10.04.13

The increasing merriment of cyberwar

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 1:55 pm by George Smith

The latest from Edward Snowden is an inadvertant comedy routine with the NSA as the funny-men. If the GOP hadn’t thrown a monkey wrench into the US government, triggered the layoffs of 800,000 and the economic loss of 300 million a day, his leaked documents would still be hot shit. Now, not so much.

Three thousand were laid off at Lockheed today, casualties of government shut down. Perhaps some were in the cyberwar unit. Probably not, though.

Anyway, from CNET:

The National Security Agency has been trying to crack the online anonymity provided by Tor, a US-funded Internet tool designed to keep Net activity private and said to be widely used by dissidents in oppressive countries, as well as by terrorists. That’s according to the latest secret intelligence documents drawn from the cache leaked by Edward Snowden and published by the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

The NSA hasn’t been able to crack Tor outright, but through various means it’s been able to “de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users,” says an internal NSA document quoted by the Guardian.

This graphic is the best, a slide with an evil terrorist in a mask with an assault gun slung over his shoulder, accessing the Tor network!

It’s not even up to the snuff of the worst comic book.


At left, very naughty person.

But to the root of the matter, the obsession that terrorists are everywhere (now childishly called “bad people” and “very naughty people,” rendering the impression that the national security nerds working for the NSA are just as you think they might be — weird and stunted) and that, gosh, they’re using the Tor network.

Back track about two years.

GlobalSecurity.Org installed a paywall and found, when comparing user logs before and after, that a great deal of their regular users — or traffic — was going right through it.

I was asked to have a look.

There are paywalls, cheap and expensive, and the cheap and medium-priced ones are really easy to get through. And the top line, the best exemplified by the New York Times, harder to trivially circumvent. (Although it’s not really impossible to see what you want on the NY Times, even when you’re over the limit, without much trickery. Google the story, someone will have linked to it, go there and enter — the Times doesn’t count in traffic from a referral against your score.)

Anyway, one easy way to get through the GlobalSecurity paywall was to use a proxy anonymizer. The Tor network was perfect for it.

Paradoxically, Tor was developed by the Department of Defense. And the majority of GlobalSecurity.Org’s traffic, or regular users, are people who work for DoD, the intelligence agencies, or defense contractors.

A lot of them were apparently using Tor.

Ha-ha. Wow! Revealed, the NSA trying to unravel and attack the efficiency of Tor to find … Americans, “very naughty people,” in the employ of the national security megaplex.

Ha-ha-ho-ho-hee-hee! A real rib-tickler: “[Said] to be widely used by dissidents in oppressive countries, as well as by terrorists.”

Watch out! Sneaky enemies everywhere! Terrorism! Go NSA hacker dudes, go! Protect the nation from cyberwar!

Repeat the mantra: China, asymmetric, cyberspying, al Qaeda, hacking, very naughty people, Keith Alexander, power grid, intellectual property theft, greatest transfer of wealth in history! ORLY!

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