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[liberationtech] NSA Laughs at PCs, Prefers Hacking Routers and Switches

Tom O winterfilth at
Wed Sep 4 21:34:20 PDT 2013

Well their core business is SIGINT. it's only logical for this to be the

I don't see how this is surprising.

On Thursday, September 5, 2013, Tom Ritter wrote:

> > On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 7:33 PM, Robert Guerra <rguerra at<javascript:;>>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Curious on people's comments on  types of routers, firewalls and other
> appliances that might be affected as > well as mitigation strategies. Would
> installing a pfsense and/or other open source firewall be helpful in
> >> anyway at a home net location?
> So this might get me flamed out of libtech, but....
> There's this commercial solution done by a couple of folks out of
> Columbia.  They owned up some Cisco VOIP phones and then thought "How
> could we make it really hard to own embedded devices like this and
> routers?" and basically they wrote their own agent that they mutate
> (so every install is different) and then timeslice its execution in a
> RTOS by instrumenting a vendor firmware image.  I've seen it work in
> demo devices, and they say they have it working pretty well on a lot
> of stuff.  It looks super snake oily, and I can't claim to have any
> experience with it beyond their 30 minute talk and demo, but I was
> convinced it was worth investigating much more.  Also, being academic
> backgrounded, they have research papers explaining a lot of it.
> -tom
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