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Google Hid a Little NSA Joke Within Lines of Code for Its New Security Tool


Someone has a sense of humor.

The Google logo in Washington, DC, January 11, 2011 (Photo credit Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Google is building a new tool that will make it even harder for government agencies or rogue hackers to sift through your personal information through a Chrome plug-in.

As we know by now, these complex programs require a lot of code, so much code that some -- when accidentally left out or placed in the wrong order -- can cause massive problems like the Heartbleed bug.

Other lines of code are clearly relatively harmless, like Google's little inside joke just for the National Security Agency that it left inside its new tool's code. The joke looks like this, found by Zen Albatross:

Google's very own nerd joke, written within a new plug-in meant to bolster email encryption (Image source: Twitter) Google's very own nerd joke, written within a new plug-in meant to bolster email encryption. (Image source: Twitter)

The note refers to an NSA brief explaining its program to infiltrate data passed between Google and Yahoo data centers outside of the United States. The “SSL added and removed here” is a dig at the creators of this "Google Cloud Exploitation" plan slide, who thought it was humorous enough to add a smiley face to their briefing about a serious spying loophole.

w The Washington Post reported that two engineers with close ties to Google "exploded in profanity" when they saw the NSA slide that explains their plan for "Google Cloud Exploitation." (Image source: Washington Post)

Nothing like nerd humor for some good old-fashioned government ribbing.

Google’s inclusion of the text in its email encryption code is ironic in that the NSA was working to get around a popular form of encryption, and so Google used the NSA’s own words in its new tool designed to bolster message security for email users, Tech Crunch noted.

Google's larger task is noteworthy and complex, but in the mean time, it sure is fun to know thousands of lines of code can still be fun to sift through when you stumble upon these gems.

(H/T: Tech Crunch)

Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter

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