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Conspiracy to Limit Broadband Speeds?

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posted on May, 17 2014 @ 02:58 PM
I was recently reading about Google Fiber. It was advertized to be "100 times faster than today's basic broadband". I thought this was quite interesting, even more so when you combine it with the growing number of people upset over the internet and cable company 'monopolies' (for lack of a better word). At the moment, I only summed this up to Google putting their foot in a door at the perfect time. I also read a conspiracy that if broadband internet was faster, it would help Google's servers process queries faster, so in a way they were trying to force "competitors" (broadband ISPs) to raise their speeds to help Google in the long run (win-win situation). I shrugged this off after about 10 min and continued on with my day (I hear more interesting conspiracies on ATS).

This really didn't raise any other flags to me. I mean, my internet is fast enough for my needs. Sure, going at speeds "100x" what I'm used to sounds amazing.. exhilerating even, but it didn't really give me any reason to question these speeds the typical broadband user is limited to. I come from the days of dial-up.. broadband still blows my mind, I'm not ready to complain about it yet.

Fast forward a couple months, I am currently reading Glenn Greenwald's new book about the Snowden leaks.

He touches on something interesting, I will present an excerpt

"Upstream" collection (from fiber-optic cables) and direct collection from the servers of Internet Companies (PRISM) account for most of the records gathered by the NSA. In addition to such sweeping surveillance, though, the NSA also carries out what it calls Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), placing malware in individual computers to surveil their users. When the agency succeeds in inserting such malware, it is able, in NSA terminology, to "own" the computer: to view every keystroke entered and every screen viewed. The Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division responsible for this work is, in effect, the agency's own private hacker unit.

The hacking practice is quite widespread in its own right: one NSA document indicates that the agency has succeeded in infecting at least fifty thousand individual computers with a type of malware called "Quantum Insertion".

Okay. So what's this have to do with internet speeds you might ask?

I wanted to learn more about this Malware dubbed "Quantum Insertion". Turns out the Quantum Insertion is the name of the method used to inject the malware. My first hit is what brought me back to thinking about why broadband speeds have been under scrutiny.

Speaking at the European Parliament, Jacob Appelbaum has disclosed a program called "Quantum Insertion" where the NSA is compromising consumer-level routers in homes and using them to redirect traffic to "FoxAcid" servers. As he describes it, FoxAcid is a system that detects the activity of targets and the system inserts itself as a service you are trying to connect to. It then masquerades itself as the service the target is trying to connect to while gathering and profiling the targets system for vulnerabilities in their browser or client software. It then can attack the target in a purely automated fashion and compromise the computer of the target with no human intervention.

The Quantum Insertion program allows the NSA to hit targets abroad. Because the FoxAcid system relies on a "race condition" on the internet, the fake page data has to beat the real page data in order for it to be loaded onto the targets PC. If the NSA is not physically between those servers, it cannot under normal conditions intercept the targets request and push a fake page from FoxAcid fast enough to beat the real data. Quantum Insertion resolves this problem by compromising consumer-level routers and using them to redirect traffic to and from the target.

I'll let you guys think about this.

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 04:18 PM
Thanks for the info......I personally think any normal means to protect your router would be a joke to any professional wishing access from the NSA. Perhaps someone knows of an encryption idea that would give them problems or actually prevent them?

It would seem that the ISP speeds should not be a problem they could overcome though. No?

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 04:33 PM
Jacob Appelbaum talks about it in this video.

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 05:11 PM
a reply to: introV

I think that when we talk about 'interenet speeds' we are actually talking about 'carrying capacity' rather then absolute speed perceived by any one user. It's rather like electricity wherein a system is designed and rated at it's maximum capacity.

With internet the speed of data you receive is based on many factors, your computer, your ISP, the site and or sites you are accessing and numberous other things I've no idea of as it's not my field.

These huge 'backbones' are really for big corporate (and governmental) use. We, the consuming public, get the dregs by the time it filters down to us. And this will only get worse under the proposed new FCC regulations.

That's why it is so important to support NET NEUTRALITY. Or at least one of the reasons.

There could come a day, very soon, when you and I can't access ATS becuase ATS can't afford the rates to Google, Amazon, etc. to put their content in front of the line.

It will be the "Filter Bubble" of Google (see book by that name) to an exponentail degree.

It isn't about consumer access - it's all about Advertisor access to consumers. The day will come where the only content you can access as a private consumer will be advertizing content masquerading as content. The job listings are already looking for "Content Writers" rather then "Copy Writers".

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 05:17 PM

As you can see, I don't think Google fiber can 100x my speed, but that's besides the point. /endbrag

You may be on to something here, and I can tell you I am certainly on a watch list, and if not they are slacking. Some of the things I have posted on Facebook would throw up a 'domestic terrorist' flag at the NSA in a heartbeat. lol.

Any who, are there any known virus scans that would detect this malware the NSA uses anyone? I already have avast AV, and scan with malwarebytes fairly regularly, as well as having both a hardware firewall (cisco E4200 router) and zonealarm firewall(I torrent quite a bit, and you can never be too safe.), so I would hope I would have a higher chance of not being infected.

Then again, the NSA has probably worked with the AV companies to put in a back door. The bastards.

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 11:10 PM
a reply to: andr3w68

The name of the malware isn't known, at this time anyway.

The depth of which the government (NSA) works with corporations, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't show up on anti-virus scans

posted on May, 18 2014 @ 02:25 AM
a reply to: introV

Broadband quality in the US sucks. If you compare us to a country like South Korea or Japan you'll see how far behind we are. Among all the developed nations in the world we're at the bottom of the list. Instead it's due to a ridiculous business model that makes ISP's local monopolies and a congress that has no technical ability and thus no ability to understand what the legislation they pass means.

You see, the ISP's have divided the country up into regions and then given each other control of these regions with agreements to not compete in another ISP's area. Because of this, each ISP is largely free from the idea of competition, what "competition" they do have is purely manufactured as smaller companies that lease a certain amount of bandwidth. For example in my town we have one company that offers cable internet. We also have a smaller company that offers cable. This smaller company can't afford the cost of actually getting on the network however, instead what they do is lease a portion of the larger ISP's with the stipulation that they can make whatever terms of service they wish. The larger company is still in ultimate control over that network. They do this because once market saturation is reached and they have unused bandwidth they can sell that excess bandwidth off to someone else and let them worry about finding the customers for it. It's not real competition because it's all still reliant on the main companies servers/infrastructure.

As for the network itself, even the major ISP's couldn't afford to build it. Instead the federal government built it, originally the ISP's were given a grant to build a broadband network but they pocketed the money and told the feds that if they gave even more money they would really build it. So the federal government gave them more. Again the ISP's pocketed it and basically said "we don't know how to build it, thanks for the money though". So the feds eventually built the network and handed it over to the ISP's on the condition that because they were getting a network worth several hundred billion dollars for free they would pass the cost savings onto the consumers... also they were supposed to upgrade it. They did neither.

Now, because the ISP's are largely also the TV providers they don't want to upgrade the network because it makes the TV side of their business obsolete. Instead they want to charge for both products. There is no competition, there is collusion, and they have no incentive to offer a better product. In fact they have every incentive to make internet speeds worse.

What you're referring to with quantum insertion has nothing to do with broadband speeds. Data moves through fiber optics at the speed of light, this is a constant. Internet speeds refer to capacity rather than actual speed. Imagine water flowing through a pipe, with a larger pipe more water flows at a time but it all flows at the same speed. What their program does is contrary to the data seeking the shortest path to it's destination (the way the internet is built), the NSA reroutes the data to take a longer path. While this happens the NSA sends their phony data along the shorter path and the fake NSA data reaches the destination first and is therefore used.

a reply to: andr3w68

South Korea offers 1 GB/sec connections for $20/month US. The brag connection you have right now is considered the barebones lowest standard service there. It is to them what 56k is to us.

That type of connection is hardly something to brag over... it's something to be ashamed over that despite being in our position in the world that is the best we can have.

posted on May, 18 2014 @ 08:29 AM

For more on the issue.

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