"But do buy my book."
More "revelations" from the Edward Snowden trove of NSA secrets. We're told that the U.S. spy agency "routinely" adds backdoors to routers and other hardware, before they're exported.
Cue: Obvious comparisons to China and Huawei. USA! USA!
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers argue the rights and wrongs.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Glenn Greenwald goes Grauniad:
For years, the US government loudly warned the world that Chinese...internet devices pose a "threat" because they...give the Chinese government the ability to spy on anyone using them. Yet [the NSA has] been engaged in precisely the activity that the US accused the Chinese of doing.
…[But] a June 2010 report from the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development department [says it] routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers and other computer network devices being exported...implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. MORE
Don Clark and Danny Yadron add on:
There is no indication that U.S. companies were aware of the practice. ... A spokesman for Cisco...noted [Greenwald] did not mention the company by name. ... “Cisco does not work with any government to weaken our products for exploitation.” ... A spokeswoman for Juniper Networks...declined to comment.
…An NSA spokeswoman [said] “NSA’s interest in any given technology is driven by [its] use...by foreign intelligence targets. The United States pursues its intelligence mission with care to ensure that innocent users...are not affected.” MORE
And Alex Wilhelm crunches the allegation:
Backdooring American technology not only dramatically undercuts its potential attractiveness...but also represents an almost comical hypocrisy.
…Intercepting devices, which is called “interdiction,” is part of the NSA’s toolbox. It was previously reported that the NSA intercepts laptops and other electronic devices. That it would do so with American servers...is therefore not too surprising. MORE
So David Mayes claims some insider knowledge:
The technical intricacies of tampering with network switches to enable snooping would be interesting to explore. The two companies most involved in this work at that time were Israeli: Narus and P-Cube. I worked for P-Cube, later bought by Cisco Systems.
…The complexities of pulling off such tampering are mind-boggling, and the potential further reputation damage to big name networking equipment companies is incalculable. MORE
But this pseudonymous commentator isn't bothered:
Is it so bad [if] the US is doing this? ... And the US didn't do it first, China did. ... Huweii products are in virtually every home and business in America and abroad, and you don't even realize it. ... So, it's basically like nuclear weapons: mutually assured destruction
…It's common sense that if your enemy has better intel, and you opt for none....you've already been conquered, you just don't know it yet. MORE
Meanwhile, a slightly hyperbolic cbybear sings A Question Of Trust:
Nice job NSA.
…You just single-handedly killed the entire US tech industry. ... No one will ever trust US hardware again. MORE
And Joe Frisch agrees—even if the allegations are untrue:
Even if this is a lie, the NSA has done enough that it will likely be believed.
…Yes the NSA has done grave damage to US tech industry. They likely have also drastically weakened our national defense. ... I don't think it was intentional, just people applying 20th century ideas to 21st century conflicts. The sort of thinking that causes great nations to become quaint has-beens. MORE
But fnord123 eyerolls furiously:
NSA apologist trope #57: [insert foreign country that has no 4th amendment] routinely does the same.
…This is one of the dumbest arguments in the...playbook. Gee, we are as bad as China. ... Great job! MORE
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