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1999.10.11. - Scottart, echelon keyword inadequacies

Subject: echelon keyword inadequacies
From: "scotartt"
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 23:39:39 +1000

while I wholeheartedly agree with the aim of jam echelon day; i must query the use of the keywords, in a single block, as below, as a method for achieving this.

firstly to 'jam echelon' you should at least pay attention to the fact that UKUSA has five member nations; only one is interested particularly in right-wing patriot terrorists and branch dravidians. this keyword selection is simply a valorisation of a certain brand of politics as being the major perceived threat of the 'world government' that UKUSA so obviously serves. the keyword list does not pay much attention to the global situation; focussing instead as ever almost exclusively on american domestic interests as opposed to their foreign allies & adventures.

it pays no attention to the geophysical aspects of the various echelon stations around the globe. for example stations in the asia pacific might be more sensitive to indonesian military traffic and chinese triad activity as much as any iran-contra scandal. why would the americans looks for contra-drugs-for-arms conspiracies in radio traffic over s.e. asia when such signals would more easily be found in virginia anyway? even the nsa does not have limitless resources -- or i would at least hope it would not stupidly squander them so recklessly.

remember echelon is global. isn't what's being reacted against?

these keywords are naive and inadequate. intelligence systems do not operate in such idiotic isolation. intercepts are often targeted, e.g. phone calls in an area, email from a person monitored, perhaps because an attack is suspected, or a target identified. general signals analysis would also be carried about -- to determine nominal levels of different signals -- pattern analysis of signals deviations would be monitored and categorised as well as _pattern analysis of communication content_. keyword filters? hah!

targets might be monitored for changes in signals patterns; which give valuable intelligence in its own right quite apart from the value of the actual content. to illustrate, if a person suddenly starts sending many encrypted messages one day to highly unusual addresses, this might be important information which can be acted upon immediately, before the contents of the messages are decrypted. if all was being done was simple keyword seaching, such intelligence would be long lost before its importance was ever known.

simple keyword scanning isn't enough, and i'll bet that operators of dictionary will simply be able to filter out en-masse that large block of similar keywords together as below.

as much as sending nonsense messages with keywords attached, people could do as the following:

completely disrupt your usual online habits/patterns, if possible.

open a hotmail account. on the day, suddenly send it dozens of small, encyrpted messages.

find email addresses, telephone numbers, inside defence establishments and government departments. send a mixture of clear text and encrypted (don't use your own key) information. eg.

"to: worker@nuclear.facility
from: george b. boring
subject: i am the unassuming little man

in the funny cardigan with the bow tie. we spoke last week at the bar after your disappointment. attached is the information about our products that you seek. we assure you complete satisfaction in all our operations. "

attach an encrypted picture of an atom bomb plan, or something like that. in fact, attach an triply encrypted copy of another encryption key. send another message some hours later, with the instruction "use the key I sent you to encode our futher communications".

make up fake plans to seize executive power in jakarta by military coup and install a junta. email it to every single indonesian military email address you can lay your hands on.

encypt sensitive commerical information from your workplace and email it to your friends. (if you don't wish to damage your employer you can always use a totally bogus key, you coward).

ring your friends and talk about the type of security responses you expect from the authorities for the different operations and your agreed responses (when to escalate, when to back down, and so forth). mention the healthy profit you derived from the whitegoods supplied thru "our contact in Mexico City", and remind your leiutenants that they will have an excellent selection of arms available because of it. Detail some.

write love letters that purport to be from the CMDR US SEVENTH FLEET to his bondage mistress in Honululu. use freemail accounts for that one; include a plausible explanation.

try phoning known government extension numbers and make indiscrete inquiries about things they might be interested in.

have an email discussion on naval ship movements from your home port with chinese journalists. amke sure you keep a detailed account of the numbers on their bow. extra brownies for looing up in a jane's for the ship names. discuss their operational capabilities and potential deployment assignments (this information is often publically available).

and so on!
happy jamming,

----- Original Message -----
> From: Wired News (http://www.wired.com/)
>
> updated 3:00 a.m. 9.Oct.99.PDT
>
> Hackers Ascend Upper 'Echelon'
> by James Glave
>
> 3:00 a.m. 6.Oct.99.PDT
> Mossad. Bomb. Davidian. MI5.
> If the hunch of a loose-knit group of cyber-activists is correct, the above
> words will trip the keyword recognition filter on a global spy system partly
> managed by the US National Security Agency.
>
> The near-mythical worldwide computer spy network reportedly scans all email,
> packet traffic, telephone conversations -- and more -- around the world, in
> an effort to ferret out potential terrorist or enemy communications.

[ ...]

> On 21 October, Thompson, along with Doug McIntosh, a reporter for the
> federation's news service, and members of the hacktivism mailing list
> community, invite anyone concerned about the system to append a list of
> intriguing words to their emails.
>
> Specifically, they suggest the following keywords:
>
> FBI CIA NSA IRS ATF BATF DOD WACO RUBY RIDGE OKC OKLAHOMA CITY MILITIA GUN
> HANDGUN MILGOV ASSAULT RIFLE TERRORISM BOMB DRUG HORIUCHI KORESH DAVIDIAN
> KAHL POSSE COMITATUS RANDY WEAVER VICKIE WEAVER SPECIAL FORCES LINDA
> THOMPSON SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP SOG SOF DELTA FORCE CONSTITUTION BILL OF
> RIGHTS WHITEWATER POM PARK ON METER ARKANSIDE IRAN CONTRAS OLIVER NORTH
> VINCE FOSTER PROMIS MOSSAD NASA MI5 ONI CID AK47 M16 C4 MALCOLM X REVOLUTION
> CHEROKEE HILLARY BILL CLINTON GORE GEORGE BUSH WACKENHUT TERRORIST TASK
> FORCE 160 SPECIAL OPS 12TH GROUP 5TH GROUP SF

[ ... ]