Friday Squid Blogging: My Little Cephalopod

I assume this is more amusing to people who know about My Little Pony.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 4:24 PM • 191 Comments

Comments

Brent LongboroughApril 22, 2016 4:42 PM

Bruce, I was hoping for a fierce post from you about consumer-level Blackberries allegedly using a single worldwide encryption key. Did I miss something, or was it too obvious for you to comment?

a dingo stole my faceApril 22, 2016 4:52 PM

FBI paid At Least 1.3 million dollars for zero day to get in san bernadino phone

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/fbi-paid-at-least-1-3m-for-zero-day-to-get-into-san-bernardino-iphone/


This is interesting. That is Maybe under the 7 million they paid to find their mole, Robert Hanssen.

Understand, far cheaper quotes were offered to them. Enough information was put out that it was understood what had to be coded. If they had engineers they could have put that together their own selves.

Robert Hanssen was paid for because the suspect mole would have gotten a good number of extremely valuable moles in Russia killed.

There was no choice about the amount, and they could not figure it out their own selves.

On the heels of China publicizing they caught crypto it engineer who turned spy for a foreign nation, they release this.

http://www.inquisitr.com/3019771/beware-handsome-spies-chinese-campaign-warns-women-of-dangerous-love-with-foreigners/

It might be noted that they claimed to have captured a network of online agents, not just one person, but twenty nine. In context of the details, it is clear these were simply his coworkers and friends who failed to detect he was a spy.


Reminds me of how the Cambodia Khmer Rouge suspected someone as a Vietnamese spy, simply because they wore eyeglasses.


One third of the population were really Vietnamese spies! How clever of their worst enemy.

WilliamApril 22, 2016 6:03 PM

@Brent Longborough

Blackberry - "What we knew in 2010, 2012 and 2014 we still know in 2016".

It's old news which is why I presume why Bruce didn't cover it.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/15/canada_blackberry_water_cooler/


@All

How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/21/bulk_personal_datasets/
https://privacyinternational.org/node/840
https://privacyinternational.org/node/841
https://privacyinternational.org/node/842
https://privacyinternational.org/node/843


Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/22/ten_years_for_filesharing/
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/uk-file-sharing-10-years-jail-time/

MoD contractor hacked, 831 members of defence community exposed

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/22/mod_contractor_hacked_831_members_of_defence_community_exposed/

BartApril 22, 2016 6:51 PM

Email from a German privacy-focuses email provider

Dear Posteo users,

Today we are writing to you as a precaution with some important
information. Please read this email carefully.

As you may have recently often seen in the media, many online services
are currently being targeted with so-called DDoS attacks.

In DDoS attacks, online services are overloaded by connection requests
from criminals. Customers of the service can then no longer access it
for a period, or perhaps only in a restricted manner. With DDoS attacks,
data is not affected. With the help of technical defence measures, DDoS
attacks can be curbed. The speed with which an attack can be defended
depends on the size and type of attack.

A threat has currently been made to us. We were requested by email to
pay a large amount of money by the end of this week, or else Posteo
would be overloaded with connection requests. We immediately notified
the Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für die
Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik or BSI) who told us that in this
case, copycats should also be considered. We therefore wish to inform as
a precaution that DDoS attacks might possibly be imminent, such that you
are prepared in this case. We take our responsibility as your email
provider very seriously.

In the coming days, if Posteo suddenly becomes slower or is not
reachable for a short time, please proceed as follows:

- Don’t be alarmed. There are no problems on our side.

- In case of problems reaching Posteo, please wait and then try again to
load our website and/or your emails. You will soon once again be able to
log in to your Posteo account as usual.

- Check our Twitter profile @Posteo_en
for the latest information. If a DDoS attack occurs, we will inform you
about the situation there.

- Even if you are worried, please do not send emails to our customer
support in the case of a DDoS attack. The attacker’s goal is to push the
company being blackmailed to its limits in terms of capacity.

- Emails sent to you will not go missing. In case of problems, emails
are delivered as soon as our servers are again reachable.

As a precaution, we have increased various protective measures. Both the
technical personnel at the data centre and our security experts are
prepared for the potential attacks. In addition, we have notified the
Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) and the BSI, in accordance
with our security guidelines.

If you experience interruptions in the coming days, we ask for your
understanding: DDoS attacks constitute the highly criminal act of
blackmail – and not an outage for which we are responsible.

We will not be paying the money demanded.

Companies should not let themselves be blackmailed by criminals under
any circumstances; They would then become more attractive to such
attackers. In addition, DDoS attacks often do not cease after payment
occurs.

Best regards,

The Posteo team

Tony H.April 22, 2016 7:05 PM

I haven't flown much lately, so wasn't sure what has changed at major US airports. As an infrequent flyer of course I am not a member of any trusted traveler programs. Flying out of New York's LaGuardia to Canada last week, I checked in at a machine with my (Canadian) passport, got a paper boarding pass, and was shepherded into a line for a TSA person. He looked at the boarding pass, I can't remember if he scanned the barcode, but he glanced at a monitor, told me I was approved for expedited screening, and that I was not to take off my shoes or belt. He rubber-stamped the boarding pass twice with a blurred red ink that I can just read as "EXPEDITED SCREENING". I then went into the same screening line and out of sight of the first guy, as others who didn't get the stamp or the little talk.

As I unloaded the laptop and stuff into a bin, the screener caught sight of my boarding pass, said "oh, you got the stamp?", and when I nodded said to go through the old-style metal detector. It was obviously turned way down because my large metal belt buckle didn't set it off. I picked up the laptop and I was done. Meanwhile other people in line were getting the shoes off, arms over your head, and so on treatment. No one looked any further at the boarding pass or passport until the gate. I noticed only later that the boarding pass had TSA PRECHK printed on it in two places.

So a few things... Reading up on TSA PRECHK, it seems this is granted to trusted traveller program members, and even they aren't guaranteed to get it every time. I can find no mention of TSA giving it out to infrequent flyers like me, though I probably have "good demographics": 60+ white guy on a business trip.

It's unclear to me whether the first TSA guy has discretion to not stamp the boarding pass, e.g. if I seem "hinky", and/or appear to be friendly with a young bearded brown guy in the line. But of course I could've had the BP on my phone screen rather than paper. Does the stamp just shortcut the second TSA guy from having to rescan it?

Seems to me there was plenty of opportunity to swap boarding passes with an accomplice, or even stamp it myself if I hadn't got the PRECHK feature. (Heh, I wonder how bad things would be if you get found with an EXPEDITED SCREENING rubber stamp kit in your pocket.)

Is this the current level of diligence at TSA? Was the second guy just careless? Maybe the colour and/or position of the stamps encode something? Or has TSA just stopped bothering to make the security theatre look good because no one cares anymore?

Hunkahunka burnin HanssenApril 22, 2016 7:59 PM

@dingo stole my face, the Chinese understand the USG. The reason why FBI special agents are the worst and most despicable of pigs is their sick perversion of your privacy. There's nothing high-tech about it - they hide behind the internet like other criminals. These are the kind of people who will find some poor isolated guy at his lowest point and manipulate his despair to destroy him for attaboys. Ted Bundy manning the suicide hotline, getting off on the power of life and death, that's the kind of scumbag that the FBI recruits. Human security means RIFing these worms and sending them home to beat their wives and drink themselves to death.

CarpetCatApril 22, 2016 8:06 PM

@Tony H.

It's random. A certein double secret percentage of travalers will get the pass randomly, and a different percentage of bleed red white and blue travellers will be denied the stamp. Of course, those that pay handsomly will never be denied.

According to the powers that be, it has something to do with expedited lines, not singleing out certein groups dependably, etc. It's all theatre, as you've noticed.

One moment while I input the rest of your comment RE: subversion of queue security into our database...---...

Alien JerkyApril 22, 2016 8:06 PM

Well, out here in the dust bowl of Nevada, the non-corrupt legal system has made a decision about our privacy

http://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/no-warrant-needed-get-cellphone-records-nevada-justices-rule

Law enforcement does not need to show probable cause and get a warrant before obtaining cellphone records that show a person’s general whereabouts and phone usage, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

in the opinion authored by Justice Nancy Saitta, the high court said the warrantless access and use of Taylor’s historical cellphone location data did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights.

The records, obtained from Sprint-Nextel with a subpoena, did not provide content of calls or text message, only numbers, duration and the location of the cell towers routing the calls.

Such information, the court said, were business records and Taylor had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

And so it begins...

CellphonelessApril 22, 2016 8:57 PM

@Alien Jerky

So the lesson we learned from Taylor's misfortune is, if you're going to go kill somebody, leave your cell phone at home.

rApril 22, 2016 9:41 PM

@Cellphoneless,

Never take your little brother anywhere with you: he will rat you out to Mom and Big Bro the first change he gets.

Besides, it's rude to have an obnoxious child who is constantly disruptive and who's only objective is attention seeking in a room full of adults.

That's a conversation ended imb, get your f'n kid out of here: what's wrong with you?

;)

L. W. SmileyApril 22, 2016 11:12 PM

Hi,

Dumb question. Can BadUSB be used to fix a computer already infected with BadUSB?

Thanks

Also what are the hardware persistence vectors on a PC?

Graphics card
USB firmware
PCI express
Hard drive controllers/ hard drive firmware
UEFI/bios

others?

From the stand point of trust, how do you obtain interdiction free hardware, like a Kangaru USB drive (not sold at stores)? I guess have a person of non-interest buy it for you online.

Slime Mold with MustardApril 23, 2016 12:59 AM

@Alien Jerky

I believe you meant to write "so it ends". There was a similar ruling in a federal appellate court last week.

When looking for financial fraud, one of the things I do is compare enormous databases. For the life of me, I cannot understand why we have not heard of the following type of use of cellphone data: Three armed robberies with similar methodologies and similar suspect descriptions. The police simply compare all of the cellphone "pings" within an hour of the crimes. Labor intensive for humans, just what computers are for.

(I do recall the first time I compared a 23,000 item database to a 13,00 item one, using an IBM desktop in the 1980's. I spent the afternoon pacing my cubicle swearing.)

BorisApril 23, 2016 1:36 AM

In the registration page for the McAfee / Intel Security 'ePolicy Orchestrator' trial there is the following:

Note: If you are using Internet Explorer, please ensure that "ActiveX" and "Run ActiveX controls and Plug-ins" are enabled in your browser settings.

Pardon?

(And no, I'm not using MSIE!)

Ergo SumApril 23, 2016 7:43 AM

@Boris...

The ePolicy Orchestrator, or EPO for short, had been the most confusing management solution that I had about 3-4 years ego. I am not certain, if Intel improved it since then.

You'd better get used of IE, if you'd want to use this solution. Yes, EPO does support Firefox and Safari, but not without issues.

Ergo SumApril 23, 2016 8:12 AM

@Alien Jerkey...

The "person’s general whereabouts", or more accurately the person's smartphone general whereabouts, is the digital equivalent of the eye witness. The LEOs don't need a warrant for talking to actual eye witnesses, who had seen the suspect where the crime had been committed.

Your carrier knows where your phone is at all the time. The maker of your phone knows where you are, via the "find my phone feature". Your friends and family could find the location of your phone just as well. All of these venues have access to historical locations of the phone.

Why should LEOs need warrant for the "digital eyewitness" during their investigation?

Tear Down This Data WallApril 23, 2016 9:22 AM

All those mathematicians and they can't give us an estimate of how much data they are hoovering via UPSTREAM and PRISM? Convenient.

Let me answer for them: ALL OF IT.

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/stymied-by-nsa-members-of-congress-ask-really-basic-question-again/

The programs, authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are called PRISM and Upstream. PRISM collects hundreds of millions of internet communications of “targeted individuals” from providers such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Skype. Upstream takes communications straight from the major U.S. internet backbones run by telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon and harvests data that involves selectors related to foreign targets.

But both programs, though nominally targeted at foreigners overseas, inevitably sweep up massive amounts of data involving innocent Americans.

The question is: How much? The government won’t answer.

Your accountable government at work. Just like they have been held to account for admitted torture, renditions, summary executions & collateral damage via drones, general warrants, parallel construction, secret courts, secret laws, targeting political opponents, yada yada yada

Maybe Bernie will get in and do his best Reagan - "Tear down this Data Center!" He did want to abolish the criminal CIA syndicate in '74............................

StevenApril 23, 2016 9:58 AM

Has anyone noticed how incoherent—how creepy—this statement by Blackberry CEO John Chen (on his blog!) is?


We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good.

I mean, what could your reputation be, other than the assessment of others as to whether you are acting in "the greater good"?

Who?April 23, 2016 11:54 AM

@ L. W. Smiley

USB drives like the Kanguru USB are great to avoid naïve threats. I have my old 256 MB Kingston with write protect switch at hand. However, these drives will not protect themselves against threats that target its firmware. I would say firmware-targeting threats will be the next wave.

ianfApril 23, 2016 11:56 AM


@ Slime Mold with Mustardcannot understand why s/he has not heard of the following type of use of cellphone data: Three armed robberies with similar methodologies and similar suspect descriptions. The police simply compare all of the cellphone "pings" within an hour of the crimes” (cc: Alien Jerky)

Where have you been all these past 10 years or so… sleeping under a rock? This technique, colloquially called "emptying a mast," cell relays off utility poles, building roofs etc., is the standard EU forensic tactic to gather warrant-free phone intel in the vicinity of [qualifying, i.e. grave enough] crimes. This then is subjected to various analyses that often disclose to the police interesting patterns. Exactly that which is being done with harvested data from the Stingrays, etc. cell tower simulators.

This seems deployed so often that there must be some pretty clever programs that crunch the input from selected sites and deliver all connected movement and activity "meshes". And if popular TV CSI and/or Crime Watch/ equiv. depictions are to be believed, applied to real-time data analysis, similar programs are even capable of detecting previously encountered traffic patterns while the criminal activity is in progress (one RL example that I recall was when a specific, already watched group of criminals suddenly gathered and "cellphone-rested" in a flat, which was fairly quickly decoded as the probable launch pad for their planned next big hit.)

GregWApril 23, 2016 12:58 PM

Brainprints, a bit harder to steal than fingerprints:
http://www.kurzweilai.net/you-can-now-be-identified-by-your-brainprint-with-100-accuracy
First, you don't leave them on everything you touch. Second, if brainprints are known to be compromised they can switch to using a different battery of cues so its perhaps a better biometric than fingerprints or retinal scans which are more like a username than a password. Still... lots of research needed on the robustness of conditions these brainprints work under and they haven't been "adversarially tested".

That Bangladesh central bank which had ~$1billion in fraud attempted against it (and through mostly luck and some human attentiveness only lost $81 million), didn't have a firewall, only $10 switches?! omg
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-bangladesh-idUSKCN0XI1UO

Slime Mold with MustardApril 23, 2016 1:28 PM

@r
@ianf

Maybe I have been under a rock for the last ten years. I do not watch much television. However, as far as I can tell, the cell data is being used where there is already a suspect(s). The idea I was thinking of was to identify suspects simply by their being in the vicinity of three separate crimes. I don't think it's enough for a conviction, maybe not enough for an arrest - it's a starting point.

Is this what you were referring to as "meshing" ianf? I have not run across references to such use online. It maybe that it was kept out of court due to lingering legal doubts - then the police used parallel construction. The recent court rulings may give this use a full green light. The cops may still wish to keep it quiet.

@ianf: What you describe makes so much sense, I'm baffled that I can't find any cases. I looked again after reading your comment.

If anyone is able to direct me to a case where the comparison of cell site data sets was the first lead to identify a suspect, I would appreciate that.

Bruce SchneierApril 23, 2016 1:43 PM

"Bruce, I was hoping for a fierce post from you about consumer-level Blackberries allegedly using a single worldwide encryption key. Did I miss something, or was it too obvious for you to comment?"

I just haven't gotten to it yet. It's been busy around here.

Clive RobinsonApril 23, 2016 2:09 PM

@ GregW,

That Bangladesh central bank which had ~$1billion in fraud attempted against it... didn't have a firewall, only $10 switches?! omg

Back when I first started doing comms security, the term "Firewall"[1] and the device it represented did not exist, and in all honesty it should not still exist either (in a reasonable ICT world).

Back then we "Hardend Hosts" and called them "Bastion Hosts" as this was deemed a problem due to resource issues. We ended up using Bastion Hosts behind Bastion Hosts all as routers with IP address translation to give us a DMZ behind the first Bastion Host to which the second set of Bastion hosts connected, with the resource limited PCs sheltering behind the second set of Bastion Hosts.

We then added service level wrappers on some Bastions and Application level wrappers on others... Over time these became the firewalls we have today.

The thing is most PCs and certainly all servers now have the resources to be not just sufficiently hardened but bastion hosts in their own right.

Thus we should --in theory-- nolonger need firewalls... But we do --in practice-- due to the general incompetence of COST OS developers.

That said if you open up most of the medium priced "Firewall Appliances" these days you find what is in effect a high end x86 PC/Server motherboard runing some *nix version... Which I don't know about you fills me with a certain degree of trepidation, knowing the issues with Intel chips.

We would have a lot less in the way of "mega-breaches" if people properly hardened all their hosts instead of doing a defult OS install...

Now in the --unlikely-- event they had hardened their systems properly then the lack of a firewall, would not have made any real difference...

[1] Though the original term, for a wall constructed atleast four brickwidths thick using a special "gapless bond" to stop fires spreading in terraced house/tenements --OK "Brownstones" for you NYCers-- had been around for more than 150years back then. The auto industry later borrowed the idea and name for the bulkhead between the engine and passenger compartmets after a few nasty "crispy crittering" incidents, atleast fifty years befor the ICTsec industry borrowed it again...

Marcos El MaloApril 23, 2016 2:10 PM

Zdziarski flat out accuses FBI of inadequately investigating available metadata in San Bernadino case. The larger point he is making is that Law Enforcement has become so dependent on "Push Button Forensics" to unlock phones that they are slacking off on other avenues of investigation. The Feds are after Apple because basically, they've become lazy and are in danger of losing investigatory skills.

He is explicitly saying (and gives an example from his professional experience) that LE is ignoring investigation that might be exculpatory because they have a laser focus on finding a smoking gun.

http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=6058#more-6058

a dingo stole my faceApril 23, 2016 3:41 PM


@Hunkahunka burnin Hanssen

the Chinese understand the USG.

[in context of this widespread propaganda campaign where they are warning chinese ladies to be wary of foreign men]

I don't see nations as different in substance as you do. It is a global world.

I have never heard of a case where westerners have played the romeo card.

Everyone has heard of cases where China has.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Duffie_Shriver
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Butterfly

They are just projecting. Their own worst fears are those very things they themselves do.

Exactly like when the us and uk touted before the world stage how a chinese router was full of backdoors for MSS.

Clive RobinsonApril 23, 2016 4:31 PM

@ Bruce,

Just to add to your workload ;-)

It appears the UK's Home Secretary Theresa May is steadily loosing contact with the reality of the economic side of National Security,

Buried in the draft of the IPA "Snoopers Charter" she is foolishly championing, is a requirment that companies ensure that the UK Gov is fully cognizant of any product long prior to it being launched,

http://www.zdnet.com/article/uk-spy-bill-will-force-tech-firms-to-disclose-future-products-before-launch/

Depending on how you read it the implication is if you design/manufacture/market a product within the UK you have to fully clear any product with the UK Gov... Or they will give you jail time, fines, seizure of property etc...

It has become quite clear she has not got a clue what the legislation means or does, and that she has not been properly briefed on it (otherwise she would know the simple explanation of what "data about data" means). All of which suggests that neither she or the civil servants in the UK Home Office are actually the generators of the legislation. Which begs the question of who is and how they have such a significant influence on what is extrodinarily dangerous legislation.

albertApril 23, 2016 4:43 PM

@Tear Down This Data Wall,
Tearing down that wall is a noble sentiment, as is eliminating the CIA, and the Fed. JFK let it be known that he wanted to shut down both, and the rest, well, is history. If, by the grace of God (because there's no earthly way to accomplish it), the NSA was eliminated, I would predict, nay expect, a -major- attack on the US by 'terrorists'* soon after.
.
@Clive,
I don't like the 'firewall' metaphor for network appliances, which are more akin to combination-locks on safes. I guess we're stuck with it. BTW, as a kid, I was astonished to see that, on those early autos, the gas tanks were placed between the engine and the passenger compartment!! Cars were much safer when the gas tanks were moved to the rear.
.
@GregW,
I'm extremely suspicious when I see claims of 100% for anything. It sounds like ad-speak to me. Even with such accuracy, what's useful about brainprints? Physical access? As long as -people- run the world, such activities are simply mitigation. When one pisses in the wind, one can choose to wear waterproof pants, or stop pissing.
.
--------
* notice I didn't specify -Muslim- terrorists.
. .. . .. --- ....

Mike BarnoApril 23, 2016 6:23 PM

@ albert,

"Cars were much safer when the gas tanks were moved to the rear."

I guess you've never owned a Ford Pinto. Some of their owners died in fires when they were rear-ended.

A related safety improvement came in the 1970s and '80s when (at least in the USA) manufacturers moved fuel filler access from the rear end to the side quarter-panel. Besides the rear-impact spill issue, the previous style had a vulnerability while refueling: a relative of mine had his foot slip off the brake pedal onto the accelerator entering a gas station, trapping and killing someone using the next pump in front. Had that front car's filler been on the side rather than hidden behind its license plate, the incident would have resulted in a few hundred dollars of body damage instead of a fatality.

Marcos El MaloApril 23, 2016 7:20 PM

I recently read that Apple is one of IBM's biggest clients. I have this suspicion that Bruce is going to be "extra" busy for quite awhile.

ThothApril 23, 2016 7:54 PM

@all
FBI's statements over San Bernardino's cases (drug and terrorism) has been very inconsistent and messy. FBI doesn't need Apple to unlock an iPhone for a drug related case as someone came forward and gave the password to them. How much more power does the Government want over it's people ? Do they so badly want to force the citizenry into a corner and piss the people off so badly ?

Link: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/feds-someone-gave-us-the-passcode-in-ny-drug-case-so-we-dont-need-apple/

a dingo stole my faceApril 23, 2016 9:00 PM

@albert

Tearing down that wall is a noble sentiment, as is eliminating the CIA, and the Fed. JFK let it be known that he wanted to shut down both, and the rest, well, is history. If, by the grace of God (because there's no earthly way to accomplish it), the NSA was eliminated, I would predict, nay expect, a -major- attack on the US by 'terrorists'* soon after.

Okay, wait, what?

[citation required]


I hate to admit it. I kind of know some people in Dallas, and they are really spooky. Government & mafia.

But, while JFK was furious with the CIA over the crappy Cuban invasion, and he was no friends of Hoover of the FBI -- no President was, and we have it on record Hoover tried (and succeeded? Not on record.) to blackmail every single one after Herbert...

There is no statement where he showed he planned to get rid of them.

In fact, the CIA was the FBI's nemesis.


...


In fact, JFK had his own very close brother as the head of the department that was head of the division of the FBI.

And he did not have him get rid of J Edgar.

65535April 24, 2016 10:06 AM

@ Tear Down This Data Wall

All those mathematicians and they can't give us an estimate of how much data they are hoovering via UPSTREAM and PRISM? Convenient. Let me answer for them: ALL OF IT.

That is what I am inclined to believe. It’s going to end badly.

@ AlanS

"Some analysis on the government's joke minimization procedures and the joke oversight by the courts: Last July, NSA and CIA Decided They Didn’t Have to Follow Minimization Procedures, and Judge Hogan Is Cool with That"

That is bad news.

If you read all of Empytwheel’s post related to your linked post you will begin to see the horrifying problems of full fiber taps/Takes and the damage to the heart of the USA’s legal system.

It is impossible to separate the client attorney confidential conversations from the full data dragnet. We these full “takes” occur in the USA and are given to the FBI then the “client – attorney” intimate details are revealed to the DOJ/FBI giving the DOJ/FBI the full game plan of a defense attorney.

This nullifies the Fifth Amendment, the Miranda right to silence and a whole host of legal rights of the defendant. The defense attorney’s and other attorney are being screwed!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning

The DOJ/FBI and even local prosecutors could listen in on all ‘Client Attorney’ conversations in any electronic transmission – and possibly turn the Client’s and/or Attorney phones into listening devices – which would destroy the defense attorney’s ability to defend is client.

Worse, this same “full take” could monitor any and all judge’s conversations that are made electronically – all the way up to the US Supreme Court.

This type of out of control spying must be stopped at all costs. Don’t see how the democratic/legal system of the USA can survive under such surveillance.
I am somewhat surprised that more Attorney’s are not concerned about such spying on them via “Full takes” and the like.

[Next to Clive and related issues to US citizens]

@ Clive Robinson

"It appears the UK's Home Secretary Theresa May is steadily loosing contact with the reality of the economic side of National Security… Buried in the draft of the IPA "Snoopers Charter" she is foolishly championing, is a requirment that companies ensure that the UK Gov is fully cognizant of any product long prior to it being launched,

http://www.zdnet.com/article/uk-spy-bill-will-force-tech-firms-to-disclose-future-products-before-launch/

"Depending on how you read it the implication is if you design/manufacture/market a product within the UK you have to fully clear any product with the UK Gov... Or they will give you jail time, fines, seizure of property etc...”

That is very scary stuff. How long will it take the USA to adopt such procedures? How long would it take Australia to adopt such procedures? I would guess not long.

Even if the USA doesn’t adopt the above procedures I would speculate that the NSA/FBI/DEA/DHS would simply rout more American electronic communication through the UK and gain approximately the same end result. This will end very badly.

@ William

"How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/21/bulk_personal_datasets/
https://privacyinternational.org/node/840
https://privacyinternational.org/node/841
https://privacyinternational.org/node/842
https://privacyinternational.org/node/843"

Good links. They are a very troubling trend to military style surveillance being pushed down the ladder to the average Joe. This type of data could easily be abused. The government could possibly frame the average Joe with any number of crimes.

Very ugly indeed.

albertApril 24, 2016 11:06 AM

@Mike,
Yes, I remember the Pinto. IIRC, there was a famous cartoon showing a military cargo aircraft dropping Pintos over Vietnam (rear end first). They had Firestone 500 tires, too. Some wag said they were ideal cars for your mother-in-law (but sick humor was en vogue then)
......
@dingo,
No citation, it's what I recalled. It seems logical to assume that JFK was not killed because he slighted Ole Blue Eyes.
"...In fact, the CIA was the FBI's nemesis...". Interesting. I speculate on an JFK/FBI partnership. Could have brought down the CIA?
.......

Now that we have close to 100% draconianess in our spy laws, where can LE go from here? They've got everything. What excuse would they have if another new, improved, 911 happened? "We couldn't get their iPhone data"? Even goobers with minimum brain cell interconnections wouldn't buy that.

Folks can be unhappy without being mentally ill. We don't treat mental illness, we mitigate its effects by incarceration and cardboard boxes under viaducts. It's still a public health issue, like drug/alcohol addiction. And still nothing is being done about either.

Public policy is blinded by corporate greed, and no doubt, lust for power at the highest, but not often made visible, levels. The reason that those folks achieve power is that -they- are basically psychotics; moral cannibals that stop at -nothing- to get that power.

As long as people of force continue to educate ignorance into their subjects, a rational, enlightened world will exceed exceed our grasp.

Have a nice day, everyone.
. .. . .. --- ....

Dan3264April 24, 2016 11:53 AM

@65535,
I recently read "Night" by Elie Wiesel. It is amazing how the Jewish community did not do anything about the conditions until it was much too late.


On the seventh day of Passover the curtain rose. The Germans arrested the leaders of the Jewish community. From that moment, everything happened very quickly. The race toward death had begun. The first step: Jews would not be allowed to leave their houses for three days—on pain of death. […] That same day the Hungarian police burst into all the Jewish houses on the street. A Jew no longer had the right to keep in his house gold, jewels, or any objects of value. Everything had to be handed over to the authorities—on pain of death. […] When the three days were up, there was a new decree: every Jew must wear the yellow star. […] But already they were issuing new decrees. We were no longer allowed to go into restaurants or cafés, to travel on the railway, to attend the synagogue, to go out into the street after six o'clock. Then came the ghetto.[…] Little by little life returned to normal. The barbed wire which fenced us in did not cause us any real fear. We even thought us rather well off.

One of the lessons of the Holocaust is "If your rights are being trampled, doing nothing about it will only make it worse". To really stop mass surveillance, and other political issues(there are many…), the populace need to set clear limits on what is acceptable and what isn't, and enforce those limits with mass protests if the government doesn't respect those limits.

Dan3264April 24, 2016 11:57 AM

Ugh, I always find spelling and grammar issues in my comments after I post them :(

Who?April 24, 2016 12:24 PM

Right now it sounds more like a war between the U.S. Government and Apple, where the former is trying to damage Apple's reputation in the security field:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/justice-department-drops-another-demand-for-apples-help-with-passcode/2016/04/23/4fedbfd8-090c-11e6-bdcb-0133da18418d_story.html

I am not saying Apple has a reputation in this field, their products are not exactly what I would call "secure," but people usually thinks the other way.

ianfApril 24, 2016 1:54 PM


True self-designated cognoscenti of this forum (see above) will no doubt sneeze at claims served in this perennial ‍ ‍fanboi's "tech.pinion" piece “Apple’s Penchant for Consumer Security,” but there's no denying that, compared to other cellphone manufacturers' disclosed CS strategies, Apple's own policy herein is a shining lodestar.

    […] “Apple is attempting something that seems unprecedented at an industry level. To bring industry leading security but do so by actually enhancing the user experience.”
Observe: this is not a technical paper, but a consumer-grade overview of Apple's approach to unobtrusive security. [via Daring Fireball].


https://techpinions.com/apples-penchant-for-consumer-security/45122

65535April 24, 2016 7:28 PM

@ Dan3264

“One of the lessons of the Holocaust is "If your rights are being trampled, doing nothing about it will only make it worse".

I agree. The trap was constructed in small steps but unleashed quickly. The Holocaust is a good example.

The same goes for Stalin’s Road of Bones:

“Armed only with pickaxes and wheelbarrows, prisoners, among them the founder of the Soviet space programme, generals and intellectuals side by side with common criminals, hacked and hewed at permafrost in the hunt for gold. After the tyrant's death the camps were disbanded and most prisoners returned to "the mainland". But the search for gold went on, scarring the wilderness landscape with waterlogged gravel pits and scrap heaps.

"Under Stalin there were lots of camps with barbed wire and watch towers here," said Ivan Panikarov, a local journalist. "But Kolyma is one big camp to this day. There are no prisoners, you just can't escape."- Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/1404085/Road-of-Bones-where-slaves-perished.html

[and]

"On December 1, 1934, Sergei Kirov was murdered by Leonid Nikolaev. The death of this popular, high-profile politician shocked Russia, and Stalin used this murder to begin The Great Terror..."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rise_of_Joseph_Stalin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolyma#Emergence_of_the_Gulag_camps

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWvfL5qetlA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolyma

It’s hard to imagine that it would happen here… but not out of realm of possibilities. History never repeats itself exactly. If it happens here it will be different than Germany’s spiral into death but, the end result will be the same [One could project "super-max" prisons becoming gulags].

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 2:39 AM

New RNG for Linux Proposed

The current random number generator in the Linux code, is becoming less,effective due to changes in the hardware and way Linux is being used.

That is Solid State Drives have little in the way of entropy and virtual system usage adds other issues.

There is a proposal for a new Linux RNG along with code and test results,

http://www.chronox.de/lrng/doc/lrng.pdf

Who?April 25, 2016 3:18 AM

@Clive Robinson

The new LRNG has been designed "the Linux way." It is broken by design because it has been suggested by people without a true background on computer security. Are they really suggesting the use of hardware and CPU random number generators? Do they really trust the CPU RNG being truly random?

I have the same confidence on CPU RNGs "randomness" as in the UEFI firmware not being backdoored.

Personally I would never use these supposedly high quality U.S. designed random number generators to feed my entropy pools.

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 3:36 AM

Can we stay young without cancer

Apparently there is an expetement in progress that will slow down aging,

http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/research-news/first-gene-therapy-successful-against-human-aging

If it becomes successful the question arises about cancer and telomeres. In essence telomeres say when DNA can nolonger divide successfully, thus regeneration stops, cancer cells however do not suffer from this problem thus continue to regenerate endlessly if given an appropriate environment.

I must admit I've got to an age where recovery times from excercise, injury and ill health are getting anoyingly longer, thus getting a jab of those gene therapies would be tempting, irrespective of the potential risk...

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 4:01 AM

@ The usual suspects,

This TRNG might be of interest,

http://altusmetrum.org/ChaosKey

For those not upto speed on things the CCT of the noise source on the page has two parts, the left hand part is a switch mode up converter turning USB rail voltage to around 20V which then powers via a resistor the two transistor noise source.

Whilst it will work, it does not consider noise from the switcher, or other ground noise.

But for a quick and dirty home brew which will work as a prototype it's a good place to start.

WaelApril 25, 2016 4:59 AM

@Clive Robinson,

For those not upto speed on things the CCT of the noise

So they started with a ZXRE1004 zener diode for the noise source in rev 0.1 HW. Then in rev 0.2 and rev 0.3 HW, a back-to-back 3904 transistor was used for a 'better' noise source. ChaosKey attaches via USB connector. By the way, what does CCT stand for? Charge Coupled Transistor; an implementation of a CCD which utilizes impact ionization? I don't vividly recollect this CCT -- it may have been a long time ago... It's not exactly a new idea, but...

The designer is a highly respected fellow (pun intended.)

WaelApril 25, 2016 5:10 AM

@Clive Robinson,

Can we stay young without cancer

Two wishes! You have three, dontcha know? Just steer clear of Cosmic Rays. Too much sun isn't good either.

WaelApril 25, 2016 5:19 AM

@Clive Robinson,

I must admit I've got to an age where recovery times from excercise...

If you can still excercise, then you're not that old. But, if you start building an Ark, please do let us know :)

ThothApril 25, 2016 5:38 AM

@Clive Robinson
Maybe Linux developers should really consider switching from /dev/random to Fortuna RNG created by our host, @Bruce Schneier et. al. ? Windows Crypto RNG already uses Fortuna (can't remember which article I read from).

ianfApril 25, 2016 6:35 AM


The Web Is Not Uniform - on the raison d'être du Javascript en le Web (lire tous les commentaires!) par Karolina Szczur

https://medium.com/@fox/the-web-isn-t-uniform-fd67eb631501

Just the Facts: ISIS Encryption

From @thegrugq: This is an attempt to collate all the information about ISIS operational terrorist comms, not propaganda or fanboy comms within Europe, back to ISIS Syria.

    Conclusion: 1) ISIS doesn’t use very much encryption, 2) ISIS is inconsistent in their tradecraft. There is no sign of evolutionary progress, rather it seems more slapdash and haphazard. People use what they feel like using and whatever is convenient. […]
https://medium.com/@thegrugq/just-the-facts-isis-encryption-c70f258c0f7

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 6:57 AM

@ Wael,

So many posts and questions...

By the way, what does CCT stand for?

It's shorthand for CirCuiT as well you should know by now, if you've associated with European engineers.

The designer is a highly respected fellow

I'm not sure but I think I met him at an AMSAT do a few decades back. AMSAT ground station was once at Guildford University Surrey UK run by Martin Sweeting --now Prof Sir--, the Uni kind of branched out to become Surrey Satellite Technology (STL) in the Uni business park, and developed all sorts of interesting payloads including CubeSat stuff. The Uni then floged their share to EADS and I've not had contact in quite a while.

If you can still excercise, then you're not that old.

Trust me you can be old and excercise a lot if your body will alow (which mine often does not).

Any way "age is relative", if you are the oldest in any group then you are "the old XXX" to the whipersnapers.

@ r,

Now you see what I have to putup with from Wael, so your tiny drop in comparison to his ocean is OK "So N'worries Mate".

As for Wael, I intend to find out when he is next going to be in Death Valley, lying on his back stargazing, and sneak up and give him one of my evil laughs, and see if his hair turns whiter than Methuselah's from shock, or if he irrigates the place ;-)

CallMeLateForSupperApril 25, 2016 7:03 AM

From the What Could Possibly Go Wrong file

A Colorado school system is in the process of arming security guards with long guns. So far, $12,000 has been spent on "Bushmaster" rifles. "'We want to make sure they have the same tools as law enforcement,' Richard Payne, director of Douglas County School District security, told The Denver Post."

"same tools as law enforcement" Stand by for tear gas, stun grenades, body armor, and sentry dogs.

Take me back to the days when violence in schools was a fist fight and authorities' "tools" were a stern talk, detention, and expulsion.

www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0419/Colorado-school-district-to-equip-security-workers-with-semiautomatic-rifles-videohttp://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0419/Colorado-school-district-to-equip-security-workers-with-semiautomatic-rifles-video

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 8:15 AM

@ Thoth,

Maybe Linux developers should really consider switching from /dev/random to Fortuna RNG created by our host,

Two things, firstly if I remember rightly Bruce co-designed it with Neils Ferguson who went on to work at MS and had trouble with an Elephant.

Secondly, the real problem is not the algorithm but the source of entropy and how it arives at the instance of the algorithm.

Old Hard Drives being mostly mechanical had quite a bit of entropy from the drive speed and seek times etc on the heads. As tolerances became tighter, and read ahead caches in the megabyte and up range got put on them the entropy became less and less. Now we have SSDs the entropy from them is tiny and variations in times are more likely to be algorithmic issues not mechanical so effectively determanistic.

The user tapping at the keyboard or playing with the mouse, used to be considered a source of entropy but in these days of virtual terminals to headless servers, that one goes out the window as well.

As for using interupts as a source of entropy that can be quite dangerous depending on how the interupt occurs. That is it can be sufficiently determanistic that the entropy is not gatherable.

Then there is the issue of Virtual Machines, they don't realy have the sort of hardware access that produces entropy. Worse if they do get entropy via the base/host OS then the chances are all VMs will get the same entropy which means various attacks become possible.

Thus it's not just a Linux problem it's a more general problem which hits all OS's and all VMs, and is only going to get worse as we further design entropy out of hardware designs.

As @Who? Points out with,

Do they really trust the CPU RNG being truly random?

It's a question of faith over commonsense. I'm on record here and other places as saying I don't think the OnChip TRNG's are anything of the sort, especialy Intel's (google my name and "magic pixie dust"). The funny thing is Linus made a bit of a blunder over using such RNGs and he kind of had to do a facepalm out of it.

Aside from the usual suspect bugs, getting RNGs wrong has been a serious security failing since before the WWW existed... I've designed Hardware TRNG's off and on since the early 1980's and I've got a feel of just how difficult it can be to get them right.

As @Wael questioned my categorizing the noise source in the CCT, I will make a few observations about it.

Firstly the switching regulator is by no means properly noise decoupled. The single cap shown is in no way sufficient, and has a poor frequency range, thus will alow both low frequency and high frequency switcher noise onto the 20 volt rail. Further the transistors are connected to ground thus as they are current operating the variable ground current caused by it's effective impedence back to the USB power source is going to be adding a lot of ground noise.

The designer mentions problems with frequency rolloff thus having to use a 200Mhz GBP OpAmp... But still uses a frequency selective coupling cap that will look like an inductor from a few tens of MHz. Further if you are going to use an OpAmp it's adventageous to use it in a differential manner.

So I would firstly split the load resistor into two resistors of half the value and put one from the supply to the transistors and the other from the transistors to the supply return. I would then use three capacitors such as 1uF, 1nF and 10pF to replace the decoupling cap and likewise on the transistor pair outputs. I would issolate the supply with a balanced filter with a fairly low frequency rolloff. I would also take a differential output from the the top and bottom of the transistor pair and put it into the OpAmp configured for differential operation.

In TRNGs I've designed in the past I actually use two OpAmps the first used differentialy with very low gain and DC coupling to the transistors and gain increasing with frequency, this then fed a second OpAmp AC coupled with sufficient gain. The frequency selectivity was designed to give as flat a frequency response as possible in the bandpass upto the digitizer. Most homebrew digitizers are either a slicer, Schmitt trigger or over driven OpAmp into a digital input. Needless to say they have their disadvantages. These days I would use a highspeed 12bit A-D converter. But in the past I used to take the analogue output of the amplified noise source and use it to drive a Voltage Controled Oscillator, the output of which was used to drive the CLK input of a D-Type latch with the Data input driven by another high frequency oscillator. The raw output of the latch drove a shift register and a counter which I described on this blog a short while ago.

ThothApril 25, 2016 8:23 AM

@Clive Robinson
How useful would the PUF function of a chip be for contributing to entropy ? I wonder if chipmakers have considered using PUF features of chips to contribute to hardware entropy sources.

Nick PApril 25, 2016 9:31 AM

@ Clive Robinson

It's an interesting little design. I told the HN people that, if it's gonna have a black box, consider just getting a BitBabbler. It had more noise sources in it with black box being a dumb, USB chip instead of a whole SoC. They also encourage 3rd party testing/verification.

@ Thoth, All

re /dev/random vs Fortuna vs the world

Here's a nice page that clears up some myths about /dev/random. On other end, I'm trying to create a list of the benefits of HW TRNG over a software CRNG. Here's my list so far. Feel free to suggest anything I might not have noticed:

1. Easier to trust one based on physics with decades of verification of its behavior vs mathematical constructions with vastly less certainty or verification of correctness.

2. Bit-flips or EMI on internal state might affect a software algorithm's randomness. Won't happen with certain types of analog noise with carefully tuned and measured circuits.

3. Can verify the circuits do exactly what I expect by eye and hand with a logic analyzer. No speculation due to No 1. Can then trust that circuit as a pluggable component in any other system without further evaluation.

4. Building on above, a compromise of the host PC requires me to recover the host but not dedicated chips like the TRNG or proper HSM. I can still trust them if they have no firmware (eg analog TRNG) or it's not write-able.

5. Using Nizza Architecture, I can put Linux in an untrusted partition with crypto/CRNG/secure-storage directly on microkernel in dedicated, isolated partition. TRNG HW or dedicated crypto SOC gives me this plus benefits above.

CuriousApril 25, 2016 10:10 AM

I am wondering, is Alphabet Inc. (aka Google) involved in any core design of anything DNS?

I am reading on Wikipedia that 'domain name system' is a so called " hierarchical decentralized naming system" "for computers, services, or any resource connected to the internet or a private network".

What is it with domain name system that makes DNS "decentralized"?

Could DNS also be understood as being centralized, if overlooking the the 'hierarchical' part?

WaelApril 25, 2016 10:55 AM

@Clive Robinson,

I intend to find out when he is next going to be in Death Valley, lying on his back stargazing

I met with a relative in the Navy and told him about my bad luck with dark skies. I then asked him about the sky viewed from the sea away from light pollution. His response was OMG, it's unbelievable. I said great, take me on one of them destroyers some day... He said: no can do, bubba, why don't you go to Anza-Borrego? Been there, done that among tens of similar locations. The best luck I had was in the Sinai peninsula and some unknown place in Idaho during a night drive. Been to Grand Canyon a dozen times, but never at night. I hear it's great for stargazing... One of these days...

Next time I maybe on a boat a day or two away from the shore on a moonless night. If I had money, I would get a boat only for that purpose.

and see if his hair turns whiter than Methuselah's from shock, or if he irrigates the place ;-)

Firstly, I don't have much hair left. Secondly, I normally irrigate in the direction of wind, unless I'm startled. Choose your location wisely, unless, of course, you don't mind a little irrigation. Then I'll have the last laugh :)

Clive RobinsonApril 25, 2016 12:14 PM

@ Thoth,

How useful would the PUF function of a chip be for contributing to entropy ?

No more than any "hidden" --supposedly-- unique serial number.

@ Nick P,

On other end, I'm trying to create a list of the benefits of HW TRNG over a software CRNG.

It might be easier to produce a list of weaknesses for both first then see which offsets the other, and what remains, that then needs addressing.

I suspect that when the final analysis is done, it will be an amalgamation of the entropy sources of a TRNG and CS algorithm or two to provide an entropy stired CS whirlpool, and a per process/VM whitening proces prior to a CS hash.

Mike BarnoApril 25, 2016 12:41 PM

@ Wael, Clive R :

For clear night skies for stargazing, I recommend the Beartooth Mountains, northeast from Yellowstone National Park. There is a campground a few feet short of eleven thousand feet above sea level, and there are no pollution sources for a hundred miles upwind except geysers puking sulfur compounds in their compressed steam.

For a bonus, drive a light, nimble car. The Beartooth Highway has amazing switchback corners and gorgeous panoramic views. If you see a TV ad looking down a mountainside at six more sections of the same road, that's probably the Beartooth.

ThothApril 25, 2016 12:50 PM

@Randomness or Non-Randomness or Maybe Strong or Weak RNG et. al.
Use remember to SHA-256 hash the output from RNG a couple thousand times if you are deriving symmetric keys or nonces before using. Would save you a whole ton of problem from taking the vanilla RNG output from any RNG. Another better idea would be to follow Truecrypt's method of having it's own mouse cursor and keyboard detection/own RNG pool if you are not using command line/terminal.

If all else fails, open up your newspaper with a pen(cil) and randomly flip it's pages and find 32 characters, SHA-256 hash the result 100,000 times on a non-compromised chip and then use it to seed your favourite CSPRNG and you may continue to do your crypto albeit the time wasted on manually finding your RNG seed-mat and then seeding it by hand.

albertApril 25, 2016 1:26 PM

@Clive, et.al.,
Is it possible to design a true random number generator that fits in one tiny package? It might be easier to get MB manufacturers to include one in their designs.

The usual caveat applies...

. .. . .. --- ....

WaelApril 25, 2016 1:47 PM

@Mike Barno

Beartooth Mountains, northeast from Yellowstone National Park.

Thank you! Hopefully possible this summer to try :)

Dan3264April 25, 2016 6:48 PM

@Thoth,
If you want a better approach (meaning less likely to be backdoored) for getting random numbers, I have an idea: Get a Raspberry Pi (preferably not the Pi 3, because it has built in Wifi and Bluetooth) and a camera HAT (Hardware Attached on Top). Write the software yourself (if you are really paranoid, you can custom-make Raspberry Pi firmware that lets you write more Raspberry Pi firmware).Take a few dozen pictures with your "camera" (pictures of natural areas might have more entropy, but it doesn't really matter that much). Have the Raspberry Pi hash the pictures many times (if you are really(seriously extremely) paranoid, cover the Pi with tin foil while it hashes). The hash output is your random number. There are very many ways of representing the same scene as pixels. If multiple pictures(of different areas) are taken, there will likely be a large amount of entropy (but the raw image data would be rather biased) in the pictures. The invocation(s) of SHA-256(or another suitable hash function) will cleanly output 256 bits (I am assuming you are using SHA-256) of entropy.

ThothApril 25, 2016 8:08 PM

@Dan3264
Ideally, you have to somehow get rid of those images you use for entropy generation securely and ensure those images don't get cache to a VFS or on a storage media of sorts otherwise it would be a nice approach. Images can be a few MB in size per piece and can be hard to destroy properly on flash storage which RPi relies in (it's use of the SD card slot).

Ray AdverbApril 25, 2016 8:28 PM

the future ...

to prepare ...

psychological hardening ...

how? ...

:-)

rApril 25, 2016 9:55 PM

Okay, in going to say this... It's not a hardware solution like you guys want... It's nowhere near a holy grail but I've thought for a long time about wifi adapter in monitor mode as entropy, in a common environment with proper molestation that should be very hard to game I'd think.

On the topic of cameras, there's a previous thread around here I think that tells about the reasonable security of a specific location or direction as reliable against being gamed... But! As I pointed out at that redteam comp I went to 6 months when they thought it was cool to hijack a webcam with a single frame... Frame to frame you can see dithering in images even if people don't overlay timestamps... Which they didn't, I'm not sure if the forgetting is JPEG induced but I believe it's hardware and aperture? based so within reason no two images are the same... Either light conditions or dithering is different frame to frame, it can be a decent source of entropy I'd think.

Maybe neither of those solutions would survive in a strength of key sense... Or be completely immune to gaming. But I really do think they can be reasonable sources of entropy if handled and used properly in a software environment. Maybe audio too, there's white noise in that too.

Olde Rocket ScientistApril 25, 2016 10:42 PM

@Wael

The darkest night skies near you are in central Nevada's Monitor Valley. The valley floor is about 7400 ft. in altitude, but is accessible via an ordinary car. It is about 100 miles long and about 15-20 wide. There are 4 houses in the entire valley. Pine Creek is a good free camp ground. The surrounding mountains are 10,000 to 12,000 ft. high. It is about 300 miles north west of Las Vegas. Watch out for cattle and wild horses on the road; once you leave Nevada Highway 95, it is all open range.

Nick PApril 25, 2016 10:53 PM

@ r

Any circuit you can implement with transistors, diodes, and resistors can be put on an ASIC. Even oldest (eg 0.5micron/500nm) circuits can fit a *lot* of those. So, you can put it into an analog/digital/mixed I.P. that others can include on a given node or a separate chip that's as tiny as you can afford packaging for. Matter of fact, you could get and package your own for around $2,500. Have fun. :)

@ All

Someone on HN asked me why high-security doesn't take off. I've learned quite a bit since I last wrote on that topic ("fuck users, businesses, and NSA!"). Here's latest writeup on that that tries to abstract the problem a bit. Feel free to chime in on any observations:

"That's hard to say. I need to re-research it and write another essay on it using info I've learned recently. Here's a few issues:

- High-assurance is a barely developed field due to neglect. This means each new problem is essentially a R&D problem then an engineering problem. That increases cost and risk while slowing things down a bit. Good news is there's examples of many kinds of things to work with out of both proprietary and CompSci (mainly) with almost nothing out of FOSS despite them being attracted to interesting, challenging problems. Weird but that's the spread.

- High-assurance applies rigorous techniques to systematically eliminate problems in requirements, design, code, deployment and maintenance. The extra care increases both upfront investment and time-to-market. The latter is often critical as whoever has more features at any given point gets more market share and profit. That high-assurance delays to get it right the first time is an unforgivable sin in capitalist market.

- A follow-up here, identified by a founder of INFOSEC (Schell), is that businesses make more money on broken software. They get market share by not charging too much plus adding features. So, that means they need to find minimal amount of features to add at minimal labor cost. They keep customers with lock-in, which neglects quality automatically. Common to charge for updates and fixes delivered regularly in a way that's good for financial reports. Schell reported that non-IT industry he met with was aware of the game early where they said IT industry knew about his and other methods for robust software, that they worked, and refused to apply them to continously charge for broken software. A true conspiracy that became the default as high-assurance was forgotten, everyone grew up with shit software, and everyone [wrongly] believes it's inevitable rather than intentional.

- Demand is a huge problem. Most people blame software makers... which admittedly conspire... yet users will rarely buy secure stuff or even higher quality stuff. Any HN reader knows how consumers do economics and most businesses do IT. If they don't give a shit, then the supply side shouldn't per capitalism. They want insecure OS's running with no safety checks in CPU supporting insecure peripherals/apps and nearly-backdoored wireless standards? Well, you better provide it or you make no money. FOSS has similar problem for popularity or uptake. There's a niche that does higher-security stuff, mostly in defense but not all. Yet, higher cost plus abysmally low volume = very high unit prices or OEM licenses. It's like a trap. Worst, another conspiracy Schell's industry people noticed early on was mainstream "security" vendors buy up high-assurance vendors, then eliminate or water down their offerings. Might be incidental or nefarious but it's a real effect.

- Walker's Computer Security Initiative, along with Schell's work, countered all of this to invent INFOSEC field, create standards, incentivize them, improve mainstream, and bring high-assurance market up. Bell, of Bell-LaPadula, describes in a paper that NSA killed it by competing with them directly w/ government solutions and reneging on all promises of longevity & pay. Post-Snowden, a dumb move or intentional sabotage? Still not sure but NSA is real obstacle. EAL6/7 products still considered munitions for export although maybe not enforced. Government keeps steady development of high assurance (Type 1 especially) for use by military and defense contractors but bans us from using it. They're steady obstacle, esp NSA and DOD but DARPA & NSF a helpful neutrals.

- Worst one is ignorance and apathy. You'll see me be harsh on security industry here for a reason: they don't know any of this shit or even what high-assurance is mostly. It's like CompSci, high-assurance, defense, mainstream INFOSEC, and common IT are all silo'd from each other with little knowledge going across. Tell INFOSEC or IT people about inexpensive methods for robust or secure software gets you ignored. They don't apply almost anything outside code review and testing despite empirical evidence backing each method in high-assurance. Not sure of the solution there but this really hurts us that almost nobody does high assurance. Especially FOSS given its free labor.

So, there's some of the obstacles to high-assurance security getting more adoption. Good news is there's steadily companies appearing to do it and academics dumping their work into companies or FOSS releases. Stuff to build on. Occasionally it happens like with Chrome being a variant of OP Web Browser w/ lower security for faster speed, Blackberry using QNX (medium assurance) for Playbook, OKL4 on mobile phones, Paxos in the distributed systems, Bernstein's NaCl getting more adoption, GenodeOS getting more desktop ready, and so on. Little outliers showing what's possible. Not much else, though, due to strong obstacles in every community even when high-assurance is easy or fairly cost-effective. Human nature I guess..."

rApril 25, 2016 11:00 PM

@Nick P,

Another thing kicking around my head... Is keeping a small cluster of computers in a "sealed" mineral oil bath... A high resolution thermal sensor in that environment should possess a white noise quality too.

I'm still trying to figure out how to resist infiltration with that setup, I think it would at least be resistant to cold boot attacks due to the higher thermal pool?

Maybe traditional glass, it's a dielectric just like plexiglass but the the outside could still be taped/siliconed and then drilled into.

But hopefully you guys see where I'm going with that.

rApril 25, 2016 11:07 PM

A very brittle container one could use is pressed glass, it's not uniform and drooling through the to of something like a lightbulb would be very difficult

WaelApril 26, 2016 12:11 AM

@Olde Rocket Scientist,

Thank you. Will put it on my list, for sure! The challenge is finding a day with clear skies and a new moon, that I can take a day off on. "Off on"... Hmmm

@r,

Another thing kicking around my head...

Bang! Use that for a source of entropy! Lol. This is a good light read on entropy.

I think it would at least be resistant to cold boot attacks due to the higher thermal pool?

Was originally a figure of speech (warm boot is the three-finger salute on Windows or its equivalent on other Operating Systems), just like antenna temperature has nothing to do with thermal levels. One can extend the life of data on memory by cooling it, though.

@Nick P, @Thoth

You're back to writing little booklets? :)

Fortuna (can't remember which article I read from).

Velut luna... Perhaps you've heard it instead?

rApril 26, 2016 12:23 AM

@wail,

I just think a liquid may be something others may be unprepared for like tampered screws on your laptop, how are you going to freeze RAM inside of an oil environment? Especially if you're watching the temperature have a little battery power and maybe an opaque/brittle shell?

You can't compromise certain structures/shapes without casting a mold around them or taping them up. Moving a liquid environment to tamper with it may be exceedingly difficult to do with motion sensors too. You can have drain/fluid level sensors to detect coolant removal.

It's just been eating at me.

WaelApril 26, 2016 12:43 AM

@r,

how are you going to freeze RAM inside of an oil environment?

Yank memory out, take it out of oil bath, spray it with a coolant, proceed with analysis steps. You really don't have to cool or freeze RAM right away. Sometimes you don't even need to freeze it and it'll retain a lot of information for a few minutes.

"Wail" means something different than the way my name is spelled. There are people who spell this (their) name the way you did, too. You r funny!

FigureitoutApril 26, 2016 2:00 AM

Nick P
Someone on HN asked me why high-security doesn't take off
--Let me simplify that for you.

1) For vast majority of people, the cost of high security isn't worth the benefits. This is the most important one. They don't "get off" like we do to strong security and thought of hackers getting stumped (we've all been there, admit it :p). It's a safe pleasure, since we're not hacking, we're protecting now. Can't go to jail for protecting people.

2) Regular engineering problems are hard enough to get right, people that know them can't perfectly pass down that knowledge, it has to be earned over years. Just learning "the basics" grows over time such that, your brain may have just enough space for "the basics". Forcing "known correct behavior 100% of time" takes resources (no battery operated devices, no solid ground, need all AC and a real ground all the way, burn some more coal) that if applied to all industries would've probably sucked all our resources already and we'd be living in a polluted death ball.

3) Insecure devices allow you to experiment in ways secure devices would kill your creativity instantly. In other words, they're more fun. Otherwise we'd all still be doing OTP's on burnable paper delivered via courier instead of posting to the most insecure network humanity has ever made, the internet.

Clive RobinsonApril 26, 2016 2:05 AM

@ Albert,

Is it possible to design a true random number generator that fits in one tiny package?

I see no reason in the laws of physics why it can not be done. Though there are good reasons why you might not want to use some methods (it's not that dificult to convert a smoke detector for instance but do you want Polonium or similar on your work bench or in landfill?). Most good sources of entropy age in some way due to entropy it's self, which means that they have a recalibration or end of use time. As a very rough rule of thumb, the easier it is to get entropy out of a source the faster it is going to wind down under the influance of entropy thus the shorter those times will be.

Thus we tend to use entropy sources at the bottom of the curve such as thermal noise, which means two things in general,

1, The source is susceptable to interferance.
2, The amount of entropy in bits/Sec is very low.

Which gives rise to a real design issue.

    The entropy signal is consequently hidden in other often much larger signals normaly.

So what you expect to see from a source output in descending order of magnitude are,

1, Recognisable determanistic signals.
2, False entropy, determanistic signals.
3, True entropy.

Whilst removing the recognisable determanistic signals is possible by generating an inverse signal and subtracting it or by other filtering techniques, it tends to be a resource intensive task.

But that does not solve the real problem which is the false entropy, which could best be described as "A determanistic signal you can not determin". The only way you can limit some of it is by very carefull circuit and physical design to isolate the source from influence external to it. It tends to be a resource intensive thus expensive and physicaly large solution.

Which brings us to your second point,

It might be easier to get MB manufacturers to include one in their designs.

Which is realy a basic economic question of how much of a demand for good entropy sources do MB purchasers have? And the answer is "almost none", thus after removing any profit it gives you the amount of money the MB manufacturers will spend on it, which is considerably less than they would spend on a power supply filtering capacitor.

IC manufactures put them into their devices because they are essentialy "free space fillers", thus in effect cost them nothing whilst giving a small marketing advantage.

Thus the general MB manufacturer will spend nothing on putting a TRNG onto their boards.

There are a few other economic arguments, but the reality is the probability is such that COTS equipment will now never have TRNGs that you can trust implicitly.

And as has already been pointed out on this blog, the non general, specialised or niche product manufactures are now in the UK and US LEO cross hairs with legislation already in draft form to make it all nice and legal... Oh and the legislation appears to have no limits as to what constitutes a manufacturer, thus "home hobbyists beware, your cards are being marked".

AnuraApril 26, 2016 3:49 AM

So a couple of weeks ago, I mused about a cipher construction in which decryption is identical to encryption using the inverse key schedule. Well, the other day I realized you could make the key schedule so it is its own inverse*. The advantage to the construction is minimized code size, the disadvantage is that it significantly simplifies the key schedule. It will most likely weaken the cipher, although it does not necessarily mean the cipher itself is insecure.

Anyway, just for fun I did up a proof of concept.

http://pastebin.com/Wtu7S7Cb

It's just a proof of concept - I put no effort into making sure it's secure. Rotational constants/nonlinear functions chosen completely arbitrarily, as are the number of rounds. I've done absolutely no cryptanalysis.


*Note, that there are some very good reasons why this is a very bad idea. Your homework assignment is to name those reasons.

NickjApril 26, 2016 3:55 AM

The news about the bank heist from the Bangladesh central bank using SWIFT is strange. The Guardian report says "More than $30m of the money that was stolen was handed over in cash to an ethnic Chinese man in Manila, a Philippines senator looking into the suspected laundering scheme said."

(1) Banks don't usually have $30m of cash on hand. Even if there's $30m in your account, you have to give notice if you want to withdraw that amount. (A large company might need a lot of cash to meet monthly payroll, but would give plenty of notice to the bank.)
(2) Banks worldwide apply know-your-customer practices. To open a bank account pretty much anywhere, you have to supply the bank with government-issued ID and you also have to state the source of funds if your account is more than pocket change.

Walking into a bank with a suitcase and saying "I want to withdraw $30m that just appeared in my account" is simply not possible nowadays without triggering immediate investigation, so what really went on here?

Wesley ParishApril 26, 2016 3:59 AM

@usual suspects

re: dark night skies

IDA’s work includes initiatives to protect the night skies and fragile ecosystems in parks and protected areas worldwide.

Find a Dark Sky Place
http://darksky.org/idsp/finder/

Share and Enjoy!

DanApril 26, 2016 6:10 AM

@Thoth,
Since you(meaning anybody who actually does this) design the software yourself, you can stick in any security measures you want (within the limits of software, of course. You can't program it to be a flying supersonic computer that is shielded against radar). You could probably (I don't know all the technical details, so I can't know for sure) overwrite the image data with random garbage a few dozen times. Once you are done with that, you can donate the camera HAT and Raspberry Pi(separately) to a hobbiest workshop. Then you buy another Pi and camera HAT, and claim that those were the ones you always had. Then you bury all documentation in a 1456-page analysis of the growth rate of grass when given different fertilizers(taking into account rainy and sunny days, how much light the grass typically gets, and how much it is stepped on). Make sure the document is printed in some font that is resistant to image-recognition. Make the hidden documentation false anyways,so law enforcement will have wasted their time completely :)

Clive RobinsonApril 26, 2016 6:59 AM

@ Anura,

Well, the other day I realized you could make the key schedule so it is its own inverse

The earliest known example of that is probably the "reciprocal cipher" given in the Kamasutra under the art of "Mlecchita Vikalpa".

Perhaps more commonly known is that of the Enigma Cipher machine used by the Germans and others during WWII where the reflector stator at the left of the rotors made it a reciprocal cipher. Such rotor machines became the basis of many designs (like sigba) that remained in service untill the microcomputer caught up in the early 1980's. However others were aware of the problems with reciprical ciphers and did not have a reflector plate.

The problem is that in many ciphers where "the key schedule... is its own inverse" there is the problem of "no input may encrypt to it's self". Unlike the Polish Bomba[1] which was a ciphertext only attack on the key indicator, the British designed bombe was designed to make use of assumed plaintext that used the "no input may encipher to it's self" to find a jibe with the cipher text the coresponding letter to letter corespondence was used to set the menues being used. Gordon Welchman further realised that the reciprocal weakness could be further exploited which gave rise to the "diagonal board" that caused Alan Turing to stand there mouth dropped when Gordon explained it to him.

Thus you have to be very careful that you don't fall into the "no input may encipher to it's self" trap when designing key schedule's that are their own inverse...

[1] In the early part of the war the Germans did not use the Enigma in a sensible way. One such weakness was how they sent the individual "message key" under the "Day key" twice at the begining of each message. The Polish unlike the British had guessed the internal keyboard to rota cage entry wiring of the Enigma. This enabled them to use the six charecter key indicator to break into the actual day setting. Around Oct1938 Henryk Zygalski, invented a way to speed the process up by using a stack of perforayed card "grills" on a light table. These became known as "Zygalski sheets" but were manpower intensive to use. Thus the Poles automated the process and it was this device that was known as the Bomba. Unfortunatly the Germans changed the way they sent the message key, and the Polish Bomba became obsolete. It was this obsolescence issue that nagged at Alan Turing and he tried to design it out along with Doc Keene in the British Bombe design, which made it a whole different animal in nature, especialy when Gordon Welchman independently came up with the idea of the diagonal board.

Due to the security policy put in place in the 1980's by Margaret Thatcher, the actual truth about the bomba/bombe diffrences did not come out for a number of years (till around the fall of the Iron Curtain). It was not helped by the "Official History" by Harry Hinsley nor by other historians who had no actual contact with either the Polish or British cryptanalysis of the Enigma.

ThothApril 26, 2016 8:22 AM

@all
US Military-Government-Industrial Complex attempts to flex Cyber Command muscles by trying to deal Cyber Punches against ISIS infrastructure. That is the how many times they said they are trying to weaken and wipe ISIS but they are still at it. Good job :) .

Clapper and the IC/Surveillance gang feels that Snowden leaks are responsible for the massive growth and advancement in Crypto and Personal Security and to them this is a nasty and bad thing they are trying to deal with. It seems the usual case of Governments think they are the bosses and can boss around with the citizenry are not happy when the people who elected them (the people) are becoming better at protecting themselves.

Links:
- http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/04/us-military-plans-to-drop-cyberbombs-on-isis-nyt-says/
- http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/top-intelligence-official-snowden-accelerated-sophistication-of-crypto/

Mike BarnoApril 26, 2016 8:41 AM

@ Wael, Figureitout, Clive R :

Two alternative explanations for the speeding ticket discrepancy.

1) Wael's speedometer used an ivory-tower academic's software algorithm instead of sufficiently robust hardware sensors. The cube-of-speed effect of aerodynamic resistance held actual motion to 97 MPH while the speedo calculated 120.

2) Wael's just-for-fun research identified a remotely exploitable vulnerability in COTS radar guns. He engineered a hack that caused the Revenue Officer's equipment to underreport the target vehicle speed by roughly 20 percent. Since this was an alpha test, he didn't publicly disclose the exploit.

Hey, was this in a Tesla?

CallMeLateForSupperApril 26, 2016 11:00 AM

Re: the British bombe and Welchman's "diagonal board"

Gordon Welchman's addition - the diagonal board - to Alan Turing's bombe design was nothing short of brilliant. It embodied in wires what those in the know knew about the effect of Enigma's "Steckerbrot": that if, for example, "J" is steckered to "T" then "T" is steckered to "J". Precisely that reciprocal relationship was missing from Turing's bombe design, and as a consequence, for any given "menu" (problem), a Turing bombe gives many, many more false positives than a Turing/Welchman bombe gives. Since each positive ("stop") must be checked by a human, the Turing bombe can be impractical (depending on the particular problem being run) and is inefficient at best.

If the Turing/Welchman bombe did indeed shave two years off WW][, one wonders how helpful the Turning bombe could have been.

Some authors give due credit to Welchman by writing "Turing/Welchman bombe" instead of just "Turing bombe".

WaelApril 26, 2016 11:34 AM

@Mike Barno,

Two alternative explanations...

Not quite! More than two, Rock & Roller! Back in the east coast, if you knew a police officer he'd give you a business card. If another policeman stopped you for traffic violation and asked for "driver license and insurance, please", you would hand the business card with the other documents. The officer, as a "professional courtesy", would then give you a warning, and collect the business card from you. Then the other officer (owner of the business card) would owe him a "favor". I had a collection of the "Out of jail cards". They didn't all work. Once a grouchy cop gave me a ticket on my birthday (the business card didn't help -- maybe he didn't like the other guy, or something)... As he handed me the ticket he said sarcastically: oh, it's your birthday! Have a nice day, now. I replied: thanks officer, I hope your day turns out to be just as nice... It wasn't a Tesla. It was a Thunderbird once, and a late 80's twin-turbo Toyota Supra another time... As far as RADAR / LIDAR jamming devices go, they're illegal ;)

@Figureitout,

I'll be driving past your wreck like...

You're such a cold-hearted snake! And... Rubber-necking causes more accidents too!

What'd you do, give the cop..,

You're finally getting to understand how the real world works. By the way, how did you know? That pervert didn't "YouTube" the video, did he?

@Clive Robinson,

It's called playing the game...

Right on! There is a game to play at every level...

CallMeLateForSupperApril 26, 2016 1:46 PM

The House Armed Services Committee finally grew a pair: it effectively tossed the 18-year-old, eyewateringly expensive, still-not-ready-for-prime-time program JLENS[1] into a coffin by cutting its 2017... er, allowance: to $2.5 million versus the $45 million the Army wanted. So kudos, Congress. This citizen appreciates your action.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/04/jlens-programs-blimp-gone-wild-prompts-house-to-slash-funding/

Now then.... There's the niggling little thing about Congress' sending security- and technology-focused bills up the flag pole without having first asked experts in security or technology for their assessment of the field. The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) was set up in 1972 for that very purpose - by a Congress that knew it didn't know technical stuff. But OTA was defunded in 1995... by Congress. Thus we have the current Congress of crypto-techno illiterates whose bills/votes seem to be influenced more by existing law and/or "political weather" than by sound technical reasoning. Example: “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016”, the dizzyingly absurd proposal by Senators Burr and Feinstein. We tell our children, "When you're having trouble, it's OK to ask for help." Congress should stop trying to do their job alone.
http://www.wired.com/2016/04/office-technology-assessment-congress-clueless-tech-killed-tutor/


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JLENS

AnuraApril 26, 2016 1:46 PM

@Clive Robinson

Note, with this cipher there are likely some plaintexts that have the same ciphertext.

The big problem I hinted at is simply that attempting to use some block cipher modes will completely fail if you have all zero blocks. Also, don't even try OFB mode - it will alternate between two different 256-bit outputs. In fact, the only mode that is safe is CTR mode - which at that point, why not just use a stream or regular block cipher? Also, if you can get one party to encrypt arbitrary texts in a block cipher mode, you can, by definition, get them to decrypt arbitrary texts.

Now A while back, I posted another proof of concept for a 256-bit block cipher with a 128-bit counter and a 128-bit nonce. Each combination of counter/nonce would be used to tweak the cipher, and the counter would be incremented after each block, so that each block would essentially be encrypted with a different "codebook". The proof of concept was about taking the state of the cipher after encrypting half the rounds, and XORing it together with each block for use of a MAC - as long as the cipher is secure, the MAC should be secure. The idea is that it's a low overhead, fully parallelizable way to provide both encryption and authentication. If you combined that concept with a tweakable variant of this design, then you have a secure mode of operation with a minimal code size.

ianfApril 26, 2016 3:07 PM


In the wake of 2nd dropped decrypt-this-iPhone-or-else USG court case fiasco, The Wall Street Journal opines on The Encyption Farse:

    […] “the White House has taken the profile-in-courage stand of refusing to endorse or oppose any encryption bill that Congress may propose. If the Obama team won’t start adjusting to the technological realities of strong and legal encryption, they could at least exercise some adult supervision at Main Justice.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-encryption-farce-1461624399

Clive RobinsonApril 26, 2016 3:35 PM

@ Anura,

If you combined that concept with a tweakable variant of this design, then you have a secure mode of operation with a minimal code size.

Hmm, my gut says there is something to make it uneasy about the idea...

It might just be supper, or it might be something, I shall have to have a think and a sleep on it.

Clive RobinsonApril 26, 2016 3:45 PM

@ Bruce,

I assume this is more amusing to people who know about My Little Pony.

I've been told to tell you... That the "A Word" should be "Adorable" not "Amusing"...

Apparently it's something that "real men" should know having "communened with their inner feminine child" or some such crystal waving new age thing...

AnuraApril 26, 2016 4:25 PM

@Clive Robinson

When it comes to the tweakable mode, I think you can analyze it much the same way you do a regular block cipher, just with additional inputs. I think if you can do the cryptanalysis to show that you can't break the cipher using arbitrarily many chosen IVs/Counters/Plaintexts (or ciphertext, if not using the reciprocal mode) faster than a brute force such that no IV/Counter pair is repeated, then there should be no issues with the construction itself.

My biggest concern is the inherently weakened key schedule from making the key schedule its own inverse, when it isn't always necessary. For many situations, it provides no advantages at all. Take TLS, for example; there is one key for client to server, one for server to client. By computing the inverse key schedule for the server to client encryption, the client doesn't use any more memory or code than they would for the reciprocal key schedule.

For a lot of small implementations, the key schedule isn't computed in full, so you compute each subkey as you get to each round. With a non-reciprocal key schedule, this ends up requiring separate encryption and decryption functions IFF you require both operations (a smart card that only encrypts, not decrypts would not be a problem, for example).

Dan3264April 26, 2016 6:02 PM

@Thoth,
I checked out the website that the URL on your name links to. I got to ASKG. I liked it a lot. The world needs more people who understand security. I will be checking there often :)

AnuraApril 26, 2016 10:50 PM

@Clive Robinson

Proof of concept #2: Tweakable variant of cipher. Note for decryption, you must compute the inverse tweak - this has the advantage (?) of no longer being involutory, making it less likely to break with implementation errors (note if you assume you will never exceed 2^64 blocks with one key/nonce combo, you can compute the inverse once and then it's just two extra decrements and one increment per block).

http://pastebin.com/bWSEyfz1

FigureitoutApril 27, 2016 1:34 AM

Mike Barno
--Switching threads are we? Sounds like he's just exploiting a loophole in the "justice" system. I won't say it's impossible but it's getting pretty hard to reduce speed of reflection based on what I've heard from radar experts. Most of the hacks (if there are some) probably make it obvious what you're doing...

Wael
You're such a
--Oh cry me a river, don't take it wrong way. At those speeds, one little freakout and spinout and your car is rolling and you go flying out the car or you'll wish you had if you had your belt on...won't be pretty.

I know how the real world works too and it's cruel bs. Thankfully there's plenty of distractions.


OT: gaming mcdonalds monopoly
--Had a random thought, why don't people from all over the world share the monopoly pieces, say you'd win a jetski, you each can't have it, so split the sale of it on ebay. Would be good to see how much bs it is as well. Turns out there's a subreddit for that already lol: https://www.reddit.com/r/monopolytrade/ Then of course there'll be scammers ruining it too, so you need some mutual meeting point. You can get a couple pieces without buying if you read the rules and it's best to start hustling as soon as possible to game it as there's pre-set amount of prizes.

tyrApril 27, 2016 3:00 AM


@Wael

Best sky I recall was at Moab,Utah with a full
milky way centred at night. You might also try
Glade Park, Colorado which is at 11,000 above sea
level so not much in the way of seeing. Breathing
might be a problem for lowlanders because you're
getting into altitude sickness country there.

You're not old until you start boring people with
pictures of your great grand children.

@Clive
Do you have a reference off the top of your head
for the telomere connection. I know it is correlated
with replication but correlation is not causation.
Last I heard the link was still being researched.
One other thing that looked interesting was using
nano tech to purge the cells which had stopped their
replication process somewhat like a chemo therapy
session. Once you get a key to that it could do a
lot for an older. I don't mind the age but I could
pass up the weird discomforts without complaining.

Clive RobinsonApril 27, 2016 3:46 AM

@ Figureitout,

At those speeds, one little freakout and spinout and your car is rolling and you go flying...

I don't know if you know or not but research findings have changed.

Back in the fourties and fifties you have a small knock and your car would wrap around you and spill gas every where, and the death rate was consequently very high and your chance of dying rose closely related with speed. Well things have changed a bit and safety features in cars make the risk of dying not related to speed but how the impact energy gets distributed.

Modern designs of tank tend not to spill gas as easily, and one traffic officer I've spoken to has said that they now treat vehicals catching fire and killing people as suspicious untill shown otherwise these days.

But the odd one is risk of death on a motorbike. The way the figures stack up you are actually less likely to die at speeds above forty five MPH than you are below them with the risks rising again only after around one hundred MPH, if you wear the right clothing.

Why the figures are as they are takes more analysis to tease out. And it appears that your chance of dying depends more on not what you hit but who hits you and from which direction.

For instance it you get struck on the driver side door at as little as thirty your odds are realy not very good. Worse if you are a passenger in the back and your door gets the impact. But even if you are sitting on the other side of the car, the human body is not realy designed to take sideways impact, and that standard seatbelt is likely to do you more harm than good as the first point of restraint would be your neck.

The upshot as one car designer I know involved with race cars, put it, "You can ride in comfort and die in pain, or you can ride in discomfort and live to an old age". That is your risk of death and injury is now dictated more by how you are confined during a crash, than the design of the car outside the passenger compartment.

Which is problematical, because there is no such thing as "Mr Average", race drivers tend to have custom seats designed around them. It was a lesson various Air Forces around the world had to learn about fighter pilots and one those who travel in cars should learn, if they want to survive impacts from unexpected directions with only bumps and scratches.

WaelApril 27, 2016 4:49 AM

@tyr,

Best sky I recall...

This one was already on my plans. I'll just make sure I am there at night! Thanks :)

JG4April 27, 2016 7:54 AM


https://blog.foretellix.com/2016/04/23/the-rise-of-mostly-autonomous-systems/

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2016/04/facial-recognition-findface-used-against-russian-porn-actresses/

“As networked computers disappear into our bodies, working their way into hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses, information security has never been more urgent — or personal. A networked body needs its computers to work well,
and fail even better” [EFF].

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/pacemakers-and-piracy-why-dmca-has-no-business-medical-implants

albertApril 27, 2016 11:25 AM

@Clive,
Thanks for your reply re:RNG chips.
.
@Skywatchers,
Check out Chaco Canyon (https://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/nightsky.htm). I was there before they built the observatory (25in Dobsonian and 14in Celestron.).
. .. . .. --- ....

Nick PApril 27, 2016 1:43 PM

@ Clive

It was a great article. I thought about countering the crowd discussing it but was having too much fun with the Singaporeans on another debate. Managed to get an emotional reaction out of one haha.

The quality article reminds me of my experience getting Linux on 3 laptops that all screwed up in different, ridiculous ways. Plus odd behavior of web services. My new, favorite error message is "Write failed: Success."

I'd love to see a comparative analysis of Eiffel apps to these. It's probably been used in web apps. It features many ways of keeping things safe plus interface checks. People using it are slightly more likely to care about code quality. Would be interesting.

MilesApril 27, 2016 5:15 PM

Former Tor developer created malware for the FBI

By Patrick Howell O'Neill - Apr 27, 2016, 4:32pm CT

"How does the U.S. government beat Tor, the anonymity software used by millions of people around the world? By hiring someone with experience on the inside.

A former Tor Project developer created malware for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that allowed agents to unmask users of the anonymity software."

"Matt Edman is a cybersecurity expert who worked as a part-time employee at Tor Project, the nonprofit that builds Tor software and maintains the network, almost a decade ago.

Since then, he's developed potent malware used by law enforcement to unmask Tor users. It's been wielded in multiple investigations by federal law-enforcement and U.S. intelligence agencies in several high-profile cases.

"It has come to our attention that Matt Edman, who worked with the Tor Project until 2009, subsequently was employed by a defense contractor working for the FBI to develop anti-Tor malware," the Tor Project confirmed in a statement after being contacted by the Daily Dot."

Article:
https://www.dailydot.com/politics/government-contractor-tor-malware/

Clive RobinsonApril 27, 2016 6:18 PM

@ Miles,

Former Tor developer created malware for the FBI

Why does this not suprise me in the slightest...

The lack of hard information gives me one problem though, which is trying to decide if it should be classified as "an insider attack" or not.

Presumably at some point someone will take a detailed look at his work and decide if he added vulnerabilities or not, and if he did, did he later exploit them. If he did then it does not bode well for how people view his ethics, or for his future employment (would you trust him enough to employ him, afterall he could be "backdooring" you?..).

Dirk PraetApril 27, 2016 6:39 PM

Does anybody have an idea what happened to Adam Langley's Pond site at https://pond.imperialviolet.org ? The project is still on Github at https://github.com/agl/pond but hasn't been touched in 8 months. Matthew Green at some point called it "probably the most sophisticated anonymous, secure messaging client out there." @thegrugq apparently also used it as a base for his DarkMatter Android stuff in 2014, but no trace of any of that on Github or anywhere else either.

Could this be a dead warrant canary of some sort?

@ Dutch & Belgian readers

It would seem that the popular Dutch online hardware shop ReplaceDirect has suffered a breach and has had its customer database compromised. No CC data has been exposed, but all passwords have been reset and customers are requested to create a new login password asap.

ThothApril 27, 2016 6:50 PM

@Miles
The fact that he switched sides might point to probably his ethical and personality issues or maybe the Feds found something to coerce him into working against Tor Project noting that the Feds are acting no more than legalized crooks wih immense taxpayers hard earned cash fundings and Government backing.

After so many incidents concerning Tor being broken repeatedly by State Actors, it is still surprising to see that people think Tor still is capable of providing safe haven.

Clive RobinsonApril 27, 2016 6:51 PM

@ Nick P,

I don't know if you have seen this one or not but it's a doozy ;-)

http://stackoverflow.com/q/36827659/563941

The solution has rather a lot to do with security as well, rather than bit flipping from radiation, think malware and other "bubbling up" attacks.

Obligitory note : I've designed equipment that crawles into nuclear reactors to take 3D images back in the 1980's. As a work environment it's rather more hostile than space, which I've also designed kit for.

P.S. They have started the wrong way by using C... The solution is to write a very simple interpreter that runs from ROM. You make it self checking and stack based with three parallel stacks in very different places in memory (preferably seperate RAM chips in three different orientations). You make the stacks self checksuming with the actuall memory address of the storage as well as having a suitable ECC and voting. There are a few other things you need to do as well but just what I've said will give most code cutters a bad headache ;-)

tyrApril 27, 2016 7:24 PM


Anybody have the details on Schindler having to
bail out early from BND. The media paints it as
"too cozy with NSA" and "too snotty about our
wonderful Saudi friends". I suspect more to the
story given the usual BND convolutions.

Dirk PraetApril 27, 2016 7:54 PM

@ tyr

Anybody have the details on Schindler having to bail out early from BND.

There's a lot of speculation in German media, but it would seem that Merkel herself has insisted on his dismissal. Reason is probably not that he got too cosy with the NSA and friends jointly spying on world+dog, but that no one in either government or parliament was aware or had been informed of how far they had actually gone. At which point heads must roll. But I bet our good friend Rolf has a far better explanation.

FigureitoutApril 28, 2016 1:45 AM

Clive Robinson
I don't know if you know or not but research findings have changed.
--I know about "crumple zones", that's the big difference. Airbags too (I just got them changed via recall b/c they could eject schrapnel...uhhh design flaw...I didn't need another thing to be paranoid about lol). This gif shows it best: http://i.imgur.com/7fYQaOc.gif

Not sure how much improvement with rolling though, you'd need to be strapped down w/ a roll cage, no one does that...

I lucked out one time when I blew a couple tires out, lost control of the vehicle and did a 180° spin out going pretty fast. I got my fix of "action movie stunts" that night lol.

RE: tor dev creating malware
--Certainly this is already in the threat model w/ any contributors in the project, the best you can do is check code w/ trusted core people (if the core rots it'll be known in due time) and make it uncomfortable to try this (well you could get into intel gathering/background checks and the like, but probably best to focus on the code), even though backdoors can be so subtle...Good job finding another untrustworthy person to shun from all open source security projects.

RE: programming for radioactive environments
--Doesn't give this code cutter a headache, those are reserved for your bad explanations of your implementations (kidding...sort of... :p). Why not a circular buffer here? If a circular buffer gets corrupted a stack would too? B/c there'll be sufficient access control to prevent most other EMSEC attacks? The hardware design/shielding would be more important than software I think. And top comment lists recovery purpose, so remote reprogramming...what if noise somehow mimics reprogramming procedure and reprograms garbage...guess it's worth it if you have a meltdown and can't safely get in a room etc. Most interesting part to me was filtering in your ADC reading...haven't heard of that but it makes sense.

Good comments on a hard problem.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 5:41 AM

@ Figureitout,

Why not a circular buffer here? If a circular buffer gets corrupted a stack would too?

As far as coruption is concerned, all memory bits are as likely to be corrupted. However the glib answer is, circular buffers have two pointers which means twice the chance of pointer corruption than a stack with only one.

Which hides the point that stacks actually have three pointers, stack bottom, stack max and current stack top, and circular buffers four. The difference is that in both cases two of the pointers the start and end position in memory can be hard coded into ROM etc.

However it's the way the two behave in terms of implementing error detection and correction that makes the real difference.

In hostile environments you need to not just ED&C on a memory location basis --which works much the same for both-- but also on the entire memory range as well. It turns out this is much easier to do on stacks and is only reliant on the hard coded menory start and end pointers and one additional independent read pointer, and importantly the bulk of the checking can be asynchronous to the working pointer, thus can be carried out by an ibdependent process running on a different CPU or hypervisor built in hardware.

A simple example of checking would be two dimensional parity checking. You can do a fast vertical 16 or more memory word block just by incrementing a pointer and XORing the word at that address into a register. Then only if that fails[1] do you need to do the slow parrity checking on individual words. This is easy if the blocks are effectivly static as they would be in a large stack where the only changes are at the stack top. This would not be true of a circular buffer where blocks get overwritten more often, and their position change each time the pointers wrap around.

There is also a more interesting aspect... Memory gets effected in several ways, firstly on the static side by random probability, and by adjacency to a bit that has flipped (clustering). Secondly the more subtle dynamic effects, where the various logic gates set to read or write a bit make bit flipping in the rows and columns more likely (reminiscent of rowhammer as I've mentioned before ;-)

The upshot is in a stack you need only check blocks closer to the head of the stack or in binary relationship to the head of stack address on a frequent basis, older blocks are best left alone, and checked only occasionaly.

There have actually been specialised books and research papers written about implementing ED&C in comms and storage, but I'm not realy aware of those in English (I have a list of Polish ones somewhere as the PhD who did the thoretical side got her quals in Poland where in the 80's the cutting edge practical research in EC&D in mainframe memory was being done, as I neither read or speak Polish I've not got copies nor can I tell you which is most appropriate).

[1] This is a simple example which assumes only one bit flip in a block. However the principle still works on more complicated error checking.

Dirk PraetApril 28, 2016 6:54 AM

Re. Pond

After some digging, it would appear that Adam Langley for unknown reasons has pulled the plug on Pond and that @thegrugq is considering taking over maintenance himself. If anyone is interested in contributing, you can contact him on Twitter.

It would really be a shame to see such a fine project go to waste.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 7:51 AM

@ Dirk Praet,

This might be of interest to you,

http://uk.businessinsider.com/saleh-abdeslams-lawyer-calls-him-stupid-2016-4

To quote,

    Saleh Abdeslam... is a "little moron from Molenbeek, more a follower than a leader."

According to Saleh's lawyer, Sven Mary. Other comments are even less complementry.

Whether it is a pre-trial ploy or not is difficult to decide.

What ever the reason, Saleh hardly sounds capable of tying his shoe laces unaided, let alone use "sophisticated covert communications" that some drum banging politicos have previously claimed (no real suprise there ;-).

j doeApril 28, 2016 11:05 AM

FBI Explains Why It Won't Disclose How It Unlocked iPhone
http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/04/27/475925946/fbi-explains-why-it-wont-disclose-how-it-unlocked-iphone

The FBI has officially decided it can't tell Apple how the agency hacked into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.


The FBI paid undisclosed professional hackers more than $1 million to get inside the locked and encrypted iPhone 5C through a previously unknown flaw in the software.
...
FBI science and technology chief Amy Hess said in a statement on Wednesday that the agency has determined it won't be able to submit the third-party iPhone hack to the review, called the Vulnerabilities Equities Process:
...
"The FBI purchased the method from an outside party so that we could unlock the San Bernardino device. We did not, however, purchase the rights to technical details about how the method functions, or the nature and extent of any vulnerability upon which the method may rely in order to operate..."

albertApril 28, 2016 11:49 AM

@j doe,

Our tax dollars at work, eh?

What's really amusing is:

"...intellectual property lawyers will in the future fight over whether hackers can own the rights to a vulnerability...."

Alices Wonderland seems banal and pedestrian compared to this.

Beam me up, Scotty...

. .. . .. --- ....

Rick TaggardApril 28, 2016 1:31 PM


@Nick P, Figureitout

why high security list does not take off

A high value target who understands they are high value, generally will try and be as paranoid as possible in their setup. If they are also very smart and accustomed to planning.

I have literally been in a situation where I did not feel comfortable hacking a foreign source, because I felt it would make that source aware of potential surveillance danger.

The best way to handle that sort is manual intervention. Bug their home with video and audio. After casing it substantially also with video. Literally, a break in and replacement job. Or break in and planting job.

With some targets, gaslighting, aka, getting them to see wolves many times that are not there, and realizing that, may be necessary. To drum down their paranoia. Obviously, that can backfire to make them even more paranoid for awhile, if it is not continued to show them they had nothing to be paranoid about.


@Thoth

Clapper and the IC/Surveillance gang feels that Snowden leaks are responsible for the massive growth and advancement in Crypto and Personal Security and to them this is a nasty and bad thing they are trying to deal with. It seems the usual case of Governments think they are the bosses and can boss around with the citizenry are not happy when the people who elected them (the people) are becoming better at protecting themselves.

Clapper's experience set is clearly extremely poor for his job.

He went from AF to working at top levels of management for intelligence. He had no practical street experience. He was never 'on the ground'.

I think you said it well. Weakening security for everyone is the dumbest way of going about meeting the challenges.

There are exceptions to that rule. None of them involve trumpet blasting your intentions.


On cyber command having implemented "implants", and observed ISIS leadership well enough to start running "psy ops"? I am skeptical. While military intelligence tends to be very good at technical surveillance, and battleground psy ops? This is all very different and requires the finesse only found in mature human int organizations.

The bluff would have some value, however. If that is what it is. That kind of group is extremely vulnerable to paranoia. So, if this is just a bluff, it will probably plant very powerful, dark seeds in the heads of their leadership.

@Clive Robinson, Miles

Presumably at some point someone will take a detailed look at his work and decide if he added vulnerabilities or not, and if he did, did he later exploit them. If he did then it does not bode well for how people view his ethics, or for his future employment (would you trust him enough to employ him, afterall he could be "backdooring" you?..)

Unfortunately, probably there will be very poor inspection of the code. The reality is people who do this sort of thing professionally do it for the pay check. They do not usually want to go home at night and do it also on their free time.

Foreign/Non-US counterintelligence, if they are wise, would have long ago gone over it. If not then, certainly now. (Less wise.) But, even if they find anything, they won't report it. They will just use it.

Tor was heavily created by the US Gov, and if there were secret backdoors, the FBI just shat all over it.

@Donald W

Tor was created by US intelligence. The wiki also points this out.

They can use it for plausible deniability/cover, in attacks. But, a major aim, is to enable potential agent recruits from dissident quarters in adversarial nations.

This manner of system can also help breed dissident groups, in general. In totalitarian nations.

Speech there on many subjects is banned, and that, like detecting potential agents is a top objective for such totalitarian nations.

@j doe

The FBI paid way too much, and need to get serious and get together their own hacking team. They should not be relying on expensive consultancies.

It is the same sort of problem with traditional military having to create non-traditional teams like sas,sbs,delta force. Or like with countries having to create good intelligence teams who can plan and operate undercover.

So, the FBI is just not doing their job well.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 3:28 PM

@ Bruce,

Not sure if you still have students to challenge with the Fermi Paradox, but... It appears that no evidence stacks up for Type III (galactic engineering scale) civilizations.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.07844

@ For those who want to know more about the Kardashev scale,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

On the Carl Sagan variation of the Power Kardashev Scale we are not yet a Type I being a little under 0.8 on what is a log scale, so we have a ways to go yet. It would almost certainly involve space based collection, but the real technical problem in not the collection but transmission of energy over the required distances.

The reality is that it would probably be easier to utilise energy at the point of collection and move industry into space, which is why NASA amongst others is keen on developing the "Space Elevator" concept. Especially when the consideration that the ultimate form of polution is heat is taken into account. Thus radiating the heat from inefficient engineering / manufacturing processes would also be easier in space than from earth back into space.

Nick PApril 28, 2016 6:40 PM

@ Clive Robinson

re radiation-hardened software

It was an interesting thread on both SO and HN. The common theme is you really need redundant hardware lock-stepping for that sort of thing. Get's to the point that the software is probably way too complex trying to avoid SEU's and will likely fail. Yet, your post did make me wonder why two of you said to run from ROM instead of RAM. Is it inherently rad-hard or less affected by SEU's?

The other tricks you mention remind me of this Wikipedia article I keep handy for the topic. Good summary of problem areas.

@ Dirk Praet

I recall Thomas Ptacek, usually critical of crypto apps, praising it as doing about everything right. Many were pulling for it. Strange that he's putting a stop to it. Stranger that thegrugq is offering to maintain it. That's a double-edged sword given he's a (a) a 0-day broker and (b) kind of guy that needs high privacy.

@ Rick Taggard

"Tor was created by US intelligence. The wiki also points this out. They can use it for plausible deniability/cover, in attacks. But, a major aim, is to enable potential agent recruits from dissident quarters in adversarial nations."

It's good to see a random person here say that. Usually just me countering the meme that "U.S. government was involved, so it must be a backdoored tool of vast conspiracies." Nah, many different groups in government with different intentions. Far as Tor, it was funded by Navy and later on even group behind Voice of America propaganda team. Why would the Navy and CIA fund something that can help leakers and whistleblowers? Because it can help leakers and whistleblowers. Theirs. :)

That simple. It's an offensive tool that can be used for high-value operations to them that's blowback is pretty low value. Realistically, their secrets leaking or hacking via the Tor network is a problem whose solution has nothing to do with Tor. They know that. FBI and NSA rally against it in public for propaganda reasons. Also develop attacks under NOBUS doctrine. Yet, that DOD/CIA funds it doesn't imply it's deliberately weakened. Not at all.

However, given subversion risk & high profile, it's definitely something that should be designed, built, and evaluated using high-assurance, security principles. It's not. The theory is also in infancy. So, plenty of attack approaches.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 7:15 PM

@ ALL

If the facts presented in this article are correct, then the US is not the place to be.

A police sargent has been jailed effectivly indefinitely under the "All Warents Assist".

The sargent has not been charged with a crime nor has he any previous charges.

The Magistrate accepted something that was effectivly false testimony by a forensic investigator that "his best guess" was that an encrypted drive contained child pornography (something he can not know if the files are encrypted, and guessing is not knowing and is thus not even hearsay let alone qualified opinion).

The authorities have decrypted another drive, but have found nothing incriminating.

Thus the only other supposed "evidence" is the man's sister who has claimed she went over to his house and watched child abuse images with him (which is a very odd thing for her to say as it would appear she made no attempt to contact the authorities over it at the time... Which begs the question was she compelled to say it by the authorities?).

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2016/04/child-porn-suspect-jailed-for-7-months-for-refusing-to-decrypt-hard-drives/

The EFF has submitted an opinion to the court that "compelled decryption" is testimony, and thus in breach of the fifth.

It's now over due that the likes of congress should be reviewing the use of the ancient "All Writs" legislation.

Dirk PraetApril 28, 2016 7:20 PM

@ Clive

Saleh Abdeslam... is a "little moron from Molenbeek, more a follower than a leader."

His lawyer Sven Mary, who is quite well known over here, also said he had the intelligence of an empty ashtray and only knew the Qur'an from a summary he had found on the internet. I don't even think it's a pre-trial ploy but the actual truth. With the exception of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, most of the Paris-Brussels attackers fit the typical profile of good-for-nothing douchebag losers aspiring to be Hollywood gangstas but who would have failed life - and even petty crime - in any society. The only difference being that in the countries their fathers came from they would have been incarcerated a long time ago instead of being allowed to develop impressive rap sheets before eventually being recruited by Da'esh.

@ Nick P

Stranger that thegrugq is offering to maintain it.

Not really. He was using it himself in his DarkMatter project, some kind of alternative Android ROM, if I remember correctly. But which seemed aborted too, and he didn't answer my questions about that matter.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 7:55 PM

@ Nick P,

Yet, your post did make me wonder why two of you said to run from ROM instead of RAM.

First things first, the design of ROM (not FLASH EEROM EPROM etc) is quite different to that of RAM. As a rough rule of thumb you can consider SRAM to use either the equivalent of a latch, or capacitor on the gate of a FET as a "stotage element" that can have it's state changed by design or a high energy particle. In the case of "fuseable link" or "mask programed" ROM there is no storage element or sense amplifier that can have it's state changed.

That is not to say that ionizing particles can not damage a ROM but you are talking a very significantly larger energy required that is actually blowing holes in the semiconductors.

Further I actually said run an interpreter that is stack based using three stacks. Effectivly you use the stacks as a voting protocol to replace just one stack. The interpreter I ran actually had nine stacks aranged as voting tripples, one tripple for data another triple as a pointer stack and the last tripple could be used as a program stack if required (think modified Forth Interpreter). Aside from the interpreter, there was code run via an interupt, that did actually checksum the ROM code, as well as brown out detection and other sanity checks.

Some of it was overkill but when they wheel it into a vacuum chamber and start firing radiation at it you want the best chance it will pass the --very expensive-- tests. Think of it as EMC susceptibility testing on steroids.

It was actually talking about this to someone about what they could do for their degree project a decade or so later that gave me one of those "gut reactions". It kind of said to me it was the way to go on security... Which in turn kicked off the thinking that led to the basis of the Prison idea some time later.

And they say "Good ideas never happen in a vacuum" ;-)

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 8:42 PM

@ Nick P,

Just had a quick read through the link you gave.

Most of it is what I have a habit of doing, there are a few other tricks as well.

However the bit about external oscilators was at best wooly, and Im guessing not written by a person who has actually "done the nasty" in terms of design.

As a rough rule of thumb there are two types of Xtal you will come across HF and above "AT Cut" and LF and below "watch crystals" usually at 32KHz that run the "real time clock" these are an entirely different cut and are VERY fragile.

The trick is to use the on chip inverter as an RC oscilator at 32KHz and shunt the resistor with the watch crystal in series resonance mode. You need to pick the resistor(s) with care to ensure that the voltage swing and drive power etc stays well within manufactures specs, and the capacitors provide the correct loading for the crystal with the chip capacitence accounted for. This often means you end up with something like a 2.2 Meg Ohm resistor divided into two values in series and the crystal shunts the resistor going into the inverter input, with that capacitor being used for frequency trimming.

When the oscilator starts up, it will not see the crystal so it starts oscilating at the RC frequency, this will get close enough that the crystal will go into the low impedence series mode oscilation and thus take over. this usually works fine, however if you are "Doing a Marvin" you can make a bridge circuit and look for the change in voltage level as the crystal oscillates.

There is an old electronic design engineer saying about the problems you used to encounter, which is "Oscillators don't and amplifiers do..." (oscillate :-(

If you can find a copy back in 1973 Motorola had the blue "MaCMOS" data book, it had a whole load of information about the care and feeding of CMOS gates, including how to get inverter gates to "act as amplifiers" you could then use to make your RC oscillator and crystal oscilator.

Clive RobinsonApril 28, 2016 9:12 PM

@ Rick Taggard, Nick P,

With regard TOR and the likes of the COA and NOBUS.

As I've pointed out on the odd occasion whilst TOR is "data secure" it has design failings that under certain conditions make it susceptable to Traffic Analysis and all sorts of end point insecurities.

The thing about the Traffic Analysis is it's an "all roads lead to Rome" issue. Because the US is the Internets "Rome" they can carry out certain types of Traffic Analysis that other nations can not.

Further when it comes to "end point" attacks, it's not to difficult to do this if you have control of the server. For the likes of the CIA etc because they control the network around their servers and well away from Foreign Nations it's a situation that does not realy arise, and protecting the client end is something that they have the manpower for.

The big issue I have with TOR is it's long out of date, it was designed for "covert, low traffic" use back in the 90's prior to national / major network firewalls.

Those days are long gone, and the "covert" design is anything but these days, especially with the demand for high bandwidth low latency. It makes correlation between entry and exit nodes easy for the likes of the CIA because they can "see" most traffic between the TOR nodes as well as entry and exit nodes.

In the past I've suggested changes to make, to the way TOR works, such as not having entry or exit nodes, fixed rate signalling, traffic stuffing etc and the reasons why they should be done. The fact we are still talking about it years later should give a hint as to which hand rocks that particular cradle, and why...

FigureitoutApril 29, 2016 12:56 AM

Clive Robinson
--Ok, makes sense. Initially, for my nRF thing, I was going to forgo the CRC for stealth purposes, but came around to keeping it b/c risks of other errors seem way more likely...The multidimensional parity checking was pretty interesting.

There's some pretty elaborate dynamic algorithms one could conjure up too, taking the term "over-engineered" way way too far; but hey maybe it still sucks (the never-ending thought in your head). Something probably trivial I worry about is, say in your stack, you always push/pull or pop usually no more than 10X 8-bit or so, depends on your program, those 10 8-bit blocks are going to get very heavy use very quickly, if you have an interrupt going, every few ms they're getting read/written to. I'd want to push "the head" of the stack back ~10 by 8-bits after a few million read/write cycles and eventually come back. I'm not aware if this is done automatically for you, but it'd be nice.

I just think EC/D is more a hardware domain, software needs a safe sandbox to work w/; screw some of these pointers and it's going to get ugly (just 'lockups' probably).

Rick Taggard
A high value target who understands they are high value, generally will try and be as paranoid as possible in their setup.
--Are you John Madden? lol, yes this is mostly true...if you know you're being watched, you wait. And um, manual intervention should be a last resort, you're putting people at great risk, leaving tangible evidence, not digital whispers. Break-ins leave evidence (worn locks that suddenly get a little iffy from all the picking, ummm....). And for a security conscious person, you can bug the home all you want (if s/he mostly sits on computer, you're listening to keypresses and watching a person on a computer...), you probably still won't get the data you seek. You need a bug on the person of interest, so we're talking injections unless you tag all the individuals clothes and they survive washes. Still not good enough though, what does an injected tracking tell you about what your target is writing in a bathroom at a burger king? Probably nothing, and how can that bug decode the OTP made in a burger king bathroom? It can't and it won't. At a certain point it becomes a waste of time and money, either charge the individual w/ what you probably can't prove, or move on; wasting taxpayer dollars and letting other threats operate w/ no paranoia. Get the carders, they're probably running circles around you guys.

Rick TaggardApril 29, 2016 1:35 AM

@Nick P


That does make sense, about the FBI and NSA rallying in public against it for propaganda reasons.

What do you think those reasons are?


You don't think there might be a turf war of some sort going on?


@Clive Robinson

It does seem like all those distributed proxying systems of the last fifteen years was "so nineties". Because it is what hackers used to do in the 90s. They chained compromised systems together and used them all as proxies. Ala, Cuckoo's Egg.

I am not sure how much the Navy had to do with it. There were a number of systems which acted as distributed proxies. There were distributed file sharing systems, which those were partially born from. Nevermind that distributed file sharing systems are capable of communications covertly.

I am not sure when the Navy's work was declassified.


It is, of course, remotely possible that "the government" used very, very covert programs to create the popular early distributed file sharing and proxying networks. But, "the government" doing anything "cool", lol, I think is a most dubious possibility. :-)


I do have a lot of respect for the Navy, due to friends. And, of course, their amazing history (in this field).

But, I am not sure when they declassified their works.


I thought it was well after the 00s distributed proxy systems were done with.


Whatever the case, I agree with both you and Nick, that it is high time better systems were presented. I believe the next great system would do well to have the capacity to shift about protocols and frequencies. The capacity to shortwave repeat while hiding the signal is easy knowledge. In the US there is a ban against encrypted communications, but clearly encryptions not in the modulation is okay. There is increasingly more precent set here as the years go by.

Most of the new protocols are long wave, and can not travel far. But, they set a precedent. Anyway, encryption is easy to hide, as is shortwave.


But, I am talking outta my arse, I must admit here. As I do not work in these areas, I can not say I really understand the ins and outs.


_______________________________________________
"I am the W(L)izard King, I can do anything. .. Mr Mojo Risin ... calling on the dogs... calling on the gods" -- the late and great, Mick Jagger

I Am the Wizard King, I can do ANYTHING...April 29, 2016 2:22 AM

@Figureitout

Get the carders, they're probably running circles around you guys.

Ah. So I am one of the bad guys. :-)

An instinct I appreciate.


Unfortunately, I work for my own interests. And have my own family and network of friends.


When I have ever worked with the USG, it has been via my own family and network of friends.

As completely impeccable they may be.


Further, the aforementioned foreign "source" also was part of my family and friends network. :-)


So, imagine. An intense operation. Producing incredible information. And the case officer working it is fake. And the agent is fake. And the access agent is fake.

In fact, they all working together like a terrible grifter program of the best of long cons.


How to hack someone who is a very important target. You watch their doorways from a distance for a good time. You watch them in the movement of their cars. Using unjammable gps detection.

You research their background.

You have folks become best friends with their best friends of old.

And get all the good secrets.


Plenty of drugs help here. And a wallet, in general.


Is it ESP or simply understanding how people work. Whatever the case a little rapport goes a long way.


As I do not believe you to be the slightest bit paranoid, I say this. If you were really paranoid you would see everyone in your trust as likely enemies.


The reality, I do believe, is that human governments have a lot of bluster. But, they are primitive cultures.

--------------------------------
there will never be a supernatural apocalypse

Clive RobinsonApril 29, 2016 5:41 AM

@ Figureitout,

There's some pretty elaborate dynamic algorithms...

There are many such, but many are but angels dancing on a house of cards. You need to look at them with the assumption that they are well above the CPU microcode level in the computing stack. And it does not take long to find out that Intel and others can change the Microcode to RTL interpreter on your CPU at will... And in Intel's case make it a requirment that you do so at boot time... Hence I don't design using any Intel products these days and don't advise any one to do so either. That is an across the board ban, even where they have spun business units off.

The important point is that, you have to look at "pretty elaborate dynamic algorithms" with a great deal of skepticism and ask "how do I protect against bubbling up attacks?". Most algorithms it's way to difficult if not impossible to do in software alone. Some however you can see how to augment them such that you can get the security down to just the likes of the Instruction Pointer register for single point of change attacks, others to even multiple change points of attack.

With out going into messy details you use tree based state machines that lack feedback or feedforward paths, voting protocols and various types of efficient check sums.

So simplisticaly you have the "hidden IP" that walks through your state machine code. Each time you update the state and it's variables, you immediately checksum the whole state in a way it can be easily be verified. As you call subs you pass the state checksum, the state and the data that caused the sub to be called into the sub so it can check if it is being called validly and entered correctly. In this way you can to a certain extent tie down most things including the instruction pointer.

If you also write the state machine so it "fails safe" when an error does occure you can restart the state machine from a safe point.

It does make for one heck of a lot more code, and very carefull thought and design to check you always have the bases covered in a verifiable way but... You can in effect build a simple interpreter that runs on what is a virtual "paranoid CPU" with very limited instruction set, that is also self verifying.

You will not catch everything with just the virtual paranoid CPU but you can implement basic hypervisor type activities in the interupt system of the real CPU as well as have external state checking hardware.

The interesting thing is though that when you have taken the time and effort to do it the first time, you almost always want to carry it forward into other projects, kind of like a "comfort blanket" ;-)

When I did it for my first 16bit micro (68K) in assembler, I implemented a striped down version of Forth (yes I know you hate it) and later "Small C" which was a reduced K&R compiler back then.

Have a look at that link Nick P gave, you will find it and some of the places it points to of thought provoking interest.

Clive RobinsonApril 29, 2016 6:15 AM

@ Figureitout, Nick P, Wael,

It's Friday and you guys sound like you need something "To Chilli" to ;-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5_YaGCfFTE

In a little while I shall be making some "premium curry sauce" for UK style Fish-n-Chip Shop chips, and getting stuff ready for home made chilli cheese popcorn, tortillas and home made "melt the pot" ghost salsa and a boxed set of SiFi to kick this May Day Bankholiday weekend off to a flying start ;-)

If the snow holds off I might sacrifice a few "not burnt offering" chickens to the God of "mesquite and gold tequila".

FigureitoutApril 29, 2016 7:13 AM

Rick Taggard
--Oh man lol, dunning kruger mate. Thanks again John Madden. Please tell me something useful, if you can; not basic investigative techniques. I prefer technical only these days please. Then we'd have something to talk about. Cheers.

Clive Robinson
--What the heck RE: the chilling song? What'd you put in your tea this morning? :p

I'd design my own CPU if I could, til then I'm stuck just programming them. I can definitely see the "comfort blanket" aspect, not wanting to go thru that hardwork again and again. :p

Clive RobinsonApril 29, 2016 7:34 AM

Is Sci-Hub going to break the Cartel?

Back in Q4 last year there was a court case brought by one of the more exploitative accademic publishers Elsevier against Sci-Hub.

The result was a take down against the domain names Sci-Hub used. However it was fairly quickly back up via alternative outlets,

https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-and-libgen-resurface-after-being-shut-down-151121/

However that court action has caused a bit of a backlash and thus favourable reporting on Sci-Hub[1] has followed.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/whos-downloading-pirated-papers-everyone

This is getting to the point where people are openly asking if Sci-Hub will break the cartel on academic publishing, much like streaming of music did to the music industry cartel.

Will we see the death of exorbitantly over priced highly explotarive journals?

I suspect there are many hoping so. One thing I don't doubt is that both Amazon and Google will try to muscle in on this market should the oportunity arise because they already have the infrastructure in place.

I would be curious to know what others think?

[1] This favourable reporting is hardly surprising, nearly all academic publishers have been or currently still are as exploitative as Elsevier are. The academic community and the supporting library community regard these publishers as parasites operating a cartel for good reason and have kicked back against them in various ways. The likes of Elsevier seniors talk about theft of their IP, whilst ignoring the fact they not just steal that IP but profit outrageously from the scientific community which thay parasitize. Much of the profit they plundere both ways comrs from the taxes you and I pay to support research. Thus the cartel journals fall in the eyes of many people in the scientific community as being "the worst form of rent seekers" actively harming society.

Clive RobinsonApril 29, 2016 8:49 AM

Is this where US&UK Crypto Laws are taking us?

The EFF have investigated Arab Nation "Speech Crime" where laws are only used to chase down those providing on line comment the authoritarian leaders dislike.

As the EFF this is a case of identify the writter then having decided on the punishment, apply a law to achive the punishment. Thus "rule by law, not rule of law",

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/crime-speech

It takes only a moments thought to realise that proposed US and UK crypto law that mandates access to any and all communications without warrant or legitimate judicial oversight is a first necessary step towards, such Speech Crime...

Rick TaggardApril 29, 2016 7:36 PM

@Figureitout

Rick Taggard--Oh man lol, dunning kruger mate. Thanks again John Madden. Please tell me something useful, if you can; not basic investigative techniques. I prefer technical only these days please. Then we'd have something to talk about. Cheers.
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is.

Quite frankly, I was a bit drunk and a good bit stoned.

It had seemed like you were thinking I was an "investigator" or worked for "the US Government", so I, in silliness, played off that. To remind you that I most certainly do not.

However, I most certainly am a security researcher and can find security vulnerabilities in anything I set myself to. Difference being, I don't use those powers to hack people.

I also do not investigate people.

I have performed other work, as well, including devising security systems.


If you want technical details in how to find such security bugs, that is simply an enormous subject. It is far from an easy field to master.

Most of my outside influences have been from working on teams with top bug finders over the years, and picking up their proprietary methods.

You do not extensively read and write code, you have to solely rely on tools. The best in class are the code review tools. That is a decent shortcut for getting started, if you are willing to learn the ins and outs of the findings. And spend the time to replicate the findings live.

Often you will need to be able to create your own testing system on the fly, to specifically target a suspicious ingress point on the application.

Very often, you want to study all the ins and outs of the design of the system, and look for areas of code which are very complicated and also not used much. These tend to be soft spots which are poorly qa'd. A good "for instance", are elaborate functionality increases which never took off with the public, but remain in place.

You also need to keep your target in place, and as you walk through the application keep your goal firmly in mind. So, for instance, you need a remote vulnerability with no permissions. Don't waste time looking for a local vulnerability, or a remote one which requires permissions.


The terms white box, black box, and grey box are all applicable here. A near truism is everyone goes for grey boxing, if possible. And at very worst, they simply do a combination of white and black boxing.

Where grey boxing is white and black box testing at the same time.

Which is the future of vulnerability finding tools.

Greyboxing there involves injecting into the running code, while also tying the analysis to automated code review.

This vastly speeds up the bug finding process.


If you are attempting to design unbreakable systems in an unbreakable ecology, you certainly do need to either learn those skills for testing your own self. Or, hire someone. Though, hiring that level of consultant is very cost prohibitive for individuals.


A key reason few of us hack, is also a key reason few will audit open source systems for free. We work our asses off, and the last thing which is healthy to do is to come home and do more work in the very same area.


But. Believe it or not. I can tell this to strangers on the street, they believe me. But, you say this on an anonymous comp sec forum, and it is like an gigantic, impossible to believe boast.


I meet peers never known before at conferences, and happily give them specifics and share details they can quickly confirm. But, very unwilling to do this on a naked forum, especially one where I may be critical or sillier then I want to be mistaken as.


Rick TaggardApril 29, 2016 7:54 PM

@Figureitout

Also, I am not flaming you, nor the intentions of the project.

I think it is a good and interesting project.

I do believe identity security, at the core, does mean to live very compartmentalized. You have to be okay with no one knowing who you are.

You assume 24/7 compromise, wherever you are, and never assume not compromise.

Hacking stuff up, you have a different assumption in mind. Strong belief. That you can and will break it according to your desires.


I have certainly seen human int work up close, and I do not believe that is "basic investigative" actions. The issue is that in the real world, no people do not have the time nor the resources but for the very most important targets.

It is extremely resource intensive to be able to have a team get close to people on the periphery, and to prove someone's past, and find those people.

They do not even do this properly on investigative analysis for background checks for clearance.


It is extremely rare one would find one's self so targeted. Especially if you are not head of a company or governmental powers.


Nick PApril 29, 2016 8:24 PM

@ Clive Robinson

re book

Interesting. I found it along with one free chapter here.

re Tor

"The thing about the Traffic Analysis is it's an "all roads lead to Rome" issue. Because the US is the Internets "Rome" they can carry out certain types of Traffic Analysis that other nations can not."

Exactly. That's the NOBUS part. They want it to protect their side of things while showing others. They and their allies see enough to see the others. They figure China, Russia, Middle East, and so on might not.

"The fact we are still talking about it years later should give a hint as to which hand rocks that particular cradle, and why..."

Nah. I don't think that's the case. High-security principles are pervasively ignored, esp in OSS projects. They focus a lot on efficiency and speed to get more people onboard knowing it poses risks. Still stops a lot of threats just not all of them. So, aversion to high-assurance techniques plus goal of wide adoption means we should expect the kind of bullshit we've seen them do. Whereas Freenode and I2P had a bit more sane choices in some areas specifically to improve security. I mean, I'm sure a Tor level of peer review would shred them, too, but such constraints have better long-term odds with equivalent implementation effort.

@ Rick Taggard

It's straight forward: we're a Dual State. Someone here posted that a while back. All kinds of things clicked into place for me as it's about what I"ve been claiming the whole time but less clearly. The idea is that two governments of sorts, one public and one secret, run side-by-side. The public one has the laws, media proclamations, regular police, courts, and so on. More accountability, too. The secret one is unelected, largely-unaccountable people that can do whatever they want to people. Nazi Germany was like this but didn't try to hide it & was extreme in general. The American model is very refined with a secret state that allegedly is run by a subset of the public one (Committees/President/FISC), only focuses on worst threats, and doesn't abuse its power. That's what people think. Media cooperation exists but is voluntary and more subtle here.

So, you essentially have a long-term goal of a police state with a fait accompli strategy of executing it. That is, piece by piece & justification by justification, more surveillance or police authority moves into public part's hands. Some of the people in these unelected positions, like Cheney or Poindexter, have been at this stuff for decades. Each new law or executive order builds on prior ones without much talk or criticism from media. It's easier than ever given Patriot Act and a State of Emergency that is re-issued every year. Congress also ignores all abuses for whatever reason. Such speculation aside, there's clearly a government and quasi-government in operation each doing their own thing looking out for one another.

So, all that said, the public government needs excuses to do things like the secret one does. It needs the public to agree to expand its power. Reversals rarely happen. So, secret one already can crush iPhone security for sure. Yet, public one wants the general public to agree for need to make that legal for FBI and make it convenient with precedent for L.E. mechanism. Hence, the public battle. Rinse repeat for many other things. Less they rely on secret stuff, the less their opponents in public or crime notice it. The more effective it becomes. Scary shit.

Rick TaggardApril 29, 2016 9:35 PM

@Nick P

"Dual State"

I have seen posters post on this subject. It is probably different when you have first hand evidence, versus being very far away from what is done in secret.

Which I mention, because I would haphazardly guess, if you have worked in computer security for a few decades, you have probably brush passed quite a few in the invisible world. From those who can say nothing, but you know where they have worked. To those who have been 'inside the honeycomb', and will never get out.

I had a coworker who pointed out the later, regarding Charlie Miller. We were drinking at the same hotel, and could not fail to notice the ring of surveillance around him.

So, all that said, the public government needs excuses to do things like the secret one does. It needs the public to agree to expand its power. Reversals rarely happen. So, secret one already can crush iPhone security for sure. Yet, public one wants the general public to agree for need to make that legal for FBI and make it convenient with precedent for L.E. mechanism. Hence, the public battle. Rinse repeat for many other things. Less they rely on secret stuff, the less their opponents in public or crime notice it. The more effective it becomes. Scary shit.

I would agree. I see all of the hand waving and shouting, and can not help but be struck by the idea that everything really, really bad is already going on.

All of this makes it look like it is not.

It provides, incidentally, powerful cover.


Whether they win, whether they lose, it does not matter. They are saying they can not do it. But, someone already is doing it.

I read this book recently, on the Shakespeare operation performed by the DHS. "Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting".

In it, they have some interesting comments by one of the main undercover folks. He pointed out that what they are doing when they run these operations is severely f with people's sense of reality. They rape it. They have memory problems and hallucinate. Everyone that likes them and they become friends with, they ruin. And everyone else usually does not like them.

Related, but very different for groups that have foregone their pasts, and recreated them. For groups who act as support or general operations. Who are always undercover. Who is being scammed? Everyone. Especially the "public state".

Invisibility is a powerful advantage.

Clive RobinsonApril 30, 2016 9:18 AM

@ Nick P,

The idea is that two governments of sorts, one public and one secret, run side-by-side.

Did you ever see the 1975 film with Robert Redford and Max von Sydow called "Three days of the Condor"?

Where Robert Redford sneeks out the back door of the office to get coffee and danishes, and comes back to find his colleagues were no more. And winds up having a chat with Max over the dead body of the CIA within a CIA boss, who suggests that life as a hit man is better than being forever chased by them. In the end there is the sceen where the car draws up on him and hes invited to get in, and he tells the guy no and that he's take the story down the street to a well known newspaper...

Nick PApril 30, 2016 11:30 AM

@ Clive Robinson

I did watch it. Great movie with more accuracy than most thanks to Director Helms being on payroll. I knew it was going to be different during the breach when the hitmen killed the woman. They asked her to step away from the window so their suppressed bullets wouldn't go through it. She said she wouldn't scream, implying un-professionalism would kill others. Leader said "I know" before blasting her ass. I said "Daaaaamn..."

Anyway, the scenario you mentioned played out a few times. The biggest one was the Pentagon Papers. That seemed to have a major effect plus teach important lessons about how 50 straight years of conspiracy and lies could actually happen. A while later, they figured out how to shut those down with media cooperation. Pepper's work on MLK assassination and tons of government involvement didn't make it into court until late 90's. Media suppressed that one. Wolfowitz Doctrine leak caused up quite a stir but was repassed as Bush doctrine anyway thanks to the terrorists. :) Later, we have Wikileaks, Tice, Manning, Drake, Binney, and Snowden. Mostly no effect vs what potential was there. So, I don't find that to be a workable strategy now unless it's a hot-button, act-now issue for general public.

Btw, definitely watch Spy Games if you haven't. It's Brad Pitt and Robert Redford in a *great* spy movie. One of my all-time favorites. Don't watch the trailer in case of spoilers: just get the movie.

Nick PApril 30, 2016 12:04 PM

@ Figureitout, Clive, Wael, Thoth

A hardware engineer sent me this gem recently. A SOC that's breadboard compatible, has ICE40 FPGA (fits an AVR), five components total, smaller than a penny, and cost about $5. I thought at least one of you might like toying around with the design for DIY or low-resource projects.

Also, although I usually ignore ICE stuff, I think there's potential for an open-source, Structured-ASIC offering for ICE projects. The number of slices, later gates, is low enough that a 350-500nm node *should* be able to handle such projects. Open-source tools can already handle those nodes, too, as the crazy shit doesn't start kicking in at that point. Just a thought.

WaelMay 1, 2016 6:40 PM

@Nick P,

A SOC that's breadboard compatible, has ICE40 FPGA...

Small enough to do something cool with it. Problem is what :)

Nick PMay 1, 2016 7:36 PM

@ Wael

That was my reaction. It's hobbyists and embedded people that see potential in this stuff. Maybe a tamper sensor and function for a server. Have several with voting threshold in case cheap parts fail.

FigureitoutMay 1, 2016 11:41 PM

Rick Taggard
--I know about pentesting lol, I run kali linux on 3 machines (2 on HDD), it's my fav distro. I may get into it again later if I get bored (am I going to do all this work to spy on something likely boring as hell?--no) but I'm pretty satisfied w/ other areas of electronics. I find the whole "cloak and dagger" spook thing pretty hilarious these days, desperate people, but it's not funny when they break laws and be worthless assholes rubbing it in that they're above the law. Do some real work.

Nick P
--Dude had like 57 project logs in the span of a couple months lol, jesus christ. Cool, but sounds like a lot of work to get going, and mostly some interfacing and blinky LED's. Such a small hardware but the FPGA toolchains are massssssivvee. You really can't beat MCU's w/ a nice toolchain these days. They're powerful now unlike before.

You need extensive hardware knowledge (and HDL's, ugh those are fun to program in...not. Well they're not too bad but still.) to really be using an FPGA to it's fullest extent. Otherwise your designs will be buggy. It's a big step. My designs would be so small too, not even take advantage of a fraction of the FPGA.

Rick TaggardMay 2, 2016 3:38 PM

@Figureitout

--I know about pentesting lol, I run kali linux on 3 machines (2 on HDD), it's my fav distro.


I am not saying these so blunt things to be rude, but to offer gentle suggestion: something is wrong.


That tells me you have no experience in finding security vulnerabilities in applications. You do not work in the field, either, or you would be familiar with our definition of "pen testing".

I am pointing that out because you completely misunderstood my post. And you are unaware even of what Kali can and can not do.


Look, if I need surgery, I am not going to "DIY". I definitely am not going to refuse to study "how to do it". If I have a car problem, I may sometimes "DIY", but usually not. I trust that to the professionals. I trust finding security bugs in my applications to me.

Because I don't bring home a paycheck as a doctor nor a mechanic. I don't do that everyday as a professional. I have not spent many years learning by experience, and functional actions on doing it.

But, online people give and take medical and mechanical advise all the time, from people who really are far from being either a doctor or a mechanic.


I may get into it again later if I get bored (am I going to do all this work to spy on something likely boring as hell?--no) but I'm pretty satisfied w/ other areas of electronics. I find the whole "cloak and dagger" spook thing pretty hilarious these days, desperate people, but it's not funny when they break laws and be worthless assholes rubbing it in that they're above the law. Do some real work.

I think "this is what is wrong". You are blinded by your prejudice about me.

Sorry, never worked for 'nasa' (USG), just very plain, boring, mundane corporate jobs. I do know enough who do, because they are peers in the industry, to know they never would post on the subject, online.

They are terrified of getting caught by auditors or by lie detector test.

I do not abhor authorized hacks by USG, as you do, so I can also not relate to your strong emotions.

Nation state hackers are not on my own radar. Even if they got weird paranoia about me... as "some people" do... I literally do nothing interesting.

But, more importantly, they wouldn't fling all my private stuff all over the web.

They would be quiet about it, see I am uninteresting, and quietly move on.


BTW, I would suggest getting flight aware, if you believe you are such a target for nation states. This way you can see if you have any drones buzzing around, or other sorts of aerial reconnaissance.

I would also - highly - recommend sticking to as mundane and consistently, constantly repeated routine as humanly possible.

FigureitoutMay 2, 2016 9:50 PM

Rick Taggard
--I never said I was in your industry, and finding vulnerabilities in apps is boring to me. Vulnerabilities in protocols is way more personally interesting.

I'm not talking about you either, unless you're lying which wouldn't surprise me the way your meander on aimlessly sometimes.

This is why I said please only talk technical (specific vulnerabilities in your case) if you mention my name please, so as to avoid worthless arguments like this. Feel free to talk w/ others. Thanks.

Rick TaggardMay 3, 2016 12:04 PM

@Figureout

What I stated was actually a great intro to finding your own vulnerabilities.

You say you are interested in finding vulnerabilities in protocols, but that means finding vulnerabilities in applications. Because applications are what handle the protocol processing.

What you do with Kali is basically push button, you look for **already found** vulnerabilities. (Kali does have tools for finding previously unknown flaws, and very good tools for finding implementation flaws.)

But, guess you already really knew about all that. And frankly, setting up flightaware would be a very good, technical suggestion, for someone concerned about nation state level surveillance. Because it is exactly through flightaware those fbi surveillance planes were caught recently.

You can go to their site and get simple instructions for setting up your own box, about fifty bucks and beginner's experience level. That gets you a top level membership for free.

If you do not have gov planes on you, you are not under any kind of serious surveillance.


Rick TaggardMay 3, 2016 12:34 PM

@Figureitout

I did put in technical details which you would have to follow up on to get anything out of. Unfortunately.

But, I won't post another response, regardless.

I do feel I have a conscience obligation, however, to state something that you do not want to hear:

I think you are being paranoid. I do not think the USG is surveilling you. You don't have any kind of "overthrow the government" beliefs, and seem to have generally pretty conservative beliefs.

I think when people suffer ptsd in various forms, it is all too easy to put anything accidentally into that fear.

Trick with ptsd is to make it out of that. Then you are MORE immune to stressful situations, rather then less. Weird how that works.

But, it is like exercise. You break down to build up, but if you do not allow healing time, you will destroy and ruin, rather then build up.

I think, you should maybe write down on paper for your self, to make it structured, formal thinking, "why you think you may be under surveillance". What evidence? What reasons? And who would have and spend those resources?

Further, what would those people be like?

FigureitoutMay 3, 2016 11:08 PM

Clive Robinson RE: not designing w/ intel
--Have a second to breathe in between finals. :p I don't feel comfortable w/ them either but...how do you program chips then? The WIntel monopoly we've talked about on here quite a bit is so established I don't think it's ever going to really beaten in the market.

I mean manufacturers are smartly supporting linux and arm chips w/ newer versions of toolchains so I could potentially build on a Raspi so hopefully most of the windows malware won't work at least. Maybe you don't, but I need the IDE, I can cram more code in my head w/ them and it's a more enjoyable programming experience. Manufacturers are going to make it so you want it too, less headaches.

I think you've mentioned in the past, probably some older version of MPLAB for WinXP SP2 airgapped is a decent machine to flash chips. My XP PC at work (we need it for the chips that can only be programmed w/ older toolchains lol) is visibily declining...I'm worried one day it's just not going to boot up. I have a personal backup PC at home and the HDD backed up but still. These chips, once they go EOL is a gradual decline as the 2nd hand stock gets used up too, to being screwed w/ chips being way too complex you can't make much security claims at all.

I'm repeating myself (again and again...) but it's a constant hamster wheel concern, can't just wave it off. At the same time I think, some high percentage of time you'll be ok, it won't get hacked. Even the newer 32bit chips, so long as you can just install toolchain on airgapped pc, after programming it'll generally take physical access to do real damage. USB malware on programming PC is the big risk as always then.

I'm going to try that though when I graduate from hell (engineering school...bleh). Give it my best shot then. When I'm just working I think I'll have the time, I think lol...time being think I'm going to enter my pet project in the hackaday prize "anything goes" too just to support the competition by making an entry, there's always much cooler entries made though. Then work fast b/c when summer ends I can't work on my opensource stuff as much... :(

Rick Taggard
--The Hacker Playbook is an easy to read book to thumb thru on pentesting for beginners. Actual practical details for those that want it. I got it as a joke for christmas since I'm the security guy in the family. I would've taken a few chips over the book b/c I could find most of the info in it online, but hey it made me laugh.

Yes I know. If the push button vulnerabilities still work then why work on new ones? These skiddy tools still work many times. Even the new ones are probably just variations on the same kinds of flaws that don't get fixed b/c too much relies on how it works right now. Need some kind of privileged access to start looking for new vulns though w/o stress of getting caught, otherwise you'd use something like kali to get that info for networked pc's. Airgap your pc and most of kali's tools get nullified. Then you need another way to deliver malware. But any business needs a constant 24/7 network presence for customers to contact them/emails etc. so the targets remain up and running, and employees click on stuff and bring in malware etc. Anyway, it's the actual intel gathering and that initial penetration that's the most important part of any attack. That's where the real pros focus IMO, hacking into unknown territory undetected. It's the riskiest part, good defensive security will catch most of those attempts and not have too much patterns in their defense so intel gathering would be garbage.

Ah yes drones, I spotted those w/ my eyes when I used to go for late night runs. When I go running I don't bring any tech w/ me, so I couldn't snap a pic (I had a "dumbphone" at the time, so the pic would've been garbage anyway) for better evidence than my word. They were in their unannounced test phase a couple years ago, then it comes out in news my area was one of the test zones. The night that really did me in, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Military-grade drones in suburban America. One even got so low the pilot must've violated some rule b/c the drone almost hit a powerline, it got that low b/c I was flipping it off, and watched it fly really low and come straight towards me. You can't hear them until they're really close. They'd come out around 11 at night on weekdays so most people are in bed. That test phase has died down quite a bit (I'd typically see like 6 doing circles during that time). They weren't just spying on me, they were doing mass surveillance of a surburban neighborhood (if they had thermal imagers peeping into homes, all the more creepy) w/ low crime, but "down in the hood" it's why you'd hear about robbers night before getting caught in their apartment b/c they'd simply watch the crime in progress and watch where they go; doesn't matter if you have perfect OPSEC at that point. That's one good use I suppose. But it's constant mass surveillance. And the petty crime won't stop unless we have a good economy, that's the way to stop crime, when people have something to lose.

I can mostly cope w/ my anxiety now, thanks though. Those times are past. I'm not going to talk about it, the next victim can. You can interview them. Hopefully they're better prepared.

Rick TaggardMay 4, 2016 10:12 AM

@Figureitout

They were in their unannounced test phase a couple years ago, then it comes out in news my area was one of the test zones. The night that really did me in, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

And, so "flightaware". Google it. I built my own box before they offered instructables on how to do so. It is incredibly easy, and there are a lot of tools you can use with it.

Simplest version is get a usb dongle, a rtl sdr, and connect to android, then download the apps focused on aircraft traffic.

So, you can always carry it around with you and see whomever is above your head.

The advantage of feeding into the flightaware network is simply that you can have free high memberships, which includes the capability to go over the archives. Who was that who flew over me on Monday, July 1st, a few years ago? You can look it up.

You do not have to feed into their network, if you are paranoid this might hurt your privacy, somehow. There are other apps on either platform, and you can turn off that functionality on the flightaware mobile app.

How does this help really find the covert surveillance drones and planes and copters? I mentioned "this was how they found those fbi surveillance planes", believing you probably recall the articles.

But,


https://www.google.com/webhp?q=fbi%20surveillance%20plane%20flightaware

Or use those search terms in whatever your favorite search engine is.


Drone,copter, plane. They all have to use this plain text protocol to continously give their idenification and positioning.

Does not mean the bad ones will say "FBI Surveillance Van #2" on them.

But, they really suck at coming up with realistic identification information, as the article explains, and you might imagine.

I do not think this is because they are stupid, though plenty of places and things with horrible names.

But, really, what else can they do? Buy a major airliner?

And remaining would still be the incredibly suspicious flight patterns they are usually forced to adhere to.

Otherwise, read the articles, at a very wide variety of sources, surely you can find one there you can trust. Probably Bruce posted about it, when it happened.


ianfMay 5, 2016 3:45 PM


[I'm clearing up the backlog, some of it way past its sell-by-date, so it's mostly FYI & Having Me Say]

@ Clive Robinson said:

[…] “Due to the security policy put in place in the 1980's by Margaret Thatcher, the actual truth about the bomba/bombe diffrences did not come out [until post-1989, nor was it helped] by historians who had no actual contact with either the Polish or British cryptanalysis of the Enigma.

Given grave sins of Thatcher, I don't think we need to burden her slate with instituting a harsher security policy than that blanket atmosphere of secrecy over Britain's hidden wartime doings that's been in force since the war ("Loose lips sink ships" etc.). And if she expanded upon that, then in all probability mostly codified what up to then were consensual old-boys' club agreements. The Cold War, unmasking of Klaus Fuchs, the "missile gap," Soviet expansionism and other such events all played their "motivational" rôle.

It is not my intention to "outbid" your experience of ill effects of the Official Secrets Act etc., but I suspect that for each D-noticed news item about Bletchley Park, there was a veritable black hole (or, better yet: blanket ignorance of its mere existence, ergo absence of) in regard to prewar Polish work on the Enigma. I first heard of it from an expat star programmer who actually studied it for his mid-70s math dissertation, but then I thought little of it. Forward ~20 years, and I'm writing a piece on mystery airplane crashes, one of them the 1943 RAF Liberator lost on take off from Gibraltar. For that I interview a couple of white-haired ex-Polish WWII army gents in Sussex. That's when the Enigma, and other uncredited Polish contributions to the war effort, makes A BIG SPLASH in their narrative alongside umpteen crash conspiracy theories that they espouse. Nobody ever asked for their opinion on any of these matters, so now I'm the designated slush pile-keeper of the flame. I try to get some confirmation, not less from @sciencemuseum that had an exhibit on wartime comms technology, but draw mostly nil about it (the embassy's cultural attaché sends me to their military attaché who interrogates me for the "behind" reasons of my interest… then I discovered that the position was "vacant"). Took me another decade to find out the extent of it… but that's another story.

Where topic “releasing poor quality code as [company or management] policy” is concerned, there are NO BIGGER CRIMINALS than Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who turned shoddy software into the norm of the budding microcomputer industry. All the way from acquiring on the sly the QDOS (=Quick and Dirty OS from another Seattle company, Q and D standing for "untested outside the range of narrowly defined, known command parameters"), rebranding it and delivering to the client as the MSDOS 1.0 for its IBM PC. And it's been downhill from there.

    Every time I see BG on TV promoting his New! Benevolent Philantropist's Strategies, I SHOUT "you are whitewashing your crimes with the cash, sweat, and stress of the myriads of Microsoft's victims.” The money should be refunded and he should be put away for life.

More on that your conversation about releasing poor quality code as a policy found among the comments to the referenced piece Have Software Developers Given Up?:

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/EverythingsBrokenAndNobodysUpset.aspx

ianfMay 5, 2016 4:03 PM


@ Dirk Praet wrote on April 28, 2016 7:20 PM

[…] “most of the Paris-Brussels attackers fit the typical profile of good-for-nothing douchebag losers aspiring to be Hollywood gangstas but who would have failed life - and even petty crime - in any society. The only difference being that in the countries their fathers came from they would have been incarcerated a long time ago instead of being allowed to develop impressive rap sheets before eventually being recruited by Da'esh.

Read this analysis of (probable but neither proven nor unequivocal) existence of an undetected wide bandwidth ISIS.eu back channel to Syria for relay of—NO JOKE—one Khalid's Dreams of Jihad. I can't make heads or tails out of it, but apparently @thegrugq could.

Source: http://boredjihadi.tumblr.com/post/142889314077/three-dreams-of-a-brussels-bomber

FigureitoutMay 5, 2016 7:51 PM

Rick Taggard
--Yeah that's that ADS-B stuff right? Need some kind of special antenna perhaps or just the stock dinky thing work? Think you can search it on wolfram alpha too but just current aircraft. But to get back into it, meh. Maybe some night over the summer if I see them again.

I'm going to use my pi for a small kali box since I got this touchscreen I don't want to waste and kali's got the best UI for it out the box lol.

Nick PMay 5, 2016 9:20 PM

@ Clive, Wael, Thoth, Dirk

Perl is an interesting language. I used to hack away in it long ago before I found certain properties mattered when robustness was goal. :) One interesting thing about it was how it countered UNIX style of one, kludgy program per use-case. Wall was a bit subversive. I always see he developed it at Unisys for reports with rumors it involved high-assurance security. Hard to substantiate that last part.

Turns out, he developed it to manage code & docs of BLACKER VPN at Systems Development Corporation for the NSA. BLACKER was the first high-assurance, thin-client VPN ever made which internally leveraged GEMSOS security kernel. So, PERL hackers have high-assurance security community, the NSA, and Larry Wall to thank for the fun they have. :)

Note: BLACKER paper is available via its DOI at SciHub, the renegade collection of papers. A major contribution of BLACKER was noticing a distributed system required system analysis/proof of components as individual systems and then their interactions as another system.

WaelMay 5, 2016 11:08 PM

@Nick P,

Perl is an interesting language...

I used it briefly, for a year or so, to automate some C++ code changes and customizations.

leveraged GEMSOS security kernel....

Gemini is 20 years old! You got something a little more modern?

Nick PMay 5, 2016 11:27 PM

@ Wael

Over 30 years old actually. The point was that Perl was invented to help develop a high-assurance, security product. That's a piece of its history that's often left out.

Far as modern efforts, the most interesting is DeepSpec. They took some top talent to try to hit everything in the stack with formal correctness and tools to do same for later projects. CertiKOS, which I previously posted, is one deliverable they've already made.

Meanwhile, DARPA is now funding an anonymous, broadcast messaging service or something like that. They're asking for solicitations. Maybe time for Clive to try his broadcast ideas.

WaelMay 5, 2016 11:48 PM

@Nick P,

That's a piece of its history that's often left out.

A new thing I learned. An unexpected history... Thanks for sharing...

Far as modern efforts, the most interesting is DeepSpec.

Subscribed to the mailing list... Let's see how successful their efforts are.

Meanwhile, DARPA is now funding an anonymous, broadcast messaging service or something like that.

Sounds familiar.

Dirk PraetMay 6, 2016 7:28 AM

@ ianf

Read this analysis of (probable but neither proven nor unequivocal) existence of an undetected wide bandwidth ISIS.eu back channel to Syria

A while ago, there was an interesting article somewhere about ISIS relaying messages between Syria and the EU through a digital storage drop at some Turkish cloud company, but I can't seem to find it back.

I had a good laugh with Bakraoui's alleged dreams of Jihad. It makes for far better propaganda than describing him as a scumbag loser with a negative IQ or failed wannabe gangster who knew nothing about the Qur'an. When I was about 16, our Catholic religion teacher made us memorise the hagiographies of all saints on the calendar. These so-called "dreams" Bakraoui had sound only too familiar.

@ Nick P

Perl is an interesting language.

Late nineties, I did a lot of Perl scripting, especially in the context of website CGI-scripts. However powerful, Perl tends to be a bit of a maintenance nightmare if not properly documented as it allows you to write really concise code that may not always be very legible for newbies taking over a project.

Nick PMay 6, 2016 10:12 AM

@ Wael, Clive, Dirk

The DARPA thing is here.

@ Wael

Here was the last tool they created with the framework.

@ Dirk

That's the reason I stopped using it. Plus, PCRE's became available in more languages. :)

Clive RobinsonMay 6, 2016 11:19 AM

@ Dirk Praet, Nick P and others,

Perl tends to be a bit of a maintenance nightmare if not properly documented...

There is a joke that "Perl is a very WORN language" on the assumption you know WORN is an acronym for "Write Once Read Never".

Like many a SysAdmin that had to look after a mixture of OSs the fact that Perl was available and ran almost the same way on all of them was something I was thankfull for. But... the much claimed "strengths" of what it could do, I found out weighed by the fact that it's syntax etc was not intuitive and easily got wrong, thus you had to have a "blue camal" on your desk as well as an appreciation for warped humor...

And just as you got used to it in version 4/5 they anounced six that was "So far off the Larry" you started thinking "BASIC is looking good today".

I must admit I'm many another programers nightmare, I often find it's quicker to code up from just the language basic operators rather than go hunting through doc after doc of poorly documented libraries.

It has much to do with my engineering background where you have to "carve" your own electronics to real world transducers many of which can rip you to shreds and spit you out as juice teeth and all. Then design the fatal to non fatal level voltage interface which connects to what most programers would consider to low level to be seen hardware like analogue, and status IO lines on microcontrolers. Then write a low level BIOS / RTOS and cut code in assembler for device drivers, and "up convert" to USB or 10baseT etc. All so that those other code cutting programers can moan, you've not given them enough to work with because it does not work with Widget-lib5000 etc etc ;-)

I guess it's one of the reasons I have real downers on CS grads, where as physics, engineering, chem and various lower end biology grads who have had to earn their spurs the hard way, with learning how to get their real world experiments to deliver data to a PC, as just the first step, I tend to get on with...

Nick PMay 6, 2016 11:56 AM

@ Clive, Wael, Thoth, Anura

People enjoying crypto protocol design and verification might like Microsoft's Csec project. It's a toolset for extracting models from C code to analyze in terms of cryptographic properties. The reason I'm linking it specifically is that it comes with a Github page to download one of the tools and many examples to test it on.

Might be useful in combination with a protocol-to-implementation tool like AnBx that targets C. Along with typical tools for verifying the C itself like Frama-C, Saturn, C-solve, or Astree. I could see protocol constraints encoded in Frama-C as well.

EDIT to quickly add: Also, could integrate tooling like this with CRYPTOL. That tool specifies cryptographic algorithm, proves some properties, and generates C code. Could generate with CRYPTO then verify with Csec, etc for added assurance.

Clive RobinsonMay 6, 2016 12:05 PM

@ Nick P,

Hmm,

    DARPA’s goal is to have “a secure messaging system that can provide repudiation or deniability, perfect forward and backward secrecy, time to live/self delete for messages, one time eyes only messages, a decentralized infrastructure to be resilient to cyber-attacks, and ease of use for individuals in less than ideal situations,”

I've already described on this blog how to do a big chunk of this.

However there are some things that cannot be reliably done.

Nick PMay 6, 2016 12:37 PM

@ Clive

One of reasons I posted it. Put in a proposal. Make you some money and build a secure app. :)

Rick TaggardMay 6, 2016 1:30 PM

@Figureitout

--Yeah that's that ADS-B stuff right? Need some kind of special antenna perhaps or just the stock dinky thing work? Think you can search it on wolfram alpha too but just current aircraft. But to get back into it, meh. Maybe some night over the summer if I see them again.
I'm going to use my pi for a small kali box since I got this touchscreen I don't want to waste and kali's got the best UI for it out the box lol.

Yes, ads-b. The crappy stock antenna for tv that comes with most rtl's is perfectly sufficient. ads-b is "line of sight" protocol, so a permanent system is best which is designed for outdoors use. For instance, get a weather proof container, and put it all in there in your backyard, or better, roof. Or, out in the wild somewhere, on a tree, or wherever, far from your home. Using an open wifi for reporting. (Not that I think this would clear all possible forensic data, if someone was after that sort of privacy.)

I did not go over all the 'best case' usage examples for having such a service. And you can pay for it. You can certainly use a prepaid credit card, though you would have to get it out of state to really obscure anything. Regardless of if you bought it with cash.

For folks who require private meetings with clients and coworkers, and their company does not have the resources to provide that security for them: I would suggest utilizing the rtl plus reverse usb plus mobile app plus mobile handset.

In such a case, they would also do well to drive outside their city, north, south, east, west. They would also do well to park in parking garages, take buses, frequent highly populous, public gathering places, and the like.

Basically, the exact opposite of ordinary 'best case' practice. Which is to COMPLETELY ignore EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.

And keep to a mind numbingly painfully rigid, everyday schedule. Where going anywhere and doing anything is what is almost never done.

Cops, even those doing such things as domestic intelligence undercover work, tend to very much react to such things in a very predictable way: they become more visible, not less. Because they are used to surveillance being used as a very visible tool of intimidation.

True spies (including true domestic, federal, national level, not rinky dink MetroPol/Special Branch/County/State wannabes) absolutely never do that. (Lol.)

Innocent folks are simply not targeted by real spies. When they are, the real spies move on. That threat scape is for wannabe spies who are really just cops yanked out of their cop job or academy to do something way beyond their own organizations capabilities to do.

Biggest danger there for innocent folks, is if they are very submissive type people who are inclined to do anything suggested to them by erroneously trusted.

Usually, even those sorts of cops "get" "who is a real threat" and "who is not". Though. So the biggest danger is just being dumb enough to trust someone for being someone who they are not. And enabling them to reach the more radical sorts.

Rick TaggardMay 6, 2016 2:48 PM

@Figureitout

And, uh, I think that post I just made also well expresses my true opinion on the sorts of folks you were complaining about or concerned about.

They are 'know it all' troublemakers who only screw things up.

I mentioned Britain's Special Branch, because they recently had their entire undercover division raped by their own agents and the media.

Their agents broke, because of miserable support. Which is because they have no idea of what they are doing. They are trying to work in fields they are not capable of working in. Not the organization, not the people they hire on.

They are certainly useful, at times. Because they are so very certain they know, what they do not know. So, are easy to fly under their radar and utilize as tools of various kinds.

Why Mi5 coddled them, I do not know. I would expect it was much more one way of a relationship then what was reported.

They also are dangerous for democracies, in general. Dangerous for the civilians. Dangerous for their own purposes. All around bad.

Cops have an important place in society, but not doing intelligence work.

Leave that crap for totalitarian countries committed to totalitarianism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_suicides_in_1945_Nazi_Germany

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_surveillance_in_East_Germany#Reunification_and_aftermath

No shame ever for those who do what is right.

Clive RobinsonMay 6, 2016 4:04 PM

@ Nick P,

One of reasons I posted it. Put in a proposal. Make you some money and build a secure app. :)

I'm not a US citizen and as far as I am aware DARPA do not hand research grants to non US non resident people/organisations.

However $150K for a year barely pays for 1.25 man/years. As for the $1mill for two years that would just about get you two people for two years plus office space somewhere cheap oh and a bit of kit...

Anyway I'm probably not the sort of person who would get past their grants/appropriation committee. Because the last time I was aware it was checked I was on the US IC "shit list" over the design of electronics of military significance destined for the "Axis of Evil" back last century. I was actually supprised they even let me in the country a few years ago back when they had just set up those shite awful finger print systems at imigration. Maybe the UK IC had finaly sorted it out with them, maybe not, either way I've no intention of going anywhere to find out they don't have an orange jump suit to fit me, the last thing I need at my time of life is chafing of the crotch. And unlike those of Matrix-Churchill I was working on rather more than a nod and a handshake, read the Scott Report if you want to know what a clusterFcUK it all was at the time under Maggie Thatchers guidence. The plus side was that the then independent "Customs and Excise" got the first substantive nail in their coffin on the three strikes and out principle they lost their right to prosecute and got subsiquently subsumed into their hated rivals the Inland Revenue.

We Look Like PeopleMay 6, 2016 5:40 PM

@Clive Robinson

Hah! That is interesting.

Plenty of iranians coming in and out of the us, though.

And if something was okay with uk, it would be okay with usa.

Not that going for a darpa contract would be the best use of one's time....


The anti-Iranian stance is really just posturing. Different side of the same coin with Saudi. Everyone knows that. Have to act like they are totally bad just to keep up appearances. Reality could be saudi would be where the next war might be just as easily as iran.

Iran is actually less likely then saudi.

But they still have an old guard there that has yet to die out.

Saudi is just trouble waiting to happen. No new and better generation, at all.

Nick PMay 6, 2016 6:49 PM

@ Clive Robinson

I think they figure a bright, energetic coder could put something together with that amount of money given stuff like Moxie's work and Pond. It's probably expected to be a demonstrator, as well, that leads to other work or gets more funding later. Quite a few have gone that way.

WaelMay 6, 2016 10:31 PM

@Nick P,

Here was the last tool they created with the framework.

Looks comprehensive. I may leverage an idea or two out of it :)

FigureitoutMay 7, 2016 7:19 AM

Rick Taggard
--Ok, some summer night I may have a beer and see what's flying over head. Do you have a "Y-cable" so you can have the dongle plugged in the phone and charge at the same time? This is why those android tablets were nice, they had one more USB port. But suppose having an extra battery and one of those USB batteries would be useful for remote use.

It's assumed using a smartphone in the first place, privacy is compromised, basically like an "anti-security" device that has 1 long range constant silent upgrade threat, and 2 short range wireless threats (BT and wifi, now NFC for shorter range), our kryptonite lol. This in addition to all the usual internet threats, and you can't really dig in the device physically easily. Any app you install, even a flashlight app, needs access to your call logs for some reason. But yes OPSEC wise, just using a public wifi isn't enough; device needs to be sanitized and you need a new personality and a safe way to reach the access point (all loaded terms, very loaded). I generally have no use for such OPSEC anymore though (the "untouchable" kind, too stressful. Had my fill lol, I'm just going to use electronics regularly now.), there is generally no one (normal lol) to communicate w/ in that way anyway and it's not really worth it IMO.

Clive RobinsonMay 7, 2016 11:43 AM

@ Figureitout,

ADS-B antennas, need to be like those for space craft such as satellites, omnidirectional and having a dome shaped vertical radiation pattern.

There are several that can do this and for 1090MHz you can bend most of them up yourself from thickish copper wire.

You will find much in the way of myths and lore about antenna thickness on the internet. Put overly simply the thicker the radiator the wider the bandwidth up to a point. You will see some broadband monopoles that are cylinders about 10% of their length wide. When it comes to dipoles this goes up to around 30% wide but in a "fat cigar" shape, at HF these are often called "cage dipoles".

There are a few basic designs you can look at. The first is the "Turnstile" or "Crossed dipoles" these are,a workaday solution in space work, unfortunately you need a 90degree phasing harness which can be a pain in the backside to make at 1GHz.

The next which is a more ibteresting design is the three or four loop "cloverleaf" antenna, there is an awful lot of "trash talk" about these on the Internet due to drone hobbyists using them for their CCTV back feed. If you are going to build one have a look in an RSGB or ARRL VHF/UHF or AMSAT book.

The next up is the helical and bihelical antennas that are one turn or less they can have a high impedence feed point which requires a balan to match to your feed line.

There is a variation of the helical and cross dipole that looks like a cylinder where the tip of one cross dipole reflector, is connected to the radiator above but moved round through 90 degrees, unless you can get good engineering drawings I'd give these a miss.

Finally there is the Direct Driven Ring Radiator or DDRR antenna that was invented by Dr. Boyer from Northrop. It's vertical radiation pattern is like a squashed dome, which is advantageous, because you have less gain overhead where the distance to the aircraft is less and more gain out to the sides where the distance is greater, therefore it gives a more uniform reception performance. The antenna is very very low profile as it's essentialy a ring over a ground plane and at 1GHz would be about 3cm above the ground plane. It has the disadvantage of being quite high Q giving you around 15MHz of bandwidth at 1GHz.

A note about balans for the more traditional dipole antennas, look up the design of a sleeved dipole above a quaterwave sleeve balan, such sleeves if properly thought about can give not just very good antenna feed line isolation which is essential for good RF performance but also very good mechanical support.

Any way which ever way you go have fun, though my prefrence would be the DDRR on a PCB ground mounted directly on the bottom of a die cast meyal box inside of which you mount you Raspberry Pi or beaglebone board and RTL SDR dongle and an PoE ethernet unit/psu. You can then put this up out of sight on a roof with a tupperware box over the top to keep the moisture ubder control.

Rick TaggardMay 7, 2016 2:16 PM

@Figureitout

Ok, some summer night I may have a beer and see what's flying over head. Do you have a "Y-cable" so you can have the dongle plugged in the phone and charge at the same time? This is why those android tablets were nice, they had one more USB port. But suppose having an extra battery and one of those USB batteries would be useful for remote use.


Right, you can do that, of course. I have an old usb juncture box I use with some of my small systems sometimes. Have not used it with my phone. Usually I use it to work out a design where I have a 10K mah - 20K mah battery for the pi. Then, I have a prototyping box I got just from radio shack. But, those systems I make are just prototypes, so far.

I put them together, to be able to more visualize what I might want, but then end up breaking them apart again.

I might point out: as cool as the airplane tracking software is - there is a good variety - I do not actually use it much.

It really takes about ten seconds once you have the usb dongle and the rtl. Just search on the mobile store for ads-b, and there is a number of software you can immediately get into. Plug in and go.

Not much difference with the variety of linux software out there.

I do not play around with ads-b software much more then just showing people who come over 'what can be done with radio receivers and miniature systems'.

Even the worst of them shows plot points on google maps, live, with movement and identifying data.

My friends who are pilots are way most into that.

Some of them have had ads-b receivers of varying types since the 90s.

On antenna, and what Clive said, I do believe Clive is much more of an expert on radio technology, then I am. But, of course, the wave length is different then for the tv signals the stock antenna is for. However, the signal is coming from above, so it is good signal even with a less then perfect cut antenna. But, of course, always best to have the appropriate cut antenna...

It's assumed using a smartphone in the first place, privacy is compromised, basically like an "anti-security" device that has 1 long range constant silent upgrade threat, and 2 short range wireless threats (BT and wifi, now NFC for shorter range), our kryptonite lol. This in addition to all the usual internet threats, and you can't really dig in the device physically easily. Any app you install, even a flashlight app, needs access to your call logs for some reason. But yes OPSEC wise, just using a public wifi isn't enough; device needs to be sanitized and you need a new personality and a safe way to reach the access point (all loaded terms, very loaded). I generally have no use for such OPSEC anymore though (the "untouchable" kind, too stressful. Had my fill lol, I'm just going to use electronics regularly now.), there is generally no one (normal lol) to communicate w/ in that way anyway and it's not really worth it IMO.


It is a weird subject to discuss, because you even assume the discussion is compromised.

What I outlined assumed everything was compromised. Worst case scenario, where, despite what I said about how low risk I thought you were, I was actually presenting a scenario you would only find worthwhile to use if you were high risk.

High risk is being a foreign spy on US shore, where specifically, you are already compromised. And so, under very heavy, but covert surveillance.

So, there are actually very few things which can be said in front of them, which also can still be worthwhile to use while also being said.

Accurate risk assessment, I believe, is most important. Do you proverbially need to build a plane which can make it many times across the atlantic? Or can a simple paper airplane suffice?

What I outlined would be useful in a variety of circumstances where you believed your domestic nation state had you under surveillance. Not just "if you are believed to be a spy".

What it is all about is realizing that surveillance is always looking for: That One Time.

That one time you meet an agent. That one time you pick up material dropped for you. That one time you drop off material. That one time you meet your coworkers. That one time you show your methods of operations and communication strategies. That one time where you show who you really are.

Theoretically, they could start writing software to screw up your phone to prevent this. But, you know how that can be expensive for them.

Anyway, the basic tactic is like making a bunch of rights or lefts, you just try and make whatever gps/cell tower reception go down for a bit. Then, come out with this. In city, but especially out of city. Rinse and repeat, to try and find where aerial surveillance is forced.

It really just puts them on the defensive, is all. An elaborate distraction on top of layers of distraction.

Reality is, if you are cold, you are cold. That is all you can do. Distract them away from other coworkers.

Keep them as busy as possible, and keep your own nose clean.


I did consider you may just be suffering anxiety. It is common. Nothing to be ashamed of. I have myself experienced extreme forms of anxiety, often. Because I have experienced very stressful situations.

If this were the case, then this would have you building a plane that can make it reliably across the atlantic. When you really just need a box car to make it down the inclined street. You would see the level of effort required, and it would reduce the anxiety.


But, that was just a minor possibility, despite how I evaluated. Again. Online. Compromised. I don't give a f what you are doing. You could be doing something I hate, not the point. I will never meet you, I will never know you. I try and be as efficient as possible.

If that were the case, I suggest ecstasy. Video games. TV. Pot. Exercise. Stuff that reinforces, "you are OK, you are ALIVE". Pot, ecstasy, help people deal with painful things (such as those which cause anxiety). Alcohol, can, but... alcohol. It removes the right and wrong prefrontal cortex, lol. So usually not very worthwhile for also dealing with difficult to deal with matters.


This stuff IS technical. Just of a different sort. Related.

The psych stuff is the most important. And knowing practices.

You don't go and do shit, over and over and over again, without learning how to deal with anxiety. (Real way, is more related to self-hypnosis, but you can't teach that in ten seconds.)


And this is a thing inside a thing. I never say nor write this stuff, anywhere, except for here, and on timed occasions.

So, I am doing this very thing, by different means, for different reasons, while glibly advising you on it.

If I have a problem, the mind fuck of that being implied is only reinforced by actually pointing it out. People can only keep track of so much at any one time.

Human minds overload just as systems do. It is strange. We make them from our own selves.

Look at the handshake induction, for instance.

FigureitoutMay 7, 2016 6:07 PM

Clive Robinson
--I don't really expect to get into ads-b that much, just some night in june or july sitting on my deck having a beer lol. So I was planning either a basic dipole (guess it has to be mounted "vertically" b/c of its polarization) or coaxial collinear. rtl-sdr has a great page for that. But then I'd have to sacrifice my one antenna for my dongle or get another one of those tiny adapters w/ wire attached.

Bet we'd get flack from our lovely homeowners association too to take down any permanently mounted antenna, and we'd have to drill a hole in the house to get it inside for my "shack".

There's other things that sound more fun (computers mostly). Building an antenna...? Meh, professionally manufactured ones are better, unless it's a really exotic one that'd be fun to make, I'll take the manufactured one.

Rick Taggard
--Last I checked it wasn't possible to charge and transfer data at same time (maybe this varies from phone to phone, I didn't want to experiment much w/ it). I've got the usb-otg cable and all, I've received just FM on my phone, got much more on my PC even w/ that tiny antenna (best for me was the lock/unlock signal for my car keys (and the signal that rolls your windows down), which was interesting...).

The psych stuff is mildly important (frame of mind committing certain acts then maybe predicting something), but the facts of what a person has/has not done more so. Intel world works more on psych stuff pseudoscience, not science and legit info based on my tests (which I'm not repeating, hell no, done). It takes a lot of resources to get the facts, so they have to choose wisely, not get taken on a ride of bullsh*t.

Rich TaggardMay 7, 2016 8:24 PM

@Figureitout

Eh? You already have that stuff, then wtf, heh.

Yeah, love fm on a good scanner w nice waterfall graph. Sounds like u have an android. Then, sdrtouch, rfanalyzer r good. avare adsb.


Clive RobinsonMay 8, 2016 4:10 AM

@ Figureitout,

I don't really expect to get into ads-b that much...

Possibly not, it is a nich hobby area.

However a thought does occure, others have already embarrassed certain agencies for their crap backstory/legend for these surveillance flights, and thus what the agencies regard as strictly need to know has been blown out of the water and clasiffied operational details leaked about unwarranted spying on civilians.

Thus even slightly savey criminals are aware of what these agencies are upto. Whilst the slightly smarter ones will get their own ADS-B receivers etc and change their plans accordingly. So another variation on the theme of "going dark" pops up...

So the obvious solution is at some point ADS-B in these aircraft will get turned off to preserve operational security etc. Only it can not, because it would then endanger other aircraft etc, and require specialised proceadures which in turn would leak out...

So the recent calls by the FCC with regards SDR might not be unrelated to this and a number of other radio based OpSec leaks.

But that won't work either now the cat is out the bag and there is way to much invested in ADS-B to make changes to give more secure transmissions etc. Further ADS-B equipment is not realy that expensive, so getting a transeceiver and disabling the transmit section could be done by quite a few electronic hobbyists with little difficulty.

But now it's known there are such aircraft around and their flight behaviours categorised, it brings in another asspect which is radar. Marine 3cm radar can spot aircraft just as easily as it can ships etc. The big difference is in the "air-interface" which is the antenna used. Without going into details a moderatly knowledgable mechanic can make the changes required.

But in many areas they don't need to...

Objects can be detected by a source of radiative energy by their charecteristics due to transmission, absorbtion and reflection at different frequencies. We see using all three effects to some degree. Most radar however generaly works by the very limited squint of "red eye" or 180degree reflection, using either a surface "normal" to the direction of the radiation or via a tri-corner reflector or similar.

The important point to note is that when the radiation hits the object, just as a flashlight/torch in a dark room, the reflected energy goes off in all directions...

Thus you can have "Offset Radar" where the transmitter and receiver are seperated by a distance, and there can be more than one receiver. Which gives rise to the notion of "parasitic radar receivers". At their simplist they are an omnidirectional antenna with a receiver optimised to receive the reflected radar transmission. You can actually convert one of those X-Band doplar radar units used in traffic or modify a satellite TV head end by connecting them to a length of X-Band waveguide that has been machined --had slots cut into it-- as a medium gain omnidirectional antenna. You then feed the baseband signal into a high speed A to D converter connected to a PC to produce a radar display. The closer you are to the transmitter the less maths you have to do to resolve the position of the aircraft.

Thus having your own parasitic offset radar as well as an ADS-B receiver, tied together by a chunk of python code etc alows you to identify aircraft without an operational ADS-B, which immediately makes them suspicious...

All forms of "active surveillance" have similar technical OpSec issues, which is why real serious attention needs to be given to not just current activity and cover but backstories/ legends as well. It's the inability of LEO's to get backstories and legends of any diversity that results in their undercover officers getting outed, likewise parallel construction.

It's one of the reasons Israel for instance encorages those emigrating there to not hand their documents etc back to the original issuing government as they provide solid backstories. Likewise the criminal "ID Shopping" where passports and other documents are stolen to order.

Rick TaggardMay 8, 2016 1:50 PM

@Figureitout

The psych stuff is mildly important (frame of mind committing certain acts then maybe predicting something), but the facts of what a person has/has not done more so. Intel world works more on psych stuff pseudoscience, not science and legit info based on my tests (which I'm not repeating, hell no, done). It takes a lot of resources to get the facts, so they have to choose wisely, not get taken on a ride of bullsh*t.


I am not from your culture, I am from a very, very different culture. But, I read and watch television, and have learned to blend in pretty well.

I try and find chances to interact with you people.

I am very well aware learning about your people from television and books is not the most authoritative way to learn. But, I blend in. I fit in. Usually, people can not tell.

Not anymore.

It was not that way when I was young.


So, I have certainly studied a lot about your intelligence, and undercover cops. But, I also study about your mythologies. Anywhere where I can relate with being a stranger in a strange land. Where people have to be one thing with others just to get by.


Language, then, social beliefs and customs, communication, psychology, the human sciences? These are very important for me.

Counter-surveillance is not.


My culture is Christian, and I am "white", lol.


But, so, it makes me feel like I can relate to you guys, when I study, for instance, some aspects of intelligence. Or undercover work. But, really, something like "unbreakable kimmy schmidt" or "fringe" or "lost girl" or "supernatural", and so on, and so on. Have as much relevancy to me as your intelligence realms. For the exact same reasons.


We don't fear other human beings. We fear God.

In your culture, you do have a lot of people who are very, very sick. They are very bad people. And many "enable" them.

Thankfully, you do not burn witches or torture people anymore "in the name of God". But, we don't see you as having moved very far past any of that.

We see those as very mortal, very flawed, very primitive and backwards people who really hate God. We also see them as knowing that truth, on some deep level. Because we are the same species, so we know what people can and can not comprehend.

So, such people, their existence is unfathomable for how miserable and without any hope they must be. And it is astounding that they try and present themselves as people who are happy and have hope. They are very shameful, but they have learned that appearing happy hides that.

And talking about their own hopes and ambitions, hides that.

But, for us, we see the fake smiles and fake joy and fake hope, right off. It isn't even remotely good fakes.


However, they pass in society, and are taken as they want to be taken.


You can see most of the worst of this. Your liberals do, anyway. I think your conservatives see themselves in their worst, foreign enemies. But, for us, it is the difference between pepsi and coke.

Some of your liberals do.

The ones that see the barbarity of some against others.

Rick TaggardMay 8, 2016 8:03 PM

@Clive Robinson, Figureitout

adsb -- the drone problem


There was an article out, not long ago, about how drug smugglers "across the border" were identifying and taking down DHS drones. Problem was the DHS has a limited budget, so they could not nearly afford military specification drones. The military has gps systems which are resistant to jamming, but the DHS drones do not.

Search terms: drone dhs gps spoof jam border

I think, that is where you can kind of see the "new crime". Highly sophisticated organized crime, outside of country, where they either have direct work with their government, or effectively are the government.

Whereas, with the cartels, while they tend to be tied into government, having an especially incestous relationship with their federal police and local police, they likely are not tied into the sort of resources larger countries would have.... organized crime in Russia and Eastern Europe are rumored to have much more direct ties to Russian intelligence.

And China, whatever their ties are to the Triads, I do not know, but have long been using their intelligence to make money: stealing commercial trade secrets, sabotaging and surveilling corporate competition to their own state own corporations, and outright committing various forms of fraud for monetary profit.

Ala, "Swordfish".

The Swordfish Economic Model of Future Espionage.


So, this manner of arms race is bound to continue to accelerate and get more and more interesting.

I actually prefer this sort of trouble between nations, over the sort of trouble that winds up devastating weak nations and leaving a lot of people dead in their wake.

Though, it does have the capability to topple even the most robust of nations.


Your post reminds me of the old usage by higher caliber burglars using police scanners. What they did was make the usage of police scanners in the commission of a crime a very heavy legal offense.


I believe there are already stealth drones, so not sure how those fare with radar, I would think, "extremely well"? My bleak understanding is this is a combination of special material on the outside construction, special exhaust systems, and special design of the actual drone its' self.

From what I have read, this is too price prohibitive to use in country, for anything but the most severe of situations.


One problem with using, for instance, drones, is the flight pattern they have to maintain in order to keep up surveillance.

With satellites, fuel is so incredibly expensive. Satellite possibilities are also changing, however. Though, the lenses, and jet technology, and fuel problems still make it prohibitively expensive.


Gov drones are, as people see on television. They are pretty big. Very different from the drones "you see on television", which run on lithium ion battery technology. They are likely with strong heat and sound signatures.


Civilian drones are much smaller. People forget, such civilian "aircraft" have been around for ages. One key difference with modern systems is the energy source. The old RC aircraft and helicopters are extremely loud. This new wave of drones are quiet, can hover, have extremely extensible control systems, easy to make programmable paths for, and so on. Computers are a core part of the technology, as they are of the navigation system, and the camera systems.

They do not project out adsb. Manufacturors have tried to prevent catastrophe by putting in 'red areas' in the navigation controls, where there is flight traffic, airport areas.


Right now, using these systems for policing is out of the question. At very best, they only have fly time of thirty minutes.

But, there have been models utilizing hydrogen which can greatly expand that time to around four hours. At this time.


Could such a small system keep up with a car? No. You need a lot more energy for that kind of speed.

In the future, they might have networks of such drones policing cities. But, that is a long time off.

Using systems like these for homing in on, say, gunshots in a city, is more of a practical, near term usage.

Also, using these systems for companions for swat and other specialized policing units.

Rick TaggardMay 8, 2016 8:14 PM

@Clive Robinson

All forms of "active surveillance" have similar technical OpSec issues, which is why real serious attention needs to be given to not just current activity and cover but backstories/ legends as well. It's the inability of LEO's to get backstories and legends of any diversity that results in their undercover officers getting outed, likewise parallel construction.

Any cursory look is just not going to pass for them.

The unusual patterns required for surveillance craft is just one giveaway among so very many others.

They were considering their targets as just groups of very not "savvy" people.

Using that kind of cover for anything organized or nation state sponsered should be out of the question.


It's one of the reasons Israel for instance encorages those emigrating there to not hand their documents etc back to the original issuing government as they provide solid backstories. Likewise the criminal "ID Shopping" where passports and other documents are stolen to order.

They had a little bacvkfire on that after Dubai.

But, these systems do seem completely screwed.

None of them were caught. Never have been. Probably they had disguise which was taking into account all of the video cameras.

People are generally unaware that you can spend all day, close up, with people. Day after day. And that is not what they look like. But, with teeth implants, high quality, well secured wigs, glasses, been going on since the 80s.

And quick change, too. Helps evade surveillance.

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