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How an Obscure Acronym Helped Link AT&T To NSA Spying 54

netbuzz writes: Slashdot on Saturday highlighted a story by Pro Publica and the New York Times that used Snowden documents to reveal previously unknown details of the "highly collaborative" relationship between AT&T and the NSA that enabled the latter's controversial Internet surveillance program. An aspect of the story that received only passing mention was how the reporters connected an acronym for an obscure proprietary network configuration – SNRC — to AT&T and the NSA in part through a 1996 story in the now-defunct print version of Network World. In essence, that acronym proved to be a fingerprint confirming the connection — and its match was found thanks to Google Books.
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How an Obscure Acronym Helped Link AT&T To NSA Spying

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret, a master ring, to control all others. And into this ring he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One ring to rule them all. One by one, the free peoples of Middle Earth fell to the power of the Ring. But there were some who resisted.

    • by JustOK ( 667959 )
      Yah, well, I've got the full working prototype one ring.
    • In the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret, a master ring, to control all others. And into this ring he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One ring to rule them all. One by one, the free peoples of Middle Earth fell to the power of the Ring. But there were some who resisted.

      [repost [slashdot.org]]

      NSA and the Desolation of Smaug

      And over time the men of Dale had become complacent on privacy, liberty and freedom of association, and yet they prospered. No longer content with the wealth of accumulation, they valued innovation and the free exchange of information. To this end they did help to build the greatest communications network that had ever been. Through it all their wealth flowed like a river --- real wealth --- not the dusty treasure hordes of kings locked in windowless rooms.

      The for

  • by Adam Simons ( 2881717 ) on Monday August 17, 2015 @05:15PM (#50335171)
    You mean NSAT&T?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (help us cold fjord you're our only hope)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      hang on, wouldn't that be like saying Help us Darth Vader you're our only hope??
      considering which side he's on

  • nobody cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2015 @05:20PM (#50335205)

    So you have proof, now what ? are there going to be prosecutions ?, assets seized ?, jail ?, fines ?, contracts nullified ?, de-listing from stock exchanges ?

    otherwise the minutia is meaningless if there are zero consequences for the actors involved, you need to start naming names, protesting outside the boards office is laughable, protest outside their own houses ? disseminate their personal details (dox) them ?, oh now you got their attention.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Assassinate them.

    • Re:nobody cares (Score:5, Informative)

      by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday August 17, 2015 @05:47PM (#50335345)

      are there going to be prosecutions ?,

      Nope.

      assets seized ?,

      Nope.

      jail ?,

      Nope.

      fines ?,

      Nope.

      contracts nullified ?,

      Nope.

      de-listing from stock exchanges ?

      Nope.

      There's that little matter of the ex post facto telecom immunity law passed back in 2008. Everyone gets off scott free. Even for criminal acts committed before the new law. It'll be a long, hard fight just to get this brought before the Supreme Court and there's no guarantee they will even give a shit about the US Constitution. And only then, can criminal trials commence.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ah yes, the FISA Amendments in 2008. That what was kept me from voting for Obama (voted 3rd party). He promised to go against the telecoms, but surprise, surprise, he lied. I suppose I was naive to be so disillusioned that he was obviously just more of the same.

        • by Raenex ( 947668 )

          I suppose I was naive to be so disillusioned that he was obviously just more of the same.

          Yup. The best part was Obama's response to criticism, where he basically said, "What's your alternative? Voting for the Republican?"

          And of course, he was right.

      • There's that little matter of the ex post facto telecom immunity law passed back in 2008. Everyone gets off scott free.

        And with his vote to give them a free pass, I realized Senator Obama was no different than any other politician. This might have even been a requirement to show his compliant deference to the military-surveillance state before he would be allowed to run for POTUS.

      • There's that little matter of the ex post facto telecom immunity law passed back in 2008. Everyone gets off scott free. Even for criminal acts committed before the new law. It'll be a long, hard fight just to get this brought before the Supreme Court and there's no guarantee they will even give a shit about the US Constitution. And only then, can criminal trials commence.

        Yeah, about that, aren't ex post facto laws strictly unconstitutional in the USA? I mean, in other countries it's not quite the case (France allows them, for example, but only in mitius - i.e. if the new law is more lenient) but I seem to remember that in the USA it's supposed to be very strict.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re So you have proof, now what ?

      People around the world now understand that chips, networking systems, crypto, OS's, teleco hardware is open to any 'other' nation with skilled staff, ex staff, former staff due to highly collaborative design issues per product range over decades.
      Over time with the next generation of buying people/nations have the option to consider other brands, methods, services to ensure security and productivity.
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2015 @05:57PM (#50335421)

    EFF Sues AT&T Over NSA Wiretapping
    January 31, 2006
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/06/01/31/2222236/eff-sues-att-over-nsa-wiretapping

    AT&T Forwarding All Internet Traffic to NSA?
    April 07, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/04/07/1246259/att-forwarding-all-internet-traffic-to-nsa

    Under the Hood of AT&T's Monitoring System
    April 09, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/04/09/1657258/under-the-hood-of-atts-monitoring-system

    AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs
    April 13, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/04/13/1218237/att-seeks-to-hide-spy-docs

    NSA Spying Comes Under Attack
    April 28, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/04/28/1830209/nsa-spying-comes-under-attack

    DOJ To Claim National Security in NSA Case
    April 29, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/04/29/040225/doj-to-claim-national-security-in-nsa-case

    The NSA Knows Who You've Called
    May 11, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/11/1216245/the-nsa-knows-who-youve-called

    Americans Not Bothered by NSA Spying
    May 12, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/12/1334217/americans-not-bothered-by-nsa-spying

    U.S. Government Intervenes in EFF vs. AT&T
    May 13, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/13/219216/us-government-intervenes-in-eff-vs-att

    The AT&T Whistleblower's Evidence
    May 18, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/18/1626248/the-att-whistleblowers-evidence

    Wired Releases Full Text of AT&T NSA Document
    May 22, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/05/22/132206/wired-releases-full-text-of-att-nsa-document

    Government May Help Bells Defend Against Wiretap Suits
    June 02, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/06/02/1515252/government-may-help-bells-defend-against-wiretap-suits

    NSA Had Domestic Call Monitoring Before 9/11?
    July 02, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/07/02/0659222/nsa-had-domestic-call-monitoring-before-911

    EFF Case Against AT&T To Go Forward
    July 20, 2006
    http://slashdot.org/story/06/07/20/2026250/eff-case-against-att-to-go-forward

    Ex AT&T Tech Says NSA Monitors All Web Traffic
    November 09, 2007
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/07/11/09/2040206/ex-att-tech-says-nsa-monitors-all-web-traffic

    Despite it all, people rushed to sign up with AT&T so they could get their hands on the iPhone when the iPhone was first released exclusively with AT&T.

    • by afidel ( 530433 )

      Yeah, we've known AT&T was in bed with the NSA since the existence of room 641A was revealed. Anything after that is just trying to get people to pay attention to something that they obviously don't want to care about. The only way to get the average person to care was pointed out by John Oliver [youtube.com] in his typical funny but very poignant style.

      • What bothers me is there may be 1000 agents who will use it "the right way", whatever that means, and I am sure they all feel they are pure of heart, worthy to lift Thor's hammer, but there are no technological barriers to the occasional G. Gordon Liddy type using it to listen in on political opposition on the behalf of some bigwig.

        There is a reason general warrants are banned -- to stop those in power from rooting around until they find something to nail their opponents with. This amounts to that.

  • We can use big data mining to uncover YOUR secrets, too! I'll be you guys and AT&T really like that, don't you?
    • "We can use big data mining to uncover YOUR secrets, too!"
      Every individual, major corporation, and government agency is already under attack every day. And those perpetrating the attacks are after personal information capable of inflicting great harm to the individual. And the government not only has to deal with domestic attempts to breach their systems looking for information but also attempts from well funded and very capable foreign agents. The US government has had legal access to a citizens personal i

  • Oh no, the NetWare 3.X bindery server has been compromised! Everyone better shut down their Windows NT and Novel Netware servers down and wait for a patch to be issued on a 5 1/4 floppy disk.
  • Nothing wrong with Google Books but wouldn't it be easier to just look up SNRC and AT&T? AT&T is kind enough to provide us with their complete list of acronyms.

    https://www.corp.att.com/gov/c... [att.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if there comes a time when you can make Intel stickers that says "NSA inside".

  • By refusing to hear Heptig vs. AT&T [eff.org] and caving to Congressional Complicity by granting (retroactive) immunity to telecom employees, NSA managed to escape a certain level of scrutiny for full-backbone tap technology, and a certain stretch of road that may have had AT&T admitting corroboration in a purely (or massively) domestic spying operation.

    As this corroborative glimpse shows... Heptig vs.AT&T may not just have revealed AT&T consenting to unconstitutional, illegal surveillance forbidden b

  • I know it is not specifically related to the article, but I thought this was worth mentioning:

    Sometime around 1999, a security researcher - Andrew Fernandes - found a variable - _NSAKEY - unmasked inside Windows NT4 SP5.

    _NSAKEY, it has been suggested, is a secondary key used by the NSA to compromise the security of systems running M$ Windows.

    Microsoft said that the key's symbol was "_NSAKEY" because the NSA is the technical review authority for U.S. export controls, and the key ensures compliance
    • Microsoft and Google chrome provide the nsa (and all the hackers who got the username and passwords during the last leak) with remote administration to all their installations.

      who cares?

  • Anyone who worked directly for, or as a contractor for AT&T as far back as at least the early 1990's can tell you there were rooms set up specifically for .gov and LEO use only. You needed security clearances to get into them even as a direct AT&T employee, and they were locked behind keycard/numpad protected doors, etc. It didn't take a genius to figure out what they were using those rooms for, especially when an awful lot of power and telecoms lines ran right to them (we weren't allowed to discus

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?

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