnerabilities to computer systems, and can have far-reaching effects if criminals are able to learn from some of this highly advanced code being deployed by the government,” says Chester Wisniewski of the cybersecurity firm Sophos.

I think this last data point is really profound. No matter how we conduct war, it’s important to remember that when we build new weapons, we run the risk, and the threat, of those weapons being used against us. The question is when and if it’s worth it.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.