cr> IP: NSA actively sniffing key Internet routers — so cla


Craig A. Johnson


Date:          Sat, 17 Feb 1996 10:40:07 -0500
From:          Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>
Subject:       IP: NSA actively sniffing key Internet routers -- so claims
               Global Net News

Article 1706 of alt.politics.datahighway:
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996

from Global Net News
   [Want to know the easiest way... Puzzle Palace coauthor Wayne
   Madsen, in
an article written for the June 1995 issue of Computer Fraud &
Security Bulletin (Elsevier Advanced Technology Publications), wrote
that "according to well-placed sources within the Federal Government
and the Internet service provider industry, the National Security
Agency (NSA) is actively sniffing several key Internet router and
gateway hosts."

   Madsen says the NSA concentrates its surveillance on destination
origination hosts, as well as "sniffing" for specific key words and
phrases. He claims his sources have confirmed that the NSA has
contracted with an unnamed private company to develop the software
needed to capture Internet data of interest to the agency.

   According to Madsen, the NSA monitors traffic primarily at two
routers controlled by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA), one in College Park, MD (dubbed "Fix East") and
another at NASA Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, CA ("Fix West").

   Other NSA Internet sniffers, he said, operate at busy routers knows
Mae East (an East Coast hub), Mae West (a West Coast hub), CIX
(reportedly based in San Jose), and SWAB (a northern Virginia router
operated by Bell Atlantic).

   Madsen says the NSA may also be monitoring traffic at network
points, the large Internet gateways operated by regional and
long-distance service providers. The NAPs allegedly under surveillance
are in Pennsauken, NJ (operated by Sprint), Chicago (run by AmeriTech
and Bell Communications Research), and San Francisco (Pacific Bell).

   "Madsen claims the NSA has deals with Microsoft, Lotus, and
   Netscape to
prevent anonymous email."

   "One senior Federal Government source has reported that NSA has
particularly successful in convincing key members of the US software
industry to cooperate with it in producing software that makes
Internet messages easier for NSA to intercept, and if they are
encrypted, to decode," Madsen wrote. "A knowledgeable government
source claims that the NSA has concluded agreements with Microsoft,
Lotus and Netscape to permit the introduction of the means to prevent
the anonymity of Internet electronic mail, the use of cryptographic
key-escrow, as well as software industry acceptance of the
NSA-developed Digital Signature Standard (DSS)."

   Is the NSA really snooping on the Net? And if they are, would that
violate the agency's charter, which specifically prohibits it from
spying within the US?

   "Well, Net traffic is routed from God knows where to God knows
around the world," says George Washington University Professor Lance
Hoffman, a professor of Communications and Telecommunications Systems
Policy at George Washington University. "So if the NSA is doing this,
they could say they are not violating their charter not to spy in the
US. That's the thing. Intelligent routers send stuff any which way."


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