This press statement makes me really worried. Considering the recent news about Congress wanting a kill switch for the Internet, an NSA announcement that it will "secure" the internet sounds like spin.
Have you ever heard the joke about how different branches of the U.S. military "secure" a building? The NSA puchline would be "rig the building for demolition, then put the Big Red Button right next to the light switch.
Between my experience with STU-IIIs and being a Dune fan ("He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing") I'm really worried that the NSA has been tasked to create an internet kill switch, and that the "security" efforts they will soon recommend will be a pretext for the kill switch's creation. The NSA is the logical government agency to implement a kill switch, and designing the new security system would give them the access they'd need. Normally I hate conspiracy theories, but this is just creepy to me.
For all you coders out there, I meant "=", not "=="; in my opinion the NSA getting involved assigns the value "kill switch" to "secure".
Joke punchline origin: every piece of NSA designed hardware I've handled has a kill switch built in, and one of my biggest headaches was people asking "what does (PRESS) this do?". Quote from the STU-III handbook:
The STU-III battery backup allows power to be removed, as in a power failure or unplugging the unit to move it, without losing the encryption data. The zeroization button bypasses this backup and erases the encryption data. After zeroization, the STU-III must be rekeyed and the CIKs must be remade. The STU-III is zeroized:
In an Emergency. - If the STU-III is ever in danger of falling into hostile hands, zeroize it to prevent the adversary from obtaining a functional unit. . .
By Accident. - The accident usually follows an employee's curiosity. The employee starts playing with the buttons and zeroizes the unit. Be sure to brief your employees on the importance of not pressing or playing with the zeroization button. Refill the STU-III using a new seed key [or operational key].