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[liberationtech] Exactly how are satellite transmissions tapped/intercepted, in Syria and elsewhere?

Brian Conley brianc at smallworldnews.tv
Tue Nov 29 12:34:37 PST 2011


Certainly will keep you and the listed posted Enrique.

I expect it will be available alongside our safer video guide here:
http://smallworldnews.tv/guide/

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM, Enrique Piraces <piracee at hrw.org> wrote:

>  Thanks Matt. Indeed there seems to be a significant number of options to
> intercept, for example, Thuraya.
>
>  For those interested, a few sample results of a quick google search:
>
>  "The L-3 TRL Thuraya Monitoring System that passively
> intercepts C-band and L-band downlinks from the Thuraya satellites.
> The TMS monitors transmissions from the Thuraya handset to the
> network via the satellite at C-band, and monitors transmissions from
> the network to the Thuraya handset at L-band. This provides full duplex
> interception and recording for all calls passing through the seven
> spotbeams centered on the installed system"
>
>  More on this:
> http://www.trltech.co.uk/app/webroot/files/L-3%20TRL%20TMS%20Brochure(1).pdf
>
>  Other:
>
>
> http://www.interceptors.com/intercept-solutions/Thuraya-Satellite-Interception.html
> http://www.stratign.com/communication_intelligence.asp
>
>  Brian, I'd be interested in learning more about the product of your
> research.
>
>  Best,
> Enrique
>
>
>  On Nov 29, 2011, at 12:44 PM, Matt Mackall wrote:
>
>  On Tue, 2011-11-29 at 16:43 +0000, Enrique Piraces wrote:
>
> Hi all, thanks for the detailed responses on this thread.
>
>
>  I'm trying to understand how weak BGAN, Thuraya, Iridium encryption
>
> could be. For example one of them claims in its site that "Thuraya's
>
> integrated satellite communication solutions are rapidly deployable,
>
> employ the highest level of encryption, and are proven in meeting
>
> exacting security standards for use in the field."
>
>
> A security self-evaluation by a company's marketing department isn't
> worth much.
>
> Beyond the ability that some may have to detect the location of a
>
> call/connection and log their calls, how true is that their encryption
>
> can protect the contents of the information transmitted? Is the risk
>
> the same for each voice/data/text?
>
>
> Thuraya is a telecom company, which means the default assumption should
> be that they:
>
> - use poorly-implemented crypto that can be defeated by sophisticated
>  third parties
> - have built-in "lawful intercept capability"
> - have extensive logging and data retention
> - will hand this data over to authorities at the slightest provocation
>
> The past decade has shown us the above is true of basically all
> terrestrial providers, and there's no good reason to think satellite is
> different. And there's no reason to think they've done a better job with
> their crypto tech than the industry groups that created WEP and GSM.
>
> Is part of the solution to use encryption modules like
> http://www.shoghicom.com/thuraya-encryption.html?
>
>
> No. The first two bullet points above (at least!) probably apply. The
> only way for a private citizen to get assurances that are better than
> marketing copy is to use open source tools that have survived the close
> public scrutiny of the security community.
>
> --
> Mathematics is the supreme nostalgia of our time.
>
>
>
>
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-- 



Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

http://smallworldnews.tv

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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