Originally posted by PlausibleDeniability
I've always believed that there are agencies out there running sniffers on everyone's communications looking for anything that may be of interest to
them. What a great intelligence gathering tool it would be. I would be amazed if there wasn't a program out there like that.
Very interesting project, at least what we know of it. For an introduction into this technology and its limitations (at least as of the around 2000)
take a look at the following link.
Introduction to Carnivore...
In September, 2000, we were asked by the Chief Scientist of the US Department of Justice to identify technical issues with the FBI's Carnivore
Internet wiretap system that should be addressed by an independent review. On October 2, we met with Justice officials in Washington, DC, where we
identified various areas of concern and issues that we believed must be addressed by any meaningful review process.
In case it's not obvious, Carnivore is designed to find the "red meat" in the otherwise lame chatter going on in the rest of the world. The
problem, from a technical perspective, and one of the reasons for the call for immunity for the telecom industry, is that packets that are captured
off of any digitized system (meaning almost any system these days - internet, VoIP, most phone connections - even most land lines have at least one
digital hop, etc.) is that putting the packets back together in a logical sequence is often times not possible, so you end up with more information
than you legally have a right to (i.e. legally meaning as determined by a court order to tap a line or monitor a computer system).
For those of you with technical backgrounds - just imagine this: you are trying to splice together TCP/IP headers for several millions of
communications (although from any one box the number is much smaller, but it is still very large for any mid to moderate sized server). This is a
non-trivial task at best.
There is much more information out there about Carnivore for those interested.
I run a web hosting company and have at least one server on which I am convinced was at one time being targeted. Whether this was by one of the
alphabet groups or just a curious black-hat hacker I'll never know. I happen to be a white/black hat myself though and did document the anomaly, but
was unable to ascertain what was listened in on, whose accounts were tapped, when it started and when exactly it stopped (although it appeared to stop
shortly after I began to implement counter measures to trace those tracing me - ironically, the only tracks I could definitely trace back went to an
IRS IP address (?) - which did not make obvious sense to me at the time, nor does it now).