The USA's famously-secretive National Security Agency (NSA) prefers to work in private. That is why it came as such a surprise to see the organisation with an official GitHub page.
The coders and mathematicians employed by the NSA, among other things, develop hacking tools like EternalBlue - ostensibly to protect the country against cyber threats. Much of its work has to be done in secret, but it has been adopting a (very slightly) more open attitude since the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013 - opening a Twitter account that same year.
GitHub is an online service used to share code amongst programmers. So, what is the NSA sharing? So far, it lists 32 different projects - although several, like SELinux, are years old.
The Next Web, which spotted the NSA's page, notes that there is a long tradition of technologies making their way from the defence and intelligence environments to the wider public: examples include the internet and GPS. Talking to programmers on GitHub might also be a new way for the NSA to recruit talent.
This is hardly the first time that the NSA has been involved with GitHub. The agency has been running a technology transfer programme for years, which overtly aims to move code developed in-house to the software community at large. Its Information Assurance Directorate also established a GitHub page in 2013.
Then, of course, there is code that has been stolen from the NSA and shared online - often through GitHub. The Shadow Brokers group originally tried to sell its hacked tools, like EternalBlue, using the site, although GitHub took the repository down; not because the data was hacked, but because it was being offered for sale, which is against the site's standard operating procedure.
The NSA's new page can be found here.
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