Countering "counterterrorism"

Here's an interesting thought.

If the USDOJ dot guv is in collusion (US Attorney Kevin O'COnnor
and John G. Rowland) with the NeoCons who believe in belligerence and
pre-emptive "Defence," and the USDOJ believes that it is proper to
defend the Yale criminals by inventing other people's crimes and
slamming them away forever for saying they are innocent, (which was
part of the entire plan), then everyone opposed to such abuses of
power can become a "terrorist" and jam the DOJ/FBI's email searches
with keywords like:

ammonium nitrate

Create several email addresses. Give all of
them 950 Pennsylvania Ave NW 20530 as your address.

or, 157 Church Street, New Haven, 06510

I was falsely accused of being "a dangerously
intelligent chemist," "like Ted Kaszinski," who
has "command hallucinations to kill."

This was invented for me at my DCF "trial."

Then I was crminally charged with that, and not
allowed access to the courts, since a Yale
"psychiatrist" determined I was insane to be
saying I was innocent.

Tough to figure out.

Silicon Spooks: Government Spying on the Internet
- By Shawn Ewald ©, 2002 (repost here in August, 2004)

NSA's Echelon Surveillance Network In a new novel, Digital Fortress by
Dan Brown, the National Security Agency (NSA) has built a code-breaking
supercomputer called TRANSLTR that can crack any cryptographic cipher
in a matter of seconds. Ostensibly, the purpose of this computer is to
monitor the encrypted communications of terrorist groups, but the
designer of this supercomputer recognizes the danger presented to the
privacy of ordinary citizens by his creation and invents an unbreakable
code called Digital Fortress. He threatens that, if the NSA does not
make the existence of TRANSLTR publicly known, he will distribute
Digital Fortress on the Internet.

Unfortunately, only in novels, I suspect, do NSA employees have
consciences, much less concern for the privacy of Jane Q. Citizen.
Fortunately, only in novels does the NSA have a computer that can crack
codes in seconds - even the world's most powerful supercomputer, the
Intel Paragon, would take a bit longer than a few seconds to crack a
message by brute force that was encrypted with PGP (Pretty Good
Privacy, a freely available encryption program that runs on PCs and

However, the NSA does indeed monitor all Internet communication, just
as it monitors all telephone, radio, and satellite communication, and,
therefore, our collective right to privacy is routinely violated by the
Government without our knowledge.

But what is different about the NSA's activity on the Internet has to
do with the Internet itself and the public's understanding of it. The
Internet is inherently open and insecure, which makes it incredibly
easy to monitor and intercept communication traffic like e-mail
messages, for instance. Furthermore, the majority of the American
public is largely unaware of how insecure the Internet really is - it
is interesting that, thanks largely to the mainstream media's
successful manufacturing of Internet paranoia, technophobic or computer
illiterate people are more conscious of this aspect of the Internet
than many people who use the Internet regularly. Most people have heard
about government agencies tapping phone lines or even steaming open
paper mail, but it seems that most people are not aware of the
government's routine monitoring of Internet communication traffic,
particularly e-mail traffic. This ignorance is dangerous for a society
that has become almost wholly dependent on electronic mediums of

The NSA's surveillance of Internet communication began at the early
stages of the Internet's development when it was still populated only
by government employees, university researchers, and government
contractors. Many people involved with the early Internet (known then
as ARPANet) were aware of this surveillance. In fact, Richard Stallman,
an MIT computer scientist who was then involved with the ARPANet (and
later would found the Free Software Foundation), added an optional
feature to a text editor/e-mail client that he had created called
EMACS; the purpose of this feature was to undermine the NSA's
surveillance efforts. The optional feature added randomly selected
keywords at the end of an e-mail message composed in EMACS; these
keywords (i.e. revolution, terrorist, etc.) he believed would trigger
interception by the NSA computers and, hopefully, if enough people made
use of this feature, clog the NSA's computers with irrelevant e-mail.

In former New Zealand intelligence agent Nicky Hager's book Secret
Power, one discovers that the NSA's surveillance capabilities are not
hindered by political borders. Under the code-name ECHELON, and with
the help of the British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian
Governments, the NSA has established a global communication
surveillance network that is capable of monitoring most of the world's
electronic communication.

The ECHELON system was created by the NSA as a means to interconnect
surveillance systems that had existed in these countries since WWII,
and to put these foreign surveillance operations under the control of
the NSA. What ECHELON became was an international network of computer
systems, each intercepting all fax, telex, e-mail and satellite
communications in their region of the world. The intercepted
communications are scanned with "dictionary" programs for certain
keywords; these dictionaries not only contain keywords of interest to
the intercepting agency, but also keywords that are of interest to the
other intelligence agencies around the world involved in the ECHELON
network. If the intercepted message contains a matching keyword, it is
immediately passed on to the headquarters of the agency concerned.

Given this massive technological arsenal, how can citizens protect
their privacy on the Internet? There is one method that has proven to
be an effective monkey wrench in the Government's efficient
surveillance machine, and that is strong encryption. Despite the claims
of fiction writers, there is no such thing as an unbreakable code or
uncrackable encryption, but what good encryption can ensure is that if
someone wants to snoop on your e-mail communications they are going to
have to put a good deal of effort into it. Cracking encrypted
electronic communications is the labor-intensive equivalent of steaming
open envelopes, whereas intercepting and reading unencrypted mail is as
easy as reading the back of a postcard. Not surprisingly, the FBI and
NSA have asked Congress to outlaw strong encryption. We as citizens
should be fighting their efforts every step of the way.

In the documentation for PGP, the program's author, Phil Zimmermann,
poses the following to users who may be skeptical about the need for
publicly available strong encryption programs:

"Perhaps you think your E-mail is legitimate enough that
encryption is unwarranted. If you really are a law-abiding citizen with
nothing to hide, then why don't you always send your paper mail on
postcards? Why not submit to drug testing on demand? Why require a
warrant for police searches of your house? Are you trying to hide
something? You must be a subversive or a drug dealer if you hide your
mail inside envelopes. Or maybe a paranoid nut. Do law-abiding citizens
have any need to encrypt their E-mail?"

The answer is obvious, of course they do. In the next issue I'll
demonstrate how to use PGP (still the best personal encryption
software, and it's free) as well as demonstrate other ways one can
enhance one's privacy and security on the Internet.
Silicon Spooks Part 2: Personal Security on the Internet

Last month, I described how the government routinely snoops on our
electronic communications and violates our right to privacy.

However, for most people, the government is the least of our troubles
when it comes to protecting our privacy when we use computers and the
Internet. Other common snoops are our bosses in our workplaces,
commercial Internet sites, and criminals. And of those three threats to
our privacy, our bosses and commercial Internet sites are the most
common threats. In this short article,

I'll try to give some tips on how to protect yourself.

But first, as promised in my last article, here is a brief tutorial on
how to obtain and use PGP. I'm going to concentrate on the PC version
of PGP because 1) it requires more explanation, 2) it is in much wider
use than the Mac version, and 3) the Mac version is easier to use and
What is PGP?

PGP is powerful encryption software. Meaning, it is a piece of software
that enables you to encrypt your data (typically documents and e-mail
Where to get PGP?

There really are only two places you can get it. The first is PGP Inc.,
and the second is at MIT - I recommend the MIT distribution site.
Which version you should get?

There are two commonly used versions of PGP available, PGP 2.6.2 and
PGP 5.0. I recommend PGP 2.6.2.

PGP 5.0 is newer and easier to use, but unfortunately it uses an
entirely new (though not necessarily better) system for encrypting your
data that is not compatible with older versions of PGP. PGP 2.6.2 has a
steeper learning curve in terms of usability but it is, hands down, the
most widely used version of PGP in the U.S. and, therefore, will enable
you to exchange encrypted messages with a much wider number of PGP
How to use PGP

Once you've downloaded and installed PGP the first thing you need to do
is generate what's called a PGP 'key pair". (Installing PGP 2.6.2 is
relatively straightforward for people who are moderately familiar with
their computer. Print out the setup.doc file in the PGP distribution
and follow the instructions for your operating system.)

To generate your PGP key pair, issue the following command at a DOS
prompt: pgp -kg

After you issue this command, PGP will ask you a few questions and
require you to do a few things to generate your key pair. The first
thing it will ask is what level of encryption you wish to use - you'll
be offered three choices:

1. 512 bits- Low commercial grade, fast but less secure
2. 768 bits- High commercial grade, medium speed, good security
3. 1024 bits- "Military" grade, slow, highest security

I recommend choosing option 3 "Military" grade encryption.

The next three things you'll be asked will be 1) choose a user ID 2)
choose a passphrase and 3) entering random keystrokes to generate your
key pair.

Your user ID should be your full name and e-mail address, for example:

Shawn Ewald shawn@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Your passphrase can be as long as you like - it should literally be a
phrase or sentence or a long string of characters - just make sure you
can remember it. Next, you will be asked to type random keystrokes -
this helps PGP generate a truly random key pair. When prompted to do
this, just hit random keys at random intervals until PGP tells you to

Now PGP will generate a key pair that will be stored in two files:
secring.pgp and pubring.pgp. The first file secring.pgp contains your
PGP secret key, it is very important that you never let anyone see this
file, it is also very important that you make a backup copy of this
file on a floppy disk and store it in a safe place. The second file
pubring.pgp contains your PGP public key, this key can be freely
distributed once you have extracted it from pubring.pgp. To extract
your public key from your public key ring (pubring.pgp) issue the
following command at a dos prompt:

pgp -kx Shawn shawn pubring.pgp

NOTE: replace Shawn and shawn with the beginning of your own user name.

In this case, PGP will store my public key in a file called
"shawn.asc"; I can open this file with any text editor to view it. Once
you've extracted your public key, you can send it to friends so that
they can use their copy of PGP to send you encrypted messages. You can
even make it available to strangers by putting it on your web page. I,
for example, have made my PGP public key available on the web at:
How to encrypt and decrypt files

To encrypt a file, issue the following command at a DOS prompt:

pgp -es textfile -u your_userid

To decrypt a file, issue the following command:

pgp encrypted_file -o filename

NOTE: replace the words "textfile" and "encrypted_file" with the actual
names of the files you wish to encrypt/decrypt, replace "your_userid"
with your actual user ID, and replace "filename" with the name your
wish to call the decrypted file.

In both of the above examples PGP will ask you to enter your
passphrase. If your passphrase is correct it will immediately go to
Add-ons for PGP

Obviously, typing commands at a DOS prompt is not an enjoyable
experience for most people. Fortunately, there are many add-ons (mostly
for e-mail programs) available for free on the Internet that provide a
nice graphical interface and make PGP much easier to use. The best
place to look for these add-ons is at the yahoo PGP directory. Go here
and select the "PGP - Pretty Good Privacy" link.
Other features of PGP

There are many other features to PGP that I'm unable to describe in
such a brief article. So, I strongly suggest that you print out and
read the file "pgpdoc1.txt" that comes with the PGP distribution.
Other personal security measures you can take

In addition to learning about and using encryption software like PGP,
there are other aspects to using the Internet where your personal
security can be improved. The following is a list of simple things you
can do to protect yourself when using the internet.

Avoid making credit card purchases on-line

Despite the hype, secure online transactions are not nearly as
secure as many businesses would like you to believe. Furthermore, it is
not likely that online transactions will ever be as secure as real
world transactions. Be aware that you are taking a risk whenever you
submit your credit card number online.
Scan downloaded files for viruses before opening them

This is a no-brainer, but it can't be repeated enough. Get a good
virus program (like McAfee Anti-virus, IBM Anti-Virus, or Dr. Solomon's
Anti-Virus) and scan the files you download before opening them.
Never give out your password

No one needs to know your password, except you; never give it
out. If you are signing up for a service on the web that requires a
password, make a new and unique password for that service, never use
your ISP password for any service on the Internet.
Disable the "cookies" feature in your web browser

This can be done in most modern browsers. For example, to disable
cookies in Netscape Communicator:

Click the Edit menu, then select "Preferences." In the
Preferences Dialog box, select the "Advanced" category. In the
"Cookies" section select "Disable Cookies". Then click the "OK" button.

Happy surfing!
Suggested Reading and Websites:

* Secret Power: New Zealand's Role in the International Spy
Network, by Nicky Hager
* The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency, by
James Bamford; Viking
* The Crypt Newsletter
* Secrecy & Government Bulletin
* PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, by Simson Garfinkel; O'Reilly &
* Bandits on the Information Superhighway, by Daniel J. Barrett;
O'Reilly & Associates

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