NSA’s Free Malware Research Tool Gains Traction, 6 Months On

In March the National Security Agency released an internal malware research tool for free to the public, a first for the secretive agency. Six months later, by most indications, the release is an even bigger event than the NSA thought. From a report: Some aspects of researching malware have long required expensive software. The release of Ghidra, the NSA tool, has profoundly changed the field, opening it up to students, part-timers and hobbyists who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate. It’s been a good six months for Ghidra. The software has been downloaded more than 500,000 times from GitHub. “We had a bet on how many downloads it would be,” Brian Knighton, senior researcher at the NSA, told Axios. “We were off by quite a factor.”

Ghidra also netted the NSA two nominations for “Pwnie” awards at the typically NSA-adverse DEF CON hacker conference this week. The NSA was also pleasantly surprised with the number of outside developers modifying code and creating new features for the now open-source program. The toolkit is popular enough that the NSA now offers touring classes on Ghidra for colleges and universities.