You Might Have A Problem If: Covert Cameras (and DIY TDR, more Snowden)

Signs “they” might be watching you include:

– A mysterious “cable boot” appearing on the power lines outside your house, with no connections except for power, and what appears to be a hard-to-spot viewing window on the side:

– When you use a bamboo pole to put duct tape over the window, a mysterious crew comes and removes it

– This mysterious crew isn’t from the power company, and in fact refuses to identify themselves

– You call the power company and they know nothing about it all

– A few weeks later the “cable boot” vanishes.

Sadly this isn’t the Ecuadorean embassy bug (still waiting on that), just ordinary suburban life.

DIY TDR: I mentioned a little while ago about TDR being useful for spotting certain kinds of line taps. In practice, a TDR is just a very fast rise-time pulse generator coupled to a high-bandwidth oscilloscope. If you have a reasonably quick scope, you can therefore make your own by crafting an avalanche pulse generator from a suitable transistor:

With rise times of circa 1.5ns, it’s good enough to spot major impedance variations and cable issues to a distance resolution with a meter or so. Ideally you’d want to get a transistor that can generate much faster rising pulses (and a similarly quick ‘scope).

The upside is these kinds of pulsers aren’t going to put you out of business if something goes wrong, unlike e.g the Tek 1503 digital TDRs which often had “issues…” at the drop of a hat. These, well, you just solder in a new transistor!

Snowden: The whole business has officially descended into farce, with Anna Chapman (the “sleeper” KGB agent turned Russian media sex symbol) propositioning Snowden with marriage[1]. Spies marrying targets to better extract information and particularly to exert control has a long and storied history, but the attempts are usually more subtle. And less hilarious.

Ecuador’s president denounced the Grauniad’s implications that he’d stepped away from Snowden in a Tweet, approximately translated as “My statements were taken totally out of context by the Guardian. Fortunately we recorded them. Let’s not fall into the usual trap!” [2]

We also have some clarity as to what happened in Europe, courtesy The Press, an Austrian newspaper.

Shortly after Bolivian president Evo Morales’ plane landed in Vienna at around 11pm, “an urgent phone call was placed to the Vienniese foreign ministry. At the other end of the line: US ambassador William Eacho. As “The Press” [an Austrian newspaper] learned, the Ambassador claimed with great certainty that Edward Snowden, the man wanted by the US for exposing the latest spy scandals, was on board the Bolivian plane. Eacho referred to a diplomatic note in which the US demanded the extradition of Snowden.”[3]

Morales refused to allow the Austrians to search his plane (which is protected by diplomatic immunity) thoroughly, but The Press stated that an official of the Austrian interior ministry who knew Morales arranged a “voluntary check” of the plane. The general consensus seems to be this consisted of an airport policeman walking through.

[1] [2]

%d bloggers like this: