Vodafone. Ericsson. Greece.
Three totally unrelated words. Can't even imagine how they could be relevant to this story.
An almighty row broke out on Tuesday over the cops-only backdoor Huawei builds into its cellular network products and who exactly can access it. The US government, via an anonymously sourced story in the Wall Street Journal, said this so-called "lawful interception interface" is baked into Huawei's cellular network gear, and …
Huawei built their kit to comply with US laws requiring them to provide a backdoor to police for legal wiretaps.
The US government supports the existence of this backdoor and all other competing kit also contains it.
The US government argues that because Huawei followed the law it should be banned as a security risk.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.”
Everything you say is correct, but *in addition*, there is “tromboning”.
The US government maintain the right to have all communications of their own citizens while in other countries, re-routed all the way back to and from the US. This allows them to listen in on their own citizens abroad without having to ask the governments of those states for permission to access the (3GPP standardised) legal intercept interface.
And if you are wondering how the hell the roamed-to network is supposed to verify your citizenship status......
Your precautions make zero difference.
“local phone” is irrelevant because the phone identity (IMEI) isn’t used for much of anything by the Core Network, except a blacklisting check for stolen phones. Things depend on IMSI, which is carried on SIM.
Local SIM is slightly relevant, but is only one of the checks. The main point is that most people have paid by card at some point - either contract, but even PAYG. The billing system knows your card number, and the first six digits of that identify the issuing bank and country. So that covers most people, unless you have a local bank account too.
And finally, paying for a burner phone in cash or cash equivalent, simply guarantees your call and internet traffic being tromboned to the US, because the local telco can’t prove you’re *not* a US citizen.
And why do other countries telco’s sign up to this crap? Because doing so is a condition of any US telco signing roaming and peering agreements with them.
Of course, in certain countries, some very close to us indeed, the US simply plonks its interception apparatus in convenient places on that country's back bone and listen in to everything. Of course,if they spot something that might concern that home country, and it suits the US to do so, it may share that information.
Interesting this story comes out about US spying on allies etc
meanwhile the bigger bling story is more backdoor found on Chinese kit - get the feeling we are being played here......
Yes, it's the same story.
In a nutshell: Swiss company Crypto AG wasn't as clean as Swiss manufactured gear normally is, it had been backdoored by the Americans.
This is why you cannot trust gear whose manufacturer does not expose themselves to public testing and validation - which is what Huawei has done, but Cisco not. Hence the amused snorts heard from security specialists worldwide when US people declared Huawei to be unsafe and that the world should use US gear.
Caveat: those evaluations have a limited lifespan, though, you're but one unevaluated update away from a backdoor and you only have to look at the entries for the obfuscated C contest to see what evaluators are up against. It's a job for people far more persistent than I will ever be :).
This is OK:
But the same thing ALLEGED about Huawei is not OK. What am I missing here?
And then there's the fact that Cisco equipment runs the internet right now, and has done so for the last twenty years. I wonder if Cisco equipment might have some backdoors inserted at the behest of the US government. Surely not!!!!
Once again we are confronted by an amusing (?) paradox -- THERE ARE NO 'GOOD GUYS'.
There's really no need for Cisco to laboriously insert and manipulate backdoors when it comes to tapping into UK government business. At a higher point in the stack it's so much easier to search:
$ dig +short mx digital.hmrc.gov.uk
That's just one bit. As you may recall, they also have their hands on your medical records via the NHS..
.. minus the religious bit, though - if they followed the rules like they should, Jedi Master would now be a religion. I'm hoping for a surge of Pastafarians for the next one.
Honestly, they should. It would create all sorts of opportunities for fun, and God knows we need them.
As everyone in the industry knows, LI (lawful interception) is baked into telecom network equipment from ALL vendors. It is mandated by laws and specified in the standards.
The reason law enforcement people worry about messaging apps with strong end-to-end encryption is that when it is used, standard LI is useless for snooping.
The map I'm looking at, the article I'm reading on Wikipedia, and the song I'm listening to are on a large microSD card. It's not that I'm planning anything bad, it's that government spy software shouldn't be trusted to interpret your actions if it's even half as bad as average software. I'm guessing it's much worse.
I'd feel much better if these data taps were documented and had a mandatory alerting system to the carrier and an independent watchdog. It's the "secret" part that makes it so prone to abuse and access from unauthorized entities.
Methinks the US Government doth protest too much. Guilty conscience? They are right, the Chinese probably ARE doing exactly what the USA are also doing, to both their own people and to other countries, and so is everybody else with very few exceptions I imagine. If you want secret comms, then ENCRYPT. Otherwise they are all welcome to snoop on people watching cat videos and gossiping about who is ****ing who on Loser Island, cos nobody cares. We already live in a Big Brother society and it's gonna get worse before it gets better.
Methinks the West is terrified that the East/the System is terrified that internetworking hackers and/or crack coders are doing what the Western System cannot do and has no effective viable attacking defence against.
And that which cannot be done but which is considered vital and worthy of all manner of outrageous shenanigans, is Command and Control of Daily 0Day Narratives, for there are any number of them to constantly feed with
Novel AI Needs and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Seeds for Lead ‽ .
And shared as a exclamatory question because as a statement it would be somewhat presumptuous and too easily realised as a sad rad mad bad reflection on the current state of human intelligence ........ leaving it in greater danger of further exploitation?
Dear US - Technical capability for Lawful Interception (LI) is standard on 3GPP network suppliers/operators regardless of race or skin colour.
Over 70 American organisations are members of ETSI - which sets the Standards. Your country has had plenty of opportunity to influence how LI works and what safeguards need to be implemented, and no doubt did.
Calling Huawei out for including a mandatory function in their equipment is very hypocritical. Perhaps you are too wrapped up in telephony history when LI capability was built into a "black box" sat in the corner of a telephone exchange - Now I guess you refer to it as a "yellow box".
For those suffering from insomnia you can read all about it here https://www.etsi.org/committee/1403-li
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