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The bright side of obsolescence

Cobol code

An optimist cheers the smallest boons, even ones camouflaged in absurdly old IT systems.

At Jan. 22 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on IT reform, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked whether the government should devote more of their limited budgets to securing older computer systems.

Some systems, however, are so dated that they are in no way threatened by hackers. Some internal systems can only be run locally and are unable to connect to the Web. And some run on such obsolete machines and operating systems that it is useless for hackers to even attempt to infiltrate them.

Systems written in Common Business-Oriented Language, or COBOL, are “pretty much hack-proof,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the committee. “It’s so bad that hackers can’t even bother,” he said, adding that most hackers are not even old enough to understand the language.

“Be grateful for small favors,” Holmes Norton said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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