On Florida's Atlantic coast, cyber-arms makers working for United States spy agencies are bombarding billions of lines of computer code with random data that can expose software flaws the US might exploit.
In Pittsburgh, researchers with a Pentagon contract are teaching computers to scan software for bugs and turn them automatically into weapons. In a converted textile mill in New Hampshire, programmers are testing the combat potential of coding errors on a digital bombing range.
Across the US, a new league of defence contractors is mining the foundation of the Internet for glitches that can be turned to the country's strategic advantage. They are part of a cybermilitary industrial complex that has grown up in more than a dozen states and employs thousands of civilians, according to 15 people who work for contractors and the government. The projects are so sensitive their funding is classified, and so extensive a bid to curb their scope will be resisted not only by intelligence agencies but also the world's largest military supply chain.
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