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Thread: Carnivore Extinct!

  1. #41
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    I think some people here are confusing Carnivore and Echelon.

    Well, maybe I'm wrong, but as I understand it Carnivore was meant to target A user's communication ( e-mail, web browsing ) and was installed at the ISP. It was not meant to capture ALL communication and search trough it looking for key words / phrases that might indicate some illicit activity ( Echelon ). You do not need supercomputers to do what Carnivore was meant for.
    And as I recall the main objections to it were
    1)that it “could” or “might” trap communications from those not the target of the investigation
    2)that the people ( Feds ) using it could purposely ( or accidentally ) misuse it
    MsMittens's first reply
    So.. guesses as to the new product? Snort? ISS? Ethereal? tcpdump?
    Why not, at least as a start? But Carnivore went further ( again as I understand it ) as it would put the packets together and you could view not only the entire e-mail, but entire web pages as the user saw them with just a few clicks ( as thehorse13 said
    It was dummied down for low skill FBI IT personnel.
    And remember, they needed a warrant to use it. They needed “ probable cause” to obtain a warrant, and if they had that, unless there was some reason to wait ( like they were trying to map out a crime family or something of the sort ) they would just go in and seize the computers for further evidence. ( example, child porn: If I suspected someone of running a child porn ring, I would make a few purchases under assumed name, get a warrant for the ISP's records of who was using their IP address, then, based on that would seek a warrant to search and seize computers, pictures, magazines, cameras, films, film equipment, correspondence, financial records, etc. ( you get the idea ), at this point the warrant, although it must be “specific” in what is to be searched and what can be seized, the nature of the offense and of the probable cause can lend the warrant to be open enough to seize anything related, not just what passes over the Internet.

    I am really surprised that there were not more comments on my statement “How does this relate to the IT person who copies e-mails sent or received by specified employees and forwards it to another manager or employee? ... “ ( like it doesn't happen???? And I'm not saying for a legitimate corporate IT reason, but rather inner politics )
    I thought that would spark some controversy, it's basically someone doing the same thing, someone reading you e-mails, gathering information, without your knowledge, to use it against you. I guess because it's not the Feds doing it. Or are you saying all IT people are as trustworthy as me?
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

  2. #42
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    You are correct IKNowNot. This thread is full of speculations, but hardly anyone commenting seem to know their 'facts'.

    Carnivore (which is used by the FBI) is in no way, shape, or form, designed to be a central packet collection. It is simply a digital wire tap. With a warrant, they can use these devices with the cooperation of the suspects ISP, and filter the traffic to that specific customer. This can be used to monitor any illegal activity over the wire. It is indeed like a glorified cisco box with dummy friendly GUI that they can connect to.

    Echelon (directed by NSA) on the other hand, IS a central information collection. We are not talking about a desktop sitting in a dark NSA room in some bunker running ettercap, collecting every packet in the globe... nor are we talking about a single 'super computer'. Echelon is just a name given to the most complex collection of surveliance technologies our government has today. It is tied together with our satelite systems, our telephone systems, our cellular systems, and also the Internet back bone fiber lines. It operates on filters mainly, and processes chunks of data at a time, looking for 'keywords' and red flags. We are talking everything from voice recognition, to nuclear blast detection.

    Echelon has been in operation since the 60's, and has actually grown quite obsolete. There is a new operation being implemented that is simply being reffered to as 'Echelon II'.

    Although the subjects are classififed, they are not a complete mystery. All you have to do is a little homework.

  3. #43
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Well, with that out of the way ( as Carnivore is Extinct ) there is always this !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Using newly designed technology that detects child pornography files shared over the Internet, ..... The investigation began after a special agent ... used the new "file sifting" software to track the video clip and found that 10,500 computers worldwide had downloaded it, including 6,500 in the United States and 42 in New Jersey.
    Find the article here ( as long as the link lasts ) The Star-Ledger

    ( Thought that very appropriate, especially since we were using child porn as an example )
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

  4. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    The only thing SETI popularized was using HOME desktops for massively distributed computing. The FBI, CIA, or who the hell ever would never empoy such a hugely distributed system simply on the basis that it would be nigh on impossible to protect it all. Then again, for all any of us know all those years of SETI packets were really just to crack 1024Tb encryption.

    Originally posted here by MsMittens
    That all said, back to the original topic: if they've hosed Carnivore and are using a specialized commercial version of "something" I don't think we can make the assumption that their server setup is standard. Perhaps clustered supercomputers (multiple Big Blues?)? GRID?
    I doubt it, probably just an off the shelf crack rack from Verari (formerly Racksaver) or some such place. No company would sell anyone a supercomputer that large without flipping out and going to the media. Bragging rights are king in clustering.
    Chris Shepherd
    The Nelson-Shepherd cutoff: The point at which you realise someone is an idiot while trying to help them.
    \"Well as far as the spelling, I speak fluently both your native languages. Do you even can try spell mine ?\" -- Failed Insult
    Is your whole family retarded, or did they just catch it from you?

  5. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Seeing first hand what the governments computer capabilities are I would not be surprised if they one day could eventually do something in the general area of what they want. My brother worked for part of the government and he was invovled in a computer related field and he said that some of the stuff created is far beyond the technology given to the public. I feel that is the government wanted to make a proggy that could do this, they would find away. Disagreeing or agreeing is a whole nother topic.

    I am with those that say this may be some sort of scam the gov. is trying to pull. I am not proclaiming to know the truth I am just saying that is my 2 cents.

    - MilitantEidolon
    Yeah thats right........I said It!

    Ultimately everyone will have their own opinion--this is mine.

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