FBI Outed Breaking Into The US Internet?
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2010-12-15 15:23 by Karl Denninger
in Liberty , 2 references Ignore this thread
FBI Outed Breaking Into The US Internet?

Oh boy....

Of course I don't like it when my private mail is forwarded.  However the "little ethic" of a private mail being forwarded is much smaller than the "big ethic" of government paying companies to pay open source developers (a member of a community-of-friends) to insert privacy-invading holes in software.

I have no way to vet or verify this.

However, be aware that a sizable number of implementations of internet security systems are based on the OpenBSD framework, as OpenBSD has been widely regarded for a very long time as one of the more-secure reference implementations.

There have been persistent rumors on The Internet for years that back doors have existed in various vendor's firmware that would allow the US Government to log in undetected and redirect data streams to places they desire.  The latter - redirection and "mirroring" is a common and legitimate diagnostic function.  The ability to use it without generating any sort of log with a "back door" password is not!

Again, these rumors have been persistent for years and have implicated a number of vendors.  I have not published them in the past primarily because I have not been able to vet them nor get anyone to admit "on the record" in a form that I can reproduce that the back doors are there. 

Some of these rumors date back to when I ran my ISP.  I can tell you that if they existed in the firmware at that time, my diligent attempts to detect it being used (yes, real people have packet capture hardware as well as spooks) failed to do so.  That doesn't mean it didn't exist - it only means that on my network it was not activated to direct traffic to "somewhere else."  In fact, I had a rather sophisticated surveillance system looking for evidence of exactly that for several months at one point.  None was found.

But this is a very specific allegation.  If it's present then one must assume that the key is not in fact secret and any encrypted traffic using these facilities, which implicates SSH, IPSEC and other similar things, such as VPN sessions, has been compromised.

Note that this likely means that the majority of so-called "secure" credit card validation transactions that run over networks without an "air gap" are also likely insecure.

It probably doesn't implicated SSL web sessions.

Probably.

The person "fingered" has vehemently denied involvement with the FBI:

Lets get right to the point and set the record straight: I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with or employed by the FBI or any other government agency.

The truth will come out when the code and all prior commits are audited, and it will be.  One of the nice things about open source is that the CVS trees, containing the entire commit history related to the particular software in question, remain available with all previous edits able to be discerned.

If there's something to this, we'll know quite soon.

In the meantime it is my position that one must treat all allegedly-secured communication channels that cannot be verified as "clean" as if they are "contaminated" or "breached" and this is not limited to OpenBSD as this code, if it was compromised, must be assumed compromised everywhere else it has been used until proved otherwise.