Packet sniffing goes hi-tech? What’s wrong with ethereal?
The equipment that technician Mark Klein learned was installed in the National Security Agency’s “secret room” inside AT&T’s San Francisco switching office isn’t some sinister Big Brother box designed solely to help governments eavesdrop on citizens’ internet communications.
Rather, it’s a powerful commercial network-analysis product with all sorts of valuable uses for network operators. It just happens to be capable of doing things that make it one of the best internet spy tools around.
I guess the difference is, this one is designed to sit on 10Gbps pipes, and monitor traffic in real time, that is pretty impressive, if it can do 100% throughput..
Narus’ product, the Semantic Traffic Analyzer, is a software application that runs on standard IBM or Dell servers using the Linux operating system. It’s renowned within certain circles for its ability to inspect traffic in real time on high-bandwidth pipes, identifying packets of interest as they race by at up to 10 Gbps.
Internet companies can install the analyzers at every entrance and exit point of their networks, at their “cores” or centers, or both. The analyzers communicate with centralized “logic servers” running specialized applications. The combination can keep track of, analyze and record nearly every form of internet communication, whether e-mail, instant message, video streams or VOIP phone calls that cross the network
VeriSign is also using it, so are many others.
Just remember, they are watching us.
That legal eavesdropping application was launched in February 2005, well after whistle-blower Klein allegedly learned that AT&T was installing Narus boxes in secure, NSA-controlled rooms in switching centers around the country. But that doesn’t mean the government couldn’t write its own code to do the dirty work. Narus even offers software-development kits to customers.