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The Ultimate Net Monitoring Tool?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the corporations-striving-to-be-big-brother dept.

293

Wired News is reporting that the equipment found in the "secret" NSA room at AT&T wasn't some elaborate device designed by Big Brother. Rather, it is a commercially available network-analysis product that any company could acquire. From the article: "'Anything that comes through (an IP network), we can record,' says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. 'We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their VOIP calls.'"

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293 comments

Error Page (3, Funny)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352719)

The error page of "Nothing to see here. Move Along." that showed up when first clicking on the comments link was hilarious.

Re:Error Page (-1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353076)

Yeah... hilarious the first time someone pointed out this type of coincidence.

Now it's just lame.

Re:Error Page (1, Funny)

takeya (825259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353410)

Agreed...

I'm really sick of seeing the first post being a "nothing to see here please move along" joke, then get modded up insightful/interesting...

Oh well, (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352722)

At least it's running under Linux.

Re:Oh well, (4, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352731)

"Free as in Freedom Fries."

Re:Oh well, (5, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352837)

At least it's running under Linux.

This is one of those time you wish it were a Microsoft product...

Re:Oh well, (2, Funny)

xineax (871580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352913)

Yeah, when I am being raped in political prison because of the next-generation of this thing, I'll say, "At least Hugo is taking my man-cherry as a result of Linux." *Thumbs up*

Re:Oh well, (2, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353099)

*Thumbs up*

I don't think it will be thumbs that will be up.

Re:Oh well, (1)

xineax (871580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353358)

Touche. ;)

Government doesn't like to do homebrew (0, Offtopic)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352726)

It's not too surprising that the government would use off-the shelf solutions for electronic devices. After all, there aren't many circuit boards made in the United States still, are there? How much does Texas Instruments produce domestically for instance?

Re:Government doesn't like to do homebrew (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352847)

It's not too surprising that the government would use off-the shelf solutions for electronic devices. After all, there aren't many circuit boards made in the United States still, are there? How much does Texas Instruments produce domestically for instance?

That and they spend hundreds of millions on less complex tools that never materialize into a real application.

oh, in that case... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352733)

Oh. Well, since the NSA bought the software that it's using, then that makes everything okey with me... :-/

Spying (1)

pdawg (127140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352740)

I wonder how this will make people feel now that everyone is complaining about how the "government" is listening and recording phone calls and what have you. I would be curious to see what companies are using this technology and the reasons they give.

Re:Spying (4, Insightful)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352827)

I wonder how this will make people feel now that everyone is complaining about how the "government" is listening and recording phone calls and what have you

Except that people aren't. I read in TIME magazine last night that over 50% of the people interviewed think that the NSA call database is justified in the War On Terror (TM). Most people will only care if it influences thier ability to watch American Idol, and if not, oh well.

Re:Spying (1, Insightful)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352930)

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

Usurper_ii

Re:Spying (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353228)

>Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

True in general, but does it apply to this program?

Former NSA analyst Ira Winkler has said in public that it's reducing security, and if you were designing a system with the goal of increasing security, you wouldn't spy on hundreds of millions of people in the hope of catching some of the hundreds of terrorists.

Re:Spying (2, Funny)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352941)

I wonder if your text message American Idol votes are also recorded by the NSA. If so, we can finally end the Rueben/Clay conspiracy theories.*

*I don't watch American Idol. Really!

Re:Spying (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352949)

Most people will only care if it influences thier ability to watch American Idol, and if not, oh well.

Oh, but it does affect American Idol. The votes are handled via a call-in system. The NSA now has a record of who you voted for!

Re:Spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353172)

So that's it then.

Tell everyone if the NSA is monitoring their calls, their vote won't get through.

Re:Spying (5, Insightful)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353189)

I read in TIME magazine last night that over 50% of the people interviewed think that the NSA call database is justified in the War On Terror

Was the article getting those numbers from Time's own poll, or the recently released telephone poll of 502 (IIRC) Americans which there are plenty of problems with? This is exactly why the saying "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics" is applicable. This single - IMHO flawed - poll is being used at every media outlet to show people there isn't a problem and 'see, most Americans think this is ok so You Should Too.'

Well that's not what democracy is about, it's not about groupthink, otherwise there would be no wheelchair access to most places, plenty of towns would probably still have public buildings segregated by race/class/religion, etc, etc. Majority - or mob - rule is something that democracy tries to prevent, just because the majority thinks one way does not mean they are right. And yet people allow themselves to be coerced by one stupid poll after another. Let's face it, anyone who is willing to answer a 50 question telephone poll is likely not terribly interested in their privacy, that fact alone should invalidate the poll as it introduces an unmeasurable - but likely significant - bias. My thought is that a more thorough, in-person poll with a larger sampling will show that in fact most Americans don't think this program is ok. But until such a less biased poll is conducted then all that will be referenced is this stupid poll that forwards the government's agenda. And if I'm proven wrong then so be it, in that case then this poll should no longer be quoted to assauge people's fears of this domestic spying program, but should be used as an alarm that this country is asleep! The populace needs to be woken up. Until 100% of the people are screaming mad at a warrantless datamining/spying program undertaken by the government against anyone and everyone regardless of guilt, then it means we have some educating to do! You wouldn't let a government agent swing by every morning and look at all the mailing addresses on letters going to/from your house, why the hell would you let them do the same to your phone records? Because you can't see it? Because "it doesn't affect me"? If nothing else the whole program is stupid because the government is looking for a needle in a haystack in these communications and thus far all their efforts are doing is adding more hay! Some of the 9-11 hijackers' calls were intercepted before 9-11, but they weren't translated in time to be of any use. Now we're expected to believe that fewer agents sifting through more data will somehow prevent another attack of the same sort? Laughable if it weren't so damn unfunny.
[/rant]

Re:Spying (2, Insightful)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353379)

Was the article getting those numbers from Time's own poll, or the recently released telephone poll of 502 (IIRC) Americans which there are plenty of problems with? This is exactly why the saying "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics" is applicable.

Is doesn't matter if the polls are inaccurate.... What is the majority of the masses *believe* the poll? They will change their opinions if they think that idea "X" is generally supported. Remember, most of the registered voters didn't even vote!

This is just an old marketing trick... Present the *image* that something is popular and that's what it will become (bandwagon advertising).

So the numbers that 60% of Americans would give up every constitutional right for the war on terrorism doesn't even matter.... What really matters is that 75% of Americans, upon hearing the 60% number, **WILL** give up their rights.

THAT's the real problem.

Re:Spying (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353240)

And if I call 2 people, and ask them "Do you approve of the government spying on you" and one hangs up, the other says No, I can say "50% of people polled were not against spying".

Oh, I see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15352741)

Makes perfect sense. Because anyone can do it to themselves, it makes it perfectly alright for these companies to do so morally. At which point they just hand the stuff over to the government.

Encryption? (5, Insightful)

cwalk (899502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352751)

I somehow doubt that they are just using a "commercially available network-analysis product". I mean what "commercially available network-analysis product" breaks encryption?

Re:Encryption? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352804)

I somehow doubt that they are just using a "commercially available network-analysis product". I mean what "commercially available network-analysis product" breaks encryption?

Is this really news to anyone? I thought the original report showed they were using a Narus box. If I recall correctly it does not break encryption, but it will automatically make copies of matching encrypted flows for later analysis and cracking. My guess would be they just make copies of encrypted traffic they are interested in then move on to the big guns if it is really, really important (which they may or may not have ever actually done).

Re:Encryption? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353005)

I thought the same thing. The fact that a Narus box was being used was definitely mentioned in the original coverage of this issue.

Re:Encryption? (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352825)

How much traffic reaching that room is encrypted? If you're thinking of TLS doesn't each hop need to at least decrypt the header to get the routing informaiton?

Of course, I'm sure the NSA could *somehow* get a copy from each commerically/publically availabe CA if they really wanted to.

Re:Encryption? (2, Informative)

Aspirator (862748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353004)

doesn't each hop need to at least decrypt the header to get the routing informaiton?

No. The header is not encrypted, only the payload.

It is unlikely that without huge resources that an intermediary could decrypt an otherwise
intact communication (i.e. no man-in-the-middle attack took place).

Re:Encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353062)

openssl encryption here on openvpn for anonet [brinkster.net] using tls, and self signed certificates, and it changes every so oftern using an algorithm i choose with my peers, eat that NSA!

Re:Encryption? (1)

2names (531755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353065)

Alright, Strathmore, we've heard enough from you.

Re:Encryption? (2, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353116)

I mean what "commercially available network-analysis product" breaks encryption?

Except, of course, that breaking encryption is the Holy Grail of Signal Intelligence. Sometimes, Traffic Analysis -- which is exactly what the NSA is doing here acording to the Wired article -- is just as interesting, and a lot easier to do.

Knowing that person A is talking to person B, and that the number of messages between the two is increasing, and where and when each message has been sent (not to mention what type of traffic is taking place) is also very informative. If you know A, a known terrorist, is exchanging a lot of messages with B, a PhD student in nuclear physics in a top-notch university, is enough to raise red flags all over the place, regardless of what kind of encryption is used to protect the messages themselves. Which is why NSA has illegally gone fishing in the first place.

Re:Encryption? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353373)

If you know A, a known terrorist

If you know A is a terrorist, why hasnt he been arrested? If he's not in the country, why isn't he wearing a cruise missle as a hat yet? This "oh lets see who else he can implicate before we take him down" attitude is why binLaden is still alive now, and is probably directly responsible for 9/11.

This datamining is a waste of time and money. If we dont know who the terrorists are, the best we'll find out is the popularity of pizzahut vs. dominos. If we do know, then we should be arresting them before they manage to blow anything up or recruit more terrorists to their cause.

Re:Encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353309)

Umm, anyone remember what the NSA was founded to do?

Crack and manufacture codes.

Don't forget that they have MASSIVE computing power available as well.

I'd suggest encrypted traffic is the least of their concerns on this

Re:Encryption? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353409)

Narus works directly with Verisign so any SSL encrypted traffic can be decrypted in real-time. See http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/10/235017/000 [dailykos.com] for more information.

Functional Spec and Deliverables (4, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352756)

From TFfunctional specification:
The Semantic Traffic Analyzer received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live--did live, from habit that became instinct--in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

Orwell, G. Functional Specification, Narus STA 6400 (rev. 1984)

From TFA, the deliverable:

We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their VOIP calls.

AT&T. Your world, delivered.

Re:Functional Spec and Deliverables (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352858)

Yeah, this is like Sovjet times withthe government spying mainly on its own inhabitants all over again, but this time its the "good" site doing it. And with technological possibilities that the Sovjet leaders couldnt even dream of, as they are beyond the imagination of what was possible in the 50s-80s. I wonder if theres a way out if this anymore. You could maybe move to the "rogue" states as the US doesnt seem to have a clue whats happening out there.

Actually I recently saw a documentary on East Germany (DDR), where they had phonetapping equipment consisting of batteries of tape recorders tapping all lines, that could turn on at the moment that certain "suspicious" words were spoken (most have been a very fancy piece of tech at the time).

Narus customer touting -- AT&T at top of list (2, Informative)

js7a (579872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353216)

Re:Functional Spec and Deliverables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353314)

AT&T. Your world, delivered.

Correction:
AT&T. Their world, delivered.

Hm. (3, Interesting)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352771)

Does it make anybody else nervous that there is a market for these products? "off the shelf" products that can scale to this degree?

If enough large companies are purchasing these to the degree that a company manufactures this equipment...exclusively.. doesn't that strike an interesting chord?

Re:Hm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15352860)

Yea, it says to me that there are companies out there testing the security of their own networks.

What a terribly interesting chord.

Re:Hm. (1)

DoctorDyna (828525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352986)

Uh, what network security test do you perform that includes the step "record all IP traffic for all users, 24/7, for a couple of years" ?

Re:Hm. (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352889)

Does it make anybody else nervous that there is a market for these products? "off the shelf" products that can scale to this degree? If enough large companies are purchasing these to the degree that a company manufactures this equipment...exclusively.. doesn't that strike an interesting chord?

Supply and demand is somewhat elastic. Where I work right now we build fairly specialized traffic monitoring servers for the core and edge routers of ISPs. While we don't manufacture our own hardware, we do make use of hardware designed for traffic analysis like this and sold to numerous companies that create devices needing the same basic characteristics. Whether you are making a packet analyzer, a high-level forensic tool, a firewall, an IDS, a traffic shaper, or something else, you may very well need basically the same hardware. So maybe 50 customers want something as expensive as what Narus makes for the high end, that can handle that much throughput. If they are willing to pay enough, someone (like Narus) will build it. Regulation compliance budgets are pretty large this year.

Of course Narus probably did not start out selling a "snooping" device. Look at their customers. They are all major ISPs and telecoms. The smart money says they started as a way to track traffic for billing and expanded as their customers needed to comply with more government regulations.

Re:Hm. (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353411)

AT&T isn't the only telecom left. Large retailers, banks, credit card companies also have a need to store trillions of records.

Time enough (3, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352777)

'Anything that comes through (an IP network), we can record'

Great! So, do you get the Amazing PauseTheUniverseTechnology free with this nifty gadget? Because it'll take some time to review "anything that comes through".

Re:Time enough (5, Funny)

LilWolf (847434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352905)

'Anything that comes through (an IP network), we can record'

Not to worry. The RIAA will soon sue them for being able to record illegally downloaded songs. Problem solved.

Re:Time enough (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353138)

Actually, this is an interesting point. If I send an email containing a copyright document (e.g. a draft of an article I have written, sent to my editor), and it passes over their connection, then they will copy it. This copying involves making an unauthorised copy of a copyrighted work. Since I live in the UK, my email is copyrighted in the UK, and the copyright works in the USA via the Berne convention. If a private company is violating this copyright then they owe me significant damages (thanks to certain paid-for legislation). If it is the US government, then they are in violation of the Berne convention. If the USA is violating the Berne convention, then we can regard all works originally copyrighted in the USA as being in the public domain in the rest of the world. Either way, it sounds like I win...

Re:Time enough (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353167)

They don't need to listen to everything, just what interests them. For example, if they track down one person linked to Al-Qaeda, they can then listen to all of that person's calls, and decide who is interesting among those, and then listen to all of their calls, and so on.

Or, if you are a corrupt homeland security agent, you can browse through random calls (well, profiled random calls ... calls with elevated stress levels in the voice, or at odd times of night, etc) looking for someone to blackmail.

Re:Time enough (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353200)

Because it'll take some time to review "anything that comes through".

True, and for that reason, this won't help much to prevent any short-term activity.

After-the-fact, however, it would tend to allow a near 100% detection rate - Assuming the subject used any form of electronic communication (which, interestingly enough, tends to make this all the less useful for detecting terrorists, who strongly favor ultra-low-tech methods). Case in point, the recent Slashdot article on using phone records to track down Whitehouse whistle-blowers. The leaks still happened, but if this alleged data collection really has occurred, it would only take a minimum effort for a human agent to manually go through a few dozen pre-heuristically-filtered hours of data to pinpoint exactly who leaked what, when, where, possibly why, and to whom.

Also, don't underestimate the NSA's ability to weed out the vast majority of uninteresting traffic, as well as to detect (some of) the most interesting traffic. They don't need to follow up on every use of the word "bomb"; but if it occurs with certain other not-commonly-known details (operation code-names, classified locations, names of people under cover, etc), they have a pretty good chance of finding something juicy.



And just for the record - I do not believe a near-perfect post hoc detection rate justifies the nearly total loss of privacy rights this system (if real) would necessarily entail.

One of the perks of living in Mt. View... (2, Interesting)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352808)

...is that we hear about stuff like this as fact before the rest of the world even hears it as rumor. I believe it's been a while that companies have been using this to keep track of what their employees are doing on work time (where I work, we had to sign a document stating that we knew that any and all communications at work, from VOIP to e-mail to webpages, regardless of encryption, could be recorded with no further notice) and to follow court-ordered tracking. The internet is not a secure place to be by any means, and it's best to proceed as if someone is watching. Because, chances are, someone is.

Well, I feel better now! Not. (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352812)

I'm so happy to know that the product the NSA - with the help of AT&T - used to analyze phone number patterns and the like can be purchased by any citizen.

But - that's not the problem as I see it. The problem, to borrow and massacre a line from "Jurrasic Park", is that they were so eager to see if they could they didn't consider if they should.

Take the domestic to international wiretap thing. Under US law, listening in on foreign conversations is A-OK (whether that's legal in other countries I'm not even going to worry about). But the law is clear: the second there's a domestic person on that call, the NSA has to get permission from the courts. And not only that, it can be a secret court. And not only a secret court, but they can do it up to 3 days after they start - so there's no issue of "Dang, we'd listen to this call from an Al Queda agent, but we can't because Michael Moore's on the phone, and the warrant will take too long!" No - they can start now, get the warrant later.

Then there's the domestic phone call tracking. Even if this is not strictly illegal, it still smacks of wrong. (Yes, I think there are things not illegal that are still wrong. Like Mint Oreos. Very wrong, just not illegal.) Why? Because there's no independant, "checks and balances" oversight. And yes, I have things to hide, before you ask, so I don't want the government picking that out. Like people in politics I call because I disagree with their politicies, or calls to an abortion clinic for a friend of mine who's husband is abusive and says he'll kill her if she calls the clinic, or to a reporter because my place of work is doing illegal things (note for the clueless: the former might or might not be true, but they are examples of why people might not want the government tracking calls) - the list goes on. So I don't want the government snooping in on, especially when there's no guaruntee that Joe Politician can't look in and try and use that data against me or my family or the very government system itself.

So, great to know that there are over the shelf components to track log files. I'm more interested in making sure that another branch of the government is at least watching out to make sure that this data is not being abused. No, I don't need all of the details - that's why we have elected leaders whom I (hopefully) trust enough to look out for my interests - I just want to make sure those interests are protected by the process.

Which said process, so far, seems to be either willingly ignored, or outright violated.

Of course, this is all just my opinion, and I could be wrong. And to the NSA folks tracking this post - Hi!

Redundant!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353094)

What the fuck! Goddamn Mods!!!!!!

Like people in politics I call because I disagree with their politicies, or calls to an abortion clinic for a friend of mine who's husband is abusive and says he'll kill her if she calls the clinic, or to a reporter because my place of work is doing illegal things (note for the clueless: the former might or might not be true, but they are examples of why people might not want the government tracking calls) - the list goes on. So I don't want the government snooping in on, especially when there's no guaruntee that Joe Politician can't look in and try and use that data against me or my family or the very government system itself.

That happens to be one of the MOST ELOQUENT reasons I have EVER read on why EVERYONE has something to hide!

JEsus Motherfucking CHRIST!

I tell you, some of you folks with mod points are REAL ASSHOLES! and should fucking get out more and just get a fucking life! The world doesn't fucking revolve around APPLE, GPL, and Linux....FUCKERS!

Re:Well, I feel better now! Not. (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353227)

Even if this is not strictly illegal, it still smacks of wrong. (Yes, I think there are things not illegal that are still wrong.

Good grief, I hope that pretty much everyone is in agreement that illegal and immoral are intersecting sets for which the intersection is a proper subset of both sets.

Re:Well, I feel better now! Not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353403)

Like Mint Oreos. Very wrong, just not illegal. Why? Because there's no independant, "checks and balances" oversight.

Not true, Nabisco is very careful to check every cookie to see how much it weighs on the balance.

And yes, I have things to hide, before you ask, so I don't want the government picking that out.

Ah, so you admit to eating Mint Oreos then. Don't worry, the government won't pick out the filling in the center. They'll just take the whole cookie.

Err... (5, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352816)

the equipment found in the "secret" NSA room at AT&T wasn't some elaborate device designed by Big Brother. Rather, it is a commercially available network-analysis product that any company could acquire.

Sure, anybody could acquire the hardware used. The trick is to get the equipment onto AT&T's network without ending up in jail.

Tor (4, Informative)

wpegden (931091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352817)

This is why we should all use Tor [eff.org] . The more people that use it (and setup their node as a server) the faster it gets.

Re:Tor (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353272)

This is why we should all use Tor. The more people that use it (and setup their node as a server) the faster it gets.

Damn! Now the NSA knows that I've clicked on the link! Cat's out of the bag!

Re:Tor (1)

acaben (80896) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353363)

At least you can click on the link. From inside the firewall at the government installation where I work (not related to defense or spying), tor is blocked by filters.

Re:Tor (3, Interesting)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353404)

Are there any estimate as to what percentage of the Tor (or Freenet, or etc etc) nodes are actually run by the Three-Letter-Agencies themselves? Considering that just about every nation has its own intelligence/security type agencies, thats easily a couple hundred nodes right there, probably on 'decent enough' links to get a decent share of traffic but not so fast as to attract suspicion.

I remember reading about the Freenet Guy's planned changes (moving freenet to a friend-based system where you connect along lines of trust rather than completely anonymously, and immediately thought that the unstated goal was to cut *those* people out as much as possible rather (or in addition to) than the scalability reasons given.

Hmm, better post this anonymously...

Tor Risks (2, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353421)

Just to play devil's advocate.....

Use Tor, why? So I can get investigated/exposed in the media/arrested when someone uses my node for something illegal? No thanks. Acted as a server node for a while, then decided it was not worth the risk with all this homeland security paranoia.

Law Enforcement (in this day and age of 0wned PCs, insecure wireless access points, Tor, RIAA tracking IPs to people who don't have computers, etc) STILL considers IP addresses to be valid and accurate identifiers of people. If something got traced to it and the ISP told them you had it at the time, guess what? You did it. The burden of proof would really be on YOU to prove that it was not you who was sending out a threatening email, communicating with a known terrorist, uploading child porn, or whatever. If they do know about Tor, they probably consider it more evidence that you are up to something illegal (just like PGP)

Perhaps you would be able to create enough reasonable doubt (assuming it was a real trial and not a secret government trial) to get off. I'm sure that would make you feel a little better after having your "crimes" written about at length in the local paper, your picture up on the local (maybe national?) news media, and possibly your money, job, family, and friends gone. Just because you won a court case does not mean everyone will not still assume you are guilty. How many people think OJ is innocent?

I'm not advocating being spineless and not taking a stand with technology, just remember what the risks are and ask yourself if you are really willing accept them. Today the population trusts anything that law enforcement tells them, especially if it is an internet related crime and even more so if it involves terrorism. Some geek whining about something called "tor" isn't going to convince your community you are not a dirty stinking terrorist.

Finkployd

These are the tools or databases (5, Informative)

anandpur (303114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352820)

From http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/faq.php#15 [eff.org]
What is Daytona?
Daytona is a database management technology originally developed and maintained by the AT&T Laboratories division of AT&T, and is used by AT&T to manage multiple databases. Daytona was designed to handle very large databases and is used to manage "Hawkeye," AT&T's call detail record (CDR) database. Daytona is also used to manage AT&T's huge network-security database, known as "Aurora." As of September 2005, all of the CDR data managed by Daytona, when uncompressed, totaled more than 312 terabytes.
http://www.research.att.com/projects/daytona/ [att.com]

What is Hawkeye?
Hawkeye is AT&T's call detail record (CDR) database, which contains records of nearly every telephone communication carried over its domestic network since approximately 2001, records that include the originating and terminating phone numbers and the time and length for each call.

What is Aurora?
Aurora is a network-security database that had been used to store Internet traffic data since approximately 2003. The Aurora database contains huge amounts of data acquired by firewalls, routers, honeypots and other devices on AT&T's global IP (Internet Protocol) network and other networks connected to AT&T's network.

Yawn. (3, Insightful)

BigMattyC (969603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352823)

News: that the US Government is monitoring all the traffic flowing through the internet backbones provided by major US service providers. Not News(tm): that a company produces a device that can *GASP* *SHOCK* *HORROR* monitor network traffic. Get a grip.

Monitoring Users? Nawww. (2, Funny)

10100111001 (931992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352829)

'Anything that comes through (an IP network), we can record'

I'm sure they are just using it to get free porn.

Re:Monitoring Users? Nawww. Yaaaah (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353124)

I'm sure they are just using it to get free porn.

And they don't even have to go to the effort of tracking it down. The let everyone else do that work for them.

Here's a question... (1)

Avillia (871800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352838)

Why is it legal for any old schlum to buy this and run it secretly?

If these tools exist at all outside of ISP end user envrionments (IE; corporate intranet), they should need to report publically what traffic they have access to, and report at a bi-annual audit what traffic had been monitored.

And if you don't comply with that... You can't use it.

But... We won't do that, because then we won't make money, even if we could be collecting a multimillion dollar lawsuit from the NSA right now.

Re:Here's a question... (0, Offtopic)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353145)

It's legal for you to send packets over network connections owned and operated by third parties. If you have an expectation of privacy for data being handled by parties you have no relationship with, you're being unreasonable. I don't have any contract with AT&T, so what they do with my information is outside my control. I wouldn't do business with my ISP if they didn't have network connections that would get traffic to/from the rest of the world for me, so I'm giving up control once I send data out.

Are you willing to pay 100 times what you pay now to ensure that your traffic doesn't cross the systems of someone who won't respect your privacy? Instead of $50/mo for broadband, would you pay $5000/mo? Keeping data off the backbone networks would be very expensive. Asking them to report what they collect just increases the burden, which translates directly into cost.

Private companies running this on their own networks are in an even more reasonable position. Are you afraid of them finding out that you're doing something using work computers and work networks on work time? If my employer records the fact that I posted this on company time, that's their choice. It's their system. If I don't want them recording it, I could wait and do it from home later.

And if they are recording it, I want to give a big thanks to the corporate security and networking guys - you're doing a great job! =)

Re:Here's a question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353286)

That's bullshit.

My landline telephone isn't encrypted, and I do have an expectation of privacy. In fact, it's illegal to wiretap that. Just because you send something out unencypted doesn't mean you have an privacy expectation.

I am starting not to care anymore... (2)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352857)

To be honest, I am starting not to care about all of the this post-911/coup attempt to takeover the US government that failed. I will surf where I want, say what a want, and if the government is truly stupid and sends me one of those National Security Letters (NSLs), I will post it right here on slashdot.org as well as rense.com, infowars.com, and anyone else who will post it on their site because I just do not care. Those pentagon photos of "flight 77" was just more smoke and mirrors to keep people distracted from the real problems. Just say it was a shoulder fire missle and the plane is at the bottom of the Atlantic so we can all move on with our lives. The Leo Straussion Neocon facists (Republicans) can come kiss my ass, it's not like anyone can do anything about what they are doing anyway.

Re:I am starting not to care anymore... (1)

roster238 (969495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353235)

You are correct. There is only one thing to do, build a bomb shelter, a big one. Fill it with food, water, supplies, itunes, etc. Seal yourself inside and I will bury the entrance. I'll come get you in 20 years when the revolution is over. We have got to stop these racist, bigoted, homophobe, don't love their mother, republicans before they put an end to baseball, apple pie, free porn, strip malls, and all other things American...

reconstruct calls, as in 'listen to'? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352872)

I don't see any big deal with recording all data I/O at AT&T and handing it directly to the National Security Agency. After all, if they have to listen to all my conversations in order to prove I'm not a terrorist, I don't see what the---

***WOOP WOOP WOOP! Red flag word used! (Queue NSA goons smashing through my windows)***

Why is this news? (2, Informative)

dannyelfman (717583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352873)

Of course you can reconstruct any information that flows across a network thay you have access to. That is unless it's encrypted and you don't know the key.

Re:Why is this news? (1)

fjf33 (890896) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353153)

They can still reconstruct the data. Maybe not make sense of it but they can reconstruct it and save it somewhere for later.

Copyright issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15352883)

In this age of instant copyright, outside of a company using this embedded in its corporate TOS, storing my written communication would be a copyright violation. I'm talking man in the middle, if they are storing then they would be violating.

No (4, Insightful)

nonlnear (893672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352954)

By sending IP packets, you are distributing your work. Narus could make a fair use argument that would be a chilling parody of the arguments posted by folks who troll around slashdot arguing that fair use covers anonymous torrents.

If you don't like it, encrypt it.

Re:No (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352980)

"If it doesn't fit, you must encrypt." -- the late Johnny Cochran

Re:No (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353009)

By sending IP packets, you are distributing your work. Narus could make a fair use argument that would be a chilling parody of the arguments posted by folks who troll around slashdot arguing that fair use covers anonymous torrents.

First, fair use does not apply to recreating entire works, except in a few, specifically described circumstances that don't apply here. Second, Narus is just selling gear, what someone else does with it is not their problem. Third, their customers are ISPs, given exemption from many copyright laws under common carrier statutes, which could, very well apply here (certainly more so than fair use).

If you don't like it, encrypt it.

This won't happen until the tools to do so are are made much easier, it is provided as a service, or both. VPNs are already taking off for corporations. What is needed is for consumer OS's to provide that functionality in a an interoperable way, by default. So yes, this is all Microsoft's fault for retarding the progress of the industry (as usual).

Re:No (1)

nonlnear (893672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353327)

First, fair use does not apply to recreating entire works, except in a few, specifically described circumstances that don't apply here. Second, Narus is just selling gear, what someone else does with it is not their problem. Third, their customers are ISPs, given exemption from many copyright laws under common carrier statutes, which could, very well apply here (certainly more so than fair use).

I should have been more clear. I don't believe that it's necessarily a legitimate argument. Just that it's one that could effectively hamstring any judgments on the matter. Especially with the big friends that Narus has.

Actually, the thing that would legitimize the Narus approach completely is a "liberal" (meaning loose) reading of wiretap laws. An argument could be made that the Narus approach is necessary in order to comply.

No No No (1)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353430)

No! Sending non-broadcast packets on an IP network is not Distribution.

That's like saying that mailing an envelope via postal mail is distribution!!

IP packets clearly specify the source and destination address. (i.e. their payload is to only be received by the specified recipent).

The only difference is that we do not have federal laws that make "opening the contents" of an IP packet to be illegal. Otherwise it is no different than the postal mail system.

And this is supposed to make me feel better? (2, Interesting)

i am kman (972584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352890)

So, article starts with:

The equipment that former AT&T technician Ed Klein learned was installed in the NSA "secret room" in AT&T's San Francisco switching office isn't some sinister Big Brother box designed solely to help governments eavesdrop on citizens' internet communications." ... - it's a commercial product!

Oh great - I feel so much better about that. I was just worried that the government might have EXCLUSIVE rights to spy on me! But, as long as it's all shared and everyone can do it, then I guess it's ok.

Thanks for the post - I'll sleep so much better now.



Damn - where's the sarcastic emoticon when you need it.

Narus STA 6400? (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352891)

Think of a Beowulf cluster of those!

AKA... (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352938)

The Big Brother 1000.

Wow (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352960)

There used to be a saying "Cops always have the best drugs!" These days I think it has been replaced with "The NSA always has the best porn!"

You're kidding !?!?! (2, Funny)

iXiXi (659985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15352969)

So you mean that if you take a IP packet stream and analyze the headers you can reconstruct the communications??? When did this madness start? What kind of voodoo magic are they using up there?

RIAA (1)

msbmsb (871828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353002)

Anything that comes through (an IP network), we can record

How long until the RIAA comes knocking at this guy's door?

NEWS FLASH!!! (1)

1336.5 (901985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353018)

The Government doesnt develop anything. They just restrict the companies they contract or buy from not to say anything about their operations.

Whoop-de-doo.

The Governement contracts, it doesnt develop.

i have your solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353061)

Visit AnoNet.. a complete Internet unto itself, within the Internet!

Run everything, talk to anyone, all under a veil of encryption.

Visit the website [brinkster.net] .

Doesn't matter (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353068)

I don't care if they were running tcpdump...it doesn't make it any less troublesome.

So THAT explains the webcam pics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353074)

that you find all over the net. Silly girls thinking they were performing a show for just their boyfriends... So how do I get a job in that division of AT&T??? :-D

Bellyaching (3, Interesting)

crossmr (957846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353078)

and all I hear is a bunch of bellyaching and "ooh they're evil!". As I stated a few weeks ago, Who is going to do anything about it? Evertyime we turn around the American government or corporations come up with a new way to spy on us, restrict our rights or do something else to make the world a little less pleasant.

If they can't come up with anything specific that day, W. calls the RIAA and has them sue a dead woman. They want to make people so damn paranoid that one day they'll just turn around and say "Okay we're taking over your life, here is your itinerary for the day, don't alter this schedule. You have a bowel movement scheduled in 15 minutes". The vast majority will think its an awesome idea.

These stories are great to remind us what a wasteland this place has become, but they serve no real purpose if no one actually does anything about it.

Re:Bellyaching (1)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353342)

Okay we're taking over your life, here is your itinerary for the day, don't alter this schedule. You have a bowel movement scheduled in 15 minutes

Oh my boss would love that. Imagine the increased productivity that would result!

ITMFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353366)

http://www.itmfa.com/ [itmfa.com]

It'd be a start.

Re:ITMFA? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353412)

No it isn't. Doesn't anyone realize time is playing against society. Slow paced change isn't really going to help society because by the time we get around to it, it is going to be too late. By the time society clues in that there is a problem it'll be just before the nurse says "It is time for your 3 pm probing to make sure you've been sticking to your special diet".

How Much? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353089)

How much of the Internet traffic can be funneled through this -- or any such -- room? Is it a bottleneck, or something routed around? Just how much of the web's traffic can any single such room "see", and how many rooms like this would it take to see it all -- let alone figure out where to store it?

Anything that comes through , we can record (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353128)

And the RIAA does not get a cent on royalties! shocking

In other new, the RIAA sue the NSA!

Not just easily available, but free! (2, Interesting)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353142)


Ethereal. Excellent tool, even for non black hats!

Field Proven! (2, Interesting)

endernet (656588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353187)

From the Key Benefits section of their web site... Field-proven ability to meet the most stringent requirements of the world's largest networks such as AT&T, KDDI, Vodafone and Korea Telecom.

Can reconstruct emails? Not this one. (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353191)

"We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments"

Dear Narus,

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.1 (GNU/Linux)

jA0EAwMCiGG6wLlc/6tgyUeJGySx1Ccd8lGe3ugi35iwgMr2yi PxHsoCwtOeytve
r8fdeb237gtWNHzaen4DpYF9ibJ4E6DCxm8+yGpYcoP7bgEnzJ H49A==
=BJEi
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

(created with "gpg -a -c"). Just a reminder that if you don't like people reading your email, you and your recipient can rather easily make sure nobody can practically do so.

The NSA could probably break one PGP message's encryption in a matter of hours (or maybe even minutes), but they couldn't break one million. How about we all really press our friends to get PGP keys made+signed and the software installed...and ENCRYPT EVERY SINGLE PERSONAL EMAIL to them? Good luck to the NSA trying to sift through all that crap.

Worse than useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353335)

This method will produce lots of bellyaching and lawsuits by critics and cost billions of dollars, but other than that, I don't think the governement will actually learn anything from this spying, least of all learn how to stop any terrorist activities who are just as likely to be using encryption as they are to be using a computer to conduct illegal activities.

I'm not mad about being "spied" on in this fashion, just that they're wasting their time and my money in a huge way. There's no way to produce any meaningful results by snooping about a trillion terrabytes of IP traffic every day.

Jason

They can do it, so can I.... (1)

brix_zx2 (955395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353371)

And if anyone else wants to..... download Ethereal. Or if you have some big money to spend get Network Generals sniffer. As far as the encryption goes, someone had to write the program that determines how information is encrypted. Which leads to, "If it can be encrypted, it can be forcefully decrypted at an endpoint other than the intended receiver."

Can't remember who said that, but I always seem to remember it :P

Let all start download couple hundred gig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353386)

Let see how much disk space the NSA has - let all download couple hundred gig of junk a day!!!

100,000 people download 100G each = ?
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