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Re: New details on Skype eavesdropping

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  • Pascal
    Hi Thad, thanks for sharing this info about Skype. Although I have to say, that I was not the least surprised to read that they were cooperating with
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 16, 2013
      Hi Thad,


      thanks for sharing this info about Skype. Although I have to say, that I was
      not the least surprised to read that they were 'cooperating' with intelligence services. I believe even Microsoft admitted to grant the NSA access to all Live & Hotmail accounts.

      Is there anything we can escape the prying eyes of our political systems? Having one's own mailserver, physically hosted at a save and personally controlled location, with encrypted UNIX-system running on it and encrypted mails? Or rather stay silent from now on for ever? :-)


      Perhabs a bit off-topic:

      What do you think about the farcical fuss foreign governments are officiallly making about the NSA spying on us (non-Americans)? I mean, there is nothing we, or our governments, can do about it. 'Having serious talks with the Americans about their inteligence practices', like our chancellor and the interior secretary announced on TV? The secretary even went to Washington for talks, he achieved nothing more than making a fool of himself, in the US and in Germany! They gotta be kidding, as if the super power United States would care?!

      Oh and by the way our own intelligence services are cooperating with the Americans (And getting information they could not otherwise), but as the government's spokeperson told the press: "Of course the BND (Germany's CIA) is working together with our American friends and allies. No, I can not say anything about the extent of this cooperation, or whether the government had known about PRISM, or whether we received information gathered by PRISM and the like"

      People here are pretty cross but sensibly realize at the same time, that there is nothing we can do about it.

      Just my 50 cents,

      Pascal


      --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, Thad Floryan <thad@...> wrote:
      >
      > There was a recent short thread here about how and why Skype is being
      > used for IT employment interviews and similar interactions. Given new
      > info you may want to reconsider your use of Skype especially now that
      > Microsoft owns it lock, stock and barrel since 2011 per:
      >
      > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype
      >
      > The 15-JULY-2013 Bruce Schneier CRYPTO-GRAM email report is full of
      > incredible new revelations of NSA (and other) spying and I've only
      > focused on Skype in this posting.
      >
      > For those who don't know who Bruce Schneier is:
      >
      > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Schneier
      >
      > http://www.schneier.com
      >
      > FWIW, "Tiny URLs" from Bruce Schneier are the only ones Itrust.
      >
      > Following is a copy'n'paste of just the "New Details on Skype
      > Eavesdropping" portion of this month's l-o-n-g newsletter which
      > is available in its entirety at Bruce's website (above URL). You
      > can also subscribe and receive the CryptoGram email on the 15th
      > of every month [ever since 15-MAY-1998 as I have].
      >
      > This article, on the cozy relationship between the commercial
      > personal-data industry and the intelligence industry, has new
      > information on the security of Skype.
      >
      > Skype, the Internet-based calling service, began its own secret
      > program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical
      > issues in making Skype calls readily available to intelligence
      > agencies and law enforcement officials, according to people
      > briefed on the program who asked not to be named to avoid
      > trouble with the intelligence agencies.
      >
      > Project Chess, which has never been previously disclosed, was
      > small, limited to fewer than a dozen people inside Skype, and
      > was developed as the company had sometimes contentious talks
      > with the government over legal issues, said one of the people
      > briefed on the project. The project began about five years ago,
      > before most of the company was sold by its parent, eBay, to
      > outside investors in 2009. Microsoft acquired Skype in an $8.5
      > billion deal that was completed in October 2011.
      >
      > A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent
      > changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of
      > Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It
      > appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with
      > the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the
      > company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a
      > former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the
      > Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined
      > Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.
      >
      > Reread that Skype denial from last July, knowing that at the time the
      > company knew that they were giving the NSA access to customer
      > communications. Notice how it is precisely worded to be technically
      > accurate, yet leave the reader with the wrong conclusion. This is
      > where we are with all the tech companies right now; we can't trust
      > their denials, just as we can't trust the NSA -- or the FBI -- when it
      > denies programs, capabilities, or practices.
      >
      > Back in January, we wondered whom Skype lets spy on their users.
      > Now we know.
      >
      > The article quoted:
      >
      > https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/technology/silicon-valley-and-spy-agency-bound-by-strengthening-web.html
      > or http://tinyurl.com/qdl249l
      >
      > Skype's denial:
      >
      > http://blogs.skype.com/2012/07/26/what-does-skypes-architecture-do/
      >
      > We can't trust the NSA:
      >
      > http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/details_of_nsa.html
      >
      > https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/director-national-intelligences-word-games-explained-how-government-deceived
      > or http://tinyurl.com/ma7dk5j
      >
      > https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/wordgames
      >
      > http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/nsa-numbers/
      >
      > http://fabiusmaximus.com/2013/06/11/nsa-surveillance-51264/
      >
      > My post from last January:
      >
      > https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/01/who_does_skype.html
      >
    • thad_floryan
      ... Hi Pascal, This is a preliminary reply -- I ll have more to write later in response to the remainder of your article. Note I kind of keep an ear to the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 16, 2013
        --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "Pascal" <pascal.bernhard@...> wrote:
        > [...]
        > Is there anything we can escape the prying eyes of our political
        > systems? Having one's own mailserver, physically hosted at a save and
        > personally controlled location, with encrypted UNIX-system running on
        > it and encrypted mails? Or rather stay silent from now on for ever?
        > [...]

        Hi Pascal,

        This is a preliminary reply -- I'll have more to write later in response
        to the remainder of your article.

        Note I kind of "keep an ear" to the ground to remain current with what's
        happening behind the scenes. Subscribing to the following two mailing
        lists is one way to remain current re: government issues:

        1. Federation of American Scientists -- Secrecy News

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_American_Scientists

        The Secrecy News Blog is at:
        http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

        To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:
        http://blogs.fas.org/secrecy/subscribe/

        Secrecy News is archived at:
        http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

        2. Bruce Schneier's CRYPTO-GRAM

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

        http://www.schneier.com

        http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram.html subscribe, back issues

        http://www.schneier.com/blog

        Following Slashdot and WIRED magazine is not a bad idea either:

        http://slashdot.org/ subscribe for daily & weekly emails

        http://www.wired.com/

        Information I've heard strongly suggests the NSA had a "breakthrough"
        in being able to decrypt anything circa 2008-2010. My gut feeling
        tells me it is with quantum computing. Searching "quantum computing"
        finds an amazing list of hits including the following on just the
        first page of hits:

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

        Google's and Lockheed-Martin's quantum computers:
        http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/06/d-wave-quantum-computer-usc/

        http://www.howstuffworks.com/quantum-computer.htm

        http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/a-quantum-computing-problem-solved/

        http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-07/quantum-computer-gets-double-check

        http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/Canadian+quantum+computers+better+than+humans+everything/8602142/story.html

        http://www.naturalnews.com/040859_skynet_quantum_computing_d-wave_systems.html

        Center for Quantum Computing:
        http://www.qubit.org/

        http://scienceblog.com/64622/size-and-memory-both-matter-in-quantum-computing/

        http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/physicist-plans-quantum-computing-venture/483011.html

        and more. We're getting closer to understanding some secrets of the
        universe and perhaps within 100 years we'll be able to re-engineer
        reality. That's been one of my quests ever since first seeing the
        1956 movie FORBIDDEN PLANET ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049223/ )
        which is what stimulated me to pursue math and all the sciences.

        Thad
      • thad_floryan
        ... If you only have time to read one article, the above article is it. Short extract: [...] Google acquires Skynet quantum computers from D-Wave
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 16, 2013
          --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:
          > [...]
          > http://www.naturalnews.com/040859_skynet_quantum_computing_d-wave_systems.html
          > [...]

          If you only have time to read one article, the above article is it.

          Short extract:

          " [...]
          " Google acquires "Skynet" quantum computers from D-Wave
          "
          " According to an article published in Scientific American, Google
          " and NASA have now teamed up to purchase a 512-qubit quantum
          " computer from D-Wave. The computer is called "D-Wave Two" because
          " it's the second generation of the system. The first system was a
          " 128-qubit computer. Gen two is now a 512-qubit computer.
          "
          " This does not mean the gen two system is merely four times more
          " powerful than the gen one system. Thanks to the nature of qubits,
          " it's actually 2 to the power of 384 times more powerful (2^384)
          " than the gen one system. In other words, it out-computes the
          " first D-Wave computer by a factor so large that you can't even
          " imagine it in your human brain.
          " [...]

          The SciAM article is this one:

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=google-nasa-snap-up-quantum-computer-dwave-two

          When I think back to what we were doing at the Electronic Defense Labs
          in the 1960s -- building THz computing devices on diamond and sapphire
          substrates -- with NONE of that technology yet appearing in commercial
          products today, 47 years later, my mind boggles contemplating what is
          possibly being designed, built and used today by agencies such as the
          NSA, NRO, and others.

          The above abstract from from NaturalNews reveals what is commercially
          available today with quantum computing. I now firmly believe the NSA
          did achieve the breakthrough circa 2008-2010 and are able to easily
          and quickly decrypt anything.

          Thad
        • C. Beck
          ... 2^384 is the equivalent of ~(4 x 10^115) in scientific notation. I agree it is a big number. If its value represented the number of sodium atoms in a lump
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 19, 2013
            On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM, thad_floryan <thad@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:
            > > [...]
            > > http://www.naturalnews.com/040859_skynet_quantum_computing_d-wave_systems.html
            > > [...]
            >
            > If you only have time to read one article, the above article is it.
            >
            > Short extract:
            >
            > " [...]
            > " Google acquires "Skynet" quantum computers from D-Wave
            > "
            > " According to an article published in Scientific American, Google
            > " and NASA have now teamed up to purchase a 512-qubit quantum
            > " computer from D-Wave. The computer is called "D-Wave Two" because
            > " it's the second generation of the system. The first system was a
            > " 128-qubit computer. Gen two is now a 512-qubit computer.
            > "
            > " This does not mean the gen two system is merely four times more
            > " powerful than the gen one system. Thanks to the nature of qubits,
            > " it's actually 2 to the power of 384 times more powerful (2^384)
            > " than the gen one system. In other words, it out-computes the
            > " first D-Wave computer by a factor so large that you can't even
            > " imagine it in your human brain.
            > " [...]


            2^384 is the equivalent of ~(4 x 10^115) in scientific notation. I
            agree it is a big number. If its value represented the number of
            sodium atoms in a lump of sodium metal, we would have a lump of metal
            filling up ~(2 x 10^87) cubic meters of space if my math is right (I'd
            like to see that getting tossed in a lake!). In comparison, Wikipedia
            says the sun occupies (1.4 x 10^27) cubic meters of space. But even
            still, the link to scientific america in that article states:

            "the D-Wave Two was above average overall, and that it was 3,600 times
            faster than a leading conventional computer when working on the
            specific type of problem that the quantum computer was built to
            solve."

            Interesting. But what exactly was the "leading conventional
            computer"... A Dell Optiplex running Windows XP home edition?
            The relevant citation is here:
            <http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2482767.2482797>, where it shows
            solutions on the V5 D-Wave chip solved an optimization in about 0.5
            seconds, compared to about 30 minutes for the competition, which was
            described as follows:

            > All software solver tests were carried out on a suite of
            > seven Lenovo ThinkStation S30 0568 workstations, each containing
            > one Intel Xeon E5-2609/2.4GHz Quad-Core processor
            > with 16GB RAM. The operating system was Ubuntu
            > 64-bit 12.04 LTS."

            So moderately better than a Dell Optiplex running Windows XP. I
            wonder if that is Ubuntu with the Unity GUI?

            Here is a link with more details on the D-Wave *One* running with 108
            working Qbits:

            <http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.4595>

            I don't have expertise in quantum computing, or even regular
            computing. But it seems to me like the D-Wave is still very much in
            the "understand how it works" and "figure out how to use it" stage.


            > When I think back to what we were doing at the Electronic Defense Labs
            > in the 1960s -- building THz computing devices on diamond and sapphire
            > substrates -- with NONE of that technology yet appearing in commercial
            > products today, 47 years later, my mind boggles contemplating what is
            > possibly being designed, built and used today by agencies such as the
            > NSA, NRO, and others.
            >
            > The above abstract from from NaturalNews reveals what is commercially
            > available today with quantum computing. I now firmly believe the NSA
            > did achieve the breakthrough circa 2008-2010 and are able to easily
            > and quickly decrypt anything.

            I doubt it. The following article gives a bit more discussion on the
            D-Wave technology and how it has been used to date:
            <http://www.nature.com/news/computing-the-quantum-company-1.13212>.
            Even though academic articles are often a decade behind the relevant
            patents, D-Wave's computer in CA has been in the hands of actively
            publishing researchers for about as long as the company has been
            making it (as I understand it anyway...)







            ----
            Sketchy math with likely errors:
            Volume of sodium: (4E115 atoms) / (6E23 atoms/mole) * (23 g/mol) /
            (0.96 g/cm^3) * (1000000cm^3/m^3)
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