The NSA Broke the Merkelphone (and realtime spying, Assange and the Russians, cool hardware tricks)

Well howdy, guess I was wrong Snowden wouldn’t lead to juicy cryptanalytic disclosures.

The NSA broke the AES-128 crypto used on German chancellor Angela Merkel’s smartphone.

A US intelligence insider told the German tabloid “BILD” that Obama had personally requested more spying on Merkel, after which the NSA broke the encryption even on her newer, better-secured official smartphone. (Merkel’s only remaining-secure phone was the landline in her office.)

The results of this espionage went straight to the White House, and the previous German prime minister Gerhard Schroeder received similar treatment.

Caution: “a US intelligence insider” was the source, and a rather sensationalist German tabloid the venue. Accurate information about cryptanalytic capabilities coming from an anonymous US insider… in the middle of a massive diplomatic row… being told to a German tabloid?

Either BILD is significantly better at reporting than their visual style suggests, or something may off here.

Brits are intercepting and monitoring SMS in real time… anyone surprised? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/03/text_punk/

If you were, and you’re in the US, don’t worry — they’re doing the same to you. One example was the Hayden-on-the-train story where Hayden’s “off the record” conversation was liveblogged to twitter. Another is the case of a guy showing up for a polygraph and being shown logs of his web browsing activity… to AntiPolygraph.org. https://antipolygraph.org/blog/2013/10/20/is-antipolygraph-org-being-targeted-by-the-nsa/

Did Assange cut a deal with a Devil — I mean, Russian intelligence? A US “former Chekist” ex-DIA analyst connects a number of interesting dots. (In keeping with the former Chekist rule, he ignores Snowden’s destination was Ecuador and not Cuba.)

I consider it wholly plausible that Assange told Moscow (via Shamir), “this damaging doc we’ve got on you? Look, the Americans are throwing world+dog at us, so I’m going to do you a favor and you’re going to remember it if we need a hand.” https://medium.com/war-is-boring/b876a8bc035a

One for the machining geeks. It’s an aluminum unibody Nintendo 64, fully portable, machined on what looks like a Sherline desktop mill and lathe. Take that, CNC junkies! http://hackaday.com/2013/10/27/aluminum-unibody-nintendo64/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFdvxd0W7ps

And speaking of Hacakday being badass. Thermal imager mod for a car… using a salvaged imager… for under $500. http://hackaday.com/2013/10/26/a-jeep-mounted-flir-camera

http://rt.com/news/obama-nsa-spying-merkel-808/
Original in German: http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/spionage/obama-billigt-lauschangriff-auf-merkel-33140378.bild.html — break out the robo-translate

“President Obama was aware of NSA spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2010, German media have revealed. That contradicts earlier reports that Obama personally assured Merkel he didn’t know – and that he would have stopped it if he had.

According to German Bild am Sonntag newspaper, which cited US intelligence sources, National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander briefed Obama on the bugging operation against Merkel in 2010.

“Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,” an unnamed high-ranking NSA official told the newspaper.
Moreover, the paper said, the US president later ordered the NSA to prepare a comprehensive dossier on Merkel.

The report adds that NSA was listening in to the chancellor’s both work phone provided by her political party, and supposedly her secure phone that she only received this summer. This, the paper said, is evidence that the operation continued until the “immediate past.”

NSA spy activity was reportedly conducted on the fourth floor of the US Embassy in central Berlin, just a stone’s throw from the German government’s headquarters.

The NSA’s findings, SMS messages and phone calls, were directly reported to the White House in Washington, unlike as usual to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the paper’s source said.

Earlier this week Berlin said that Merkel’s communications were “absolutely safe,” since she was conducting her important “state political” conversations on encrypted fixed-circuit phone lines. This secure landline phone in her office is allegedly the only one that NSA did not have access to, according to Bild am Sonntag. “

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