Naval War College uses Russian software for iPad course material


The Navy’s premier institution for developing senior strategic and
operational leaders started issuing students Apple iPad tablet
computers equipped with GoodReader software in August 2010,
unaware that the mobile app was developed and maintained by
a Russian company, Good.iWare, until Nextgov reported it in February.

OK so its not news and OK I’ve posted about this before, but …

Last week I was reading another report about malware and it stated that most malware yamma yamma yamma had it origins in the USA. No doubt you’ve seen reports to that effect with different slants.

So the question here is: Why should software produced in the country where there are more evil-minded programmers be superior to software produced in Russia?

Let me guess: some of those high ranking officers in the military drive cars that were not made in the USA running software not written in the USA. Perhaps those cars, that software will kidnap or assassinate them.  If that sounds like science fiction the read back issues of Risks Digest about automotive software “malfunctioning”.

In the movie “Bell Book and Candle” a witch, played by Kim Novak, turns all the traffic lights around Times Square green. If that happened today it would be ascribed to a computer hacker. No doubt it would cause chaos and quite probably many accidents and possibly some fatalities. But it might also be a software flaw. In which case we should ask “where was this software written?”

Trade is internationalized and as many people have pointed out, most technology today has a computer chip embedded and control it. The iPads in this article were assembled in China. We can’t prove that the Chinese have not reversed engineered some chip and replicated it with enhancements that lets them carry out nefarious activities even when the
iPad runs and OS and apps written in America.

What’s that you say? The Chinese don’t have the technology and sophistication? Well never mind, they can contract some engineers in the USA – or Russia or the UK or Canada or Germany or France … – to do it. All it takes is money …

There’s a saying about old generals fighting the last war. But I very much doubt that the motivation the Russian programmers have goes much beyond making money from the Apple store and indulging in the consumer economy.

No doubt we will now see a procurement request for similar software from a USA source. Perhaps there is an American Entrepreneur ingenious enough to commission certain Russian programmers … or perhaps Russians living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


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