We NSA Now

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Re: We NSA Now

Postby General Patton » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:00 pm

https://freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/hald ... ch-crypto/
How is NSA breaking so much crypto?

There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack current public encryption.” The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.
...
The key is, somewhat ironically, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, an algorithm that we and many others have advocated as a defense against mass surveillance. Diffie-Hellman is a cornerstone of modern cryptography used for VPNs, HTTPS websites, email, and many other protocols. Our paper shows that, through a confluence of number theory and bad implementation choices, many real-world users of Diffie-Hellman are likely vulnerable to state-level attackers.

For the nerds in the audience, here’s what’s wrong: If a client and server are speaking Diffie-Hellman, they first need to agree on a large prime number with a particular form. There seemed to be no reason why everyone couldn’t just use the same prime, and, in fact, many applications tend to use standardized or hard-coded primes. But there was a very important detail that got lost in translation between the mathematicians and the practitioners: an adversary can perform a single enormous computation to “crack” a particular prime, then easily break any individual connection that uses that prime.

How enormous a computation, you ask? Possibly a technical feat on a scale (relative to the state of computing at the time) not seen since the Enigma cryptanalysis during World War II. Even estimating the difficulty is tricky, due to the complexity of the algorithm involved, but our paper gives some conservative estimates. For the most common strength of Diffie-Hellman (1024 bits), it would cost a few hundred million dollars to build a machine, based on special purpose hardware, that would be able to crack one Diffie-Hellman prime every year.

Would this be worth it for an intelligence agency? Since a handful of primes are so widely reused, the payoff, in terms of connections they could decrypt, would be enormous. Breaking a single, common 1024-bit prime would allow NSA to passively decrypt connections to two-thirds of VPNs and a quarter of all SSH servers globally. Breaking a second 1024-bit prime would allow passive eavesdropping on connections to nearly 20% of the top million HTTPS websites. In other words, a one-time investment in massive computation would make it possible to eavesdrop on trillions of encrypted connections.
...
Our findings illuminate the tension between NSA’s two missions, gathering intelligence and defending U.S. computer security. If our hypothesis is correct, the agency has been vigorously exploiting weak Diffie-Hellman, while taking only small steps to help fix the problem. On the defensive side, NSA has recommended that implementors should transition to elliptic curve cryptography, which isn’t known to suffer from this loophole, but such recommendations tend to go unheeded absent explicit justifications or demonstrations. This problem is compounded because the security community is hesitant to take NSA recommendations at face value, following apparent efforts to backdoor cryptographic standards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_EC_DRBG
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Re: We NSA Now

Postby Grizzly » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:16 pm

NYPD uses secret X-ray vans with ability to see through cars, houses and what's under your coat

The New York Police Department is using super secret X-ray vans and it is something the authorities want to keep tight-lipped about. The vehicles, known as Z Backscatter Vans, patrol the city streets and, while the NYPD is not disclosing what it is doing with them, it is understood they have the ability to see into the contents of cars or even inside homes as a counter-terrorism measure.

The X-ray vans have the technology to penetrate through the body of a vehicle as it drives past to see whether there are weapons, explosives or drugs inside - something often used by immigration patrols. The same could potentially go for the walls of buildings and houses or even see what you are keeping under your coat. The worry from members of the public is whether the X-ray vans are being used on people as a means to search for concealed weapons and if so, what are the health and privacy implications.
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Re: We NSA Now

Postby Grizzly » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:22 pm

NYPD uses secret X-ray vans with ability to see through cars, houses and what's under your coat

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nypd-uses-secr ... at-1524027



The New York Police Department is using super secret X-ray vans and it is something the authorities want to keep tight-lipped about. The vehicles, known as Z Backscatter Vans, patrol the city streets and, while the NYPD is not disclosing what it is doing with them, it is understood they have the ability to see into the contents of cars or even inside homes as a counter-terrorism measure.

The X-ray vans have the technology to penetrate through the body of a vehicle as it drives past to see whether there are weapons, explosives or drugs inside - something often used by immigration patrols. The same could potentially go for the walls of buildings and houses or even see what you are keeping under your coat. The worry from members of the public is whether the X-ray vans are being used on people as a means to search for concealed weapons and if so, what are the health and privacy implications.

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: We NSA Now

Postby backtoiam » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:16 am

Good that you brought the back scatter thing up but this is far from being new. These things have been mounted in vans roaming around for a long time. The van can pull along side anything, shoot the scatter, and it brings back a picture that looks like an xray. Pretty much anything that is not an integral part of a vehicle of much size shows up. Very similar to airport screening technology. Have to keep in mind that by the time we actually hear about this stuff it has been in use already for many years. Often this stuff is in use for 40 years before it finally surfaces. When it surfaces publicly it is usually because it is planned to be used on mass scale. Making the public announcement is only a hat tip to make it seem legit.

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Re: We NSA Now

Postby Grizzly » Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:28 pm

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: We NSA Now

Postby Iamwhomiam » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:57 pm

The van can pull along side anything, shoot the scatter, and it brings back a picture that looks like an xray.


Like a 3-D X-Ray. These are portable versions of the too revealing airport scanners, and they have hand-held units too.

DHSS, just keeping the fatherland homeland safe & secure.

(It's a bit odd that all these efforts to keep us secure makes me feel more insecure.)
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