IT is one of the bright spots in the US economy – perhaps our government should be more cautious about helping the competition…
This is a great example of how the NSA's rogue actions are going to be endangering US IT companies for years: RSA has a security advisory out for several products, including a widely-used cryptography library, which defaulted to using the Dual EC DRBG random number generator, which we now know was released by the NSA with a backdoor to make it easier to spy on people.
Amidst all of the confusion and concern over an encryption algorithm that may contain an NSA backdoor, RSA Security released an advisory to developer customers today noting that the algorithm is the default algorithm in one of its toolkits and strongly advises them to stop using the algorithm.RSA Tells Its Developer Customers: Stop Using NSA-Linked Algorithm, Kim Zetter, Wired
This likely makes things weaker in a way which others could exploit – and given the high odds that people in e.g. China and Russia are racing to test that, it's likely that the NSA's actions exposed millions of people to unnecessary additional risk by weakening important software.
It's likely even more damaging, however, to the US IT industry's future. We can ship updates to software relatively quickly but the question of trust is going to be much thornier: almost every RSA customer – and especially foreign ones – must be asking whether RSA was innocently dupe or actively collaborating. Given how much business they do with the US government, they're probably never going to be able to convincingly disprove that theory. Every other major security vendor in the US and certain allied countries is going to face a similar question: “How do we know you won't be in the news next?”