News: Reuters apparently wants us to think about state-supported hacking as a rapidly legitimizing element of the national arsenal. Exploit traffic is the new rocket’s red glare apparently, faster, cheaper, and more effective than the old-school methods of sending a bunch of high school graduates to blow up the sheds of our enemies. All this is happy news, according to the people running the program, because we get more targeted bang for our buck and without being bothered by distracting news stories about it.

Views: In addition to the obvious questions about citizen oversight, I suspect that benefit is conditional on the assumption that the destruction has the sanction of some national government or other. It’s looking to me like one of those be-careful-what-you-ask-for situations, though. As intervention in other information systems gains legitimacy, government has a tougher time telling everyone else to quit that nasty behavior. In particular, rivalry between business organizations seems a natural area for expansion of kinder, cuddlier hacking. That line has always been difficult to see in practice, and the more it’s accepted, the less it’ll even be worth the trouble to look.

On the plus side, it might improve the job outlook for the information science types: “You change your ability to integrate information, which in many ways is at least as important as collection,” says Anthony Cordesman, a former senior U.S. intelligence official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.