Story 2014-05-25 3MX What does GCHQ know about our devices that we don't?

What does GCHQ know about our devices that we don't?

Anonymous Coward
in hardware on (#3MX)
story imageWhile the initial disclosures by Edward Snowden revealed how US authorities are conducting mass surveillance on the world's communications, further reporting by the Guardian newspaper uncovered that UK intelligence services were just as involved in this global spying apparatus. Faced with the prospect of further public scrutiny and accountability, the UK Government gave the Guardian newspaper an ultimatum: hand over the classified documents or destroy them. The Guardian decided that having the documents destroyed was the best option.

That's the beginning of the story, not the end of it, and it gets more troubling as you read on.
Have a look at this article over at Privacy International [ed. note: an oxymoron if there ever were one] and find out that the UK's security services had an unnatural interest in keyboards and certain components of modern, mobile telephone technology.

Any questions? Just call.
Reply 4 comments

Smells Like Bull Droppings (Score: 2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-26 01:19 (#1WX)

Yeah, saw this referenced on the other site. Seems exactly like alarmist luddite claptrap to me.

Tiny tiny cheap keyboard control chips have magical keylogging powers that two generations of hackers have failed to notice? Bull offal.

More likely they destroyed multiple functional parts and a few got highlighted here, for conspiracy theory fun times.

Keyboards retain fingerprints. That's about the extent of the exposure outside the hard drive.

Extraordinary claims require... SOME frickin' evidence.

Re: Smells Like Bull Droppings (Score: 1)

by on 2014-05-26 19:55 (#1X4)

You sound like you don't know anything at all about computers. While the processing power in a SD card is just about between a third and half of the very first PCs that's more than plenty. The chip in the SD card is tiny, cheap, and fairly old (ARM2 is common, I've used the numbers from ARMv2 and ARMv2a and compared to the first 80386).

From :
Intel 286 2.66 MIPS at 12.5 MHz0.20.21982 [5]
ARM2 4 MIPS at 8 MHz0.50.51986

The people in the article are looking at one aspect: which components got destroyed by the GcHQ when they wanted to remove data and possible traces of data. It doesn't mean these are implants (if you want pictures of the implants go to Schneiers blog and look at the TAO stuff, there are some pictures there courtesy of the NSA themselves).

"Luddite" is the new "racist": a self-inflicted insult to whoever utters it demonstrating their lack of cognition and a total submission which isn't the survival mechanism you may hope it is (submission is irrelevant).

The NSA has done what the Unabomber couldn't achieve.

Re: Smells Like Bull Droppings (Score: 1)

by on 2014-05-26 20:02 (#1X5)

Err that post wasn't finsihed at all, I discovered I had been a little bit wrong (ARM2 is more powerful that the first PCs) and was correcting myself when it accidentally got posted partially through the edit. Sorry about that :|

I'm not saying the NSA has any need to use ancient stuff like ARM2, as we all ought to know they have their own foundries and could easily make task-focused implants small enough to be unnoticeable to the naked eye.

Re: Smells Like Bull Droppings (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-26 20:25 (#1X6)

And you sound like a profoundly stupid twit. If particular computers are or were targeted, the size of the keylogger or storage medium doesn't matter one whit to most of us. Oh shocking, no shat, people and governments can install spygear including keyloggers on specific targets.

Only alarmist Luddite morons such as you would countenance the implication that this has ANY bearing on ANY mass produced or deployed keyboards or other PC parts in use by uninteresting ordinary people.

And this story is ONLY interesting if it applies to more than the usual set of espionage targets.

Shame on you for your dimwittedness and alarmist twaddle.