It's not much of a stretch to imagine that intelligence agencies have been heavily invested in this area and are far ahead of public research, given signals intelligence has basically been their bread and butter since forever. Moreover, Stuxnet was so advanced for the time that its existence stunned the world.
Keystrokes can be captured indirectly via audio analysis, electromagnetic emissions from wiring, and now RF imaging techniques looking at finger movements. Wouldn't be surprised if they can create multi-modal composite models to attain higher accuracy, or if RF imaging is able to capture lip/jaw movements these days.
The really sexy part is probably what they're able to do with fixed wing airborne platforms, where you can afford to pack ridiculously high-end sensors and local computing power on board.
It still weirds me out to think that a gimmick from 2008's The Dark Knight is more or less a reality now, or will be soon if it already isn't.
They were busy snoring when it came to 9/11. Fake WMDs, never ending wars against goat herders, snowden, not to mention 13 Russians who apparently swung an election.
If someone is busy triggering mail bombers and lunatic shooters just by targeting and upvoting their posts on social media what's all this sci-fi stuff good for? The more complex the world gets the more pointless all this superficial gimmickry looks.
Just look at the budgets thrown at these agencies. Its frankly sickening.
Your first assumption is that any of those actions were against the ethos of the ones in charge of this technology. They aren't there to stop the bad guys. If anything, the bad guys winning some of the time helps provide public support for the endeavors of those behind this technology. Consider how the people in charge of this technology either gain or lose from the actions of the people you want monitored, compared to what they have to gain or lose from the actions of others who they could use this technology to monitor.
In my personal view, MLK Jr., after his turn to focus on the plight of the poor, is far more a schema of the intended target of this type of technology than James Earl Ray.
They weren't snoring of course, there's no shortage of evidence showing foreknowledge about 9/11 that was consciously ignored by the Bush administration and the intelligence services prior to the event and then (only half-successfully) covered up afterwards.
The real issue was identified in the first few years after 9/11 - disparate patchwork of teams overzealously enforcing moats around their intel/data.
Actually read the report, or at least skim it starting from page 254. What you're saying is just not true.
Specifically, which part(s) of the report are you refuting? Please provide pages and paragraphs #s or quotes.
No doubt someone is screaming that yesterday an attack was going to go on in X country.
And "consciously" is a very loaded word.
The most recent example of your argument was the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post reported that the CIA had advance notice of the attack.
The problem of course is because of the secret nature of their budgets, spending, successes, and failures, it's hard to know how good or bad they are for the country.
But there comes a time when we get real victories, even if they aren't revealed for decades. And the victories that happened this decade, may not be revealed for another two or more decades from now.
The possibilities are now open to detect presence behind doors or to shoot people deeply embedded in buildings.
And when every department is granularly information insulated, it's easy for an individual to get caught in a task that serves the above while not even realizing.
What they have is a monopoly on hacking without consequence, and infinite budget to explore every vector in hardware, software and physics to exploit, for no particular reason for no discernable threat aside from "that agency over there is also doing it, maybe", and assuming that is a threat.
Ouch. All apparently true, but ouch.
This kind of things won't change until major national security incidents cause budget cuts, not budget increases. It should be like the private sector. When you repeatedly F things up, you make less and not more.
The counter-argument will be "but you're hobbling our intelligence!" Okay, then create a competing intelligence agency to the CIA/NSA/etc. and give the budget to the one producing results.
The replies to this post completely dismiss the elephant in the room.
It seems that YouTube's censorship algorithms finally stopped blocking it: search YouTube for the 5 hour long DVD series "The New Pearl Harbor ~ full" (dWUzfJGmt5U if it becomes unlisted)
We will be tracked 24/7 by our gait and shape and facial recognition with handoffs between drones and tiny street level cameras, or perhaps to make things easier we may just be tagged eventually with a non invasive RF sensor or coating. Metadata of who you visited or interacted with will be analyzed for patterns with machine learning. Items you order will be tagged and possibly interdicted as it becomes cheaper and cheaper to do so. People won’t be able to organize anything dangerous because the state (which at that time will be 99% just AI) will already have predicted that the same way AlphaGo would predict any chess combination. Any uprising will be pre emptively quelled using pinpoint nanobots which were deposited to lie dormant in everyone’s bodies until activated. States will endure forever.
Speaking of those nanobots, once you have them in people’s bodies they can report back all your whereabouts and activities. It’s easy enough to get them in via people’s food and water supply.
The main hiccups will be in the early years as the nanobot swarms are still clumsy and may reveal themselves before they learn how to stay in an organism without getting washed out so easily and without triggering an immune response.
Nanotech is so far away from this capability that it's pretty pointless to worry about.
Not technically advanced. It was using a collection of 0-day exploits to get into a PC via a USB drive. Any basic hacker could accomplish that with existing exploit tooling.
What was so advanced about it was the coordination to enable it. The collection of 0-day exploits, the knowledge of the architecture of the centrifuge, and the engineering expertise to compromise the centrifuges in a non-obvious way.
Stuxnet was incredibly simple technologically, but it was distilled down to exactly what it needed to do and delivered to just the right people by an advanced vast intelligence apparatus. It did not depend on any breakthroughs in signals, encoding, hardware, etc. I'm not suggesting they aren't capable of technological breakthroughs, but stuxnet definitely isn't an example of one.
Stuxnet has been analyzed in detail and there were no new special hacking techniques like unknown ASLR vulnerabilities or arbitrary unprivileged memory reads like spectre. It was just some 0-days wrapped up with a laser focused task that took years of effort to research.
It's shockingly impressive how much effort went into researching what needed to be done, not the actual mechanism thag was used to do it.
If someone plans out a super elaborate assassination of the hardest target in the world and completes it with a homemade shiv, you don't comment on how impressive the shiv itself was. It was the ability to know when/where/how that was impressive.
The target was interesting and the attack subtle, but attacks on industrial control systems had been the target of research even in the public in the same time frame: http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/09/26/power.at.risk/
Never suggested it was. My point still stands that the world was shocked it existed, if only for precisely the reasons you described. It was an indicator of the degree to which intelligence agencies had their shit together at the time. Things that advanced had never really been publicly seen nor pulled off before.
As an aside, one can likewise argue that imaging people via RF isn't really a breakthrough unto itself, but merely putting existing technology and knowledge together in a complicated but exacting fashion.
When it comes to seeing through walls, these are new techniques. It's not about knowing the right target through intelligence gathering, etc. It requires new state of the art methods not already available to the public.
> presumably disgruntled anonymous user
I don't think you understand what I'm saying. I'm not disgruntled at all. I'm pointing out that it was not a technological breakthrough in any regard so it's wrong to identify it as one.
If someone unexpectedly accumulates the largest amount of gold in the world, it's impressive, but it's not a breakthrough in gold-mining technology.
While working on one of the buildings with some missile guidance programs, I found a small room in the center of the building that had twelve inch thick concrete walls and a thick steel door. Determined to do my job, I experimented with placing several access points near this room until I found a combination that would force enough signal to connect through those walls. I had the telecom team pull wires, a month later I threw some WAPs in my backpack and installed them.
A week later I got an email marked urgent demanding that my team turn off these access points immediately. I complied, but asked what exactly the concern was. They mentioned that by bouncing WiFi signals, a van parked in the parking lot could monitor the activity in any room they wanted.
At the time I thought they were crazy, and at times I've told this story to demonstrate how paranoid that company was. Looks like there was some real basis to their concern.
I don't have the link to old site everyone in hacking community used. Here's one provider that describes it nicely plus illustrates what the products look like. They used to be way bulkier.
Some more links. Elovici's lab is at the forefront of new attacks.
Here's the quote that first taught me about the risk you described:
"A STU-III is a highly sophisticated digital device; however, they suffer from a particular nasty vulnerability to strong RF signals that if not properly addressed can cause the accidental disclosure of classified information, and recovery of the keys by an eavesdropper. While the unit itself is well shielded, the power line feeding the unit may not have a clean ground (thus negating the shielding)... The best way to deal with this is to never have a cellular telephone or pager on your person when using a STU, or within a radius of at least thirty feet (in any direction) from an operational STU (even with a good ground). If the STU is being used in a SCIF or secure facility a cell phone is supposed to be an excluded item, but it is simply amazing how many government people (who know better) forget to turn off their phone before entering controlled areas and thus cause classified materials to be compromised."
These are also another piece of evidence for two claims I often make: mainstream security folks don't produce devices that are actually secure; NSA/DOD are opponents of securing American infrastructure. On the first, high-assurance security and NSA certifications for TS/SCI demanded EMSEC since they were known attacks, esp by US and Russia. Mainstream ignored them mostly for "secure" products with only a handful trying to do something.
The second claim is from fact that security agencies misled U.S. companies and individuals about these risks specifically so they could use the attacks on them if needed. Although I don't recall if current, they also refused to sell TEMPEST-certified systems outside Defense in the past. So, NSA and pals were known to keep us vulnerable on purpose long before Snowden leaks. I've been griping about and trying to raise awareness of it for some time. Examples:
Also, I believe modern phones randomize their MACs when they scan for networks, but use their real MAC when they connect, and that's visible to anyone within listening range.
Btw, most "guest" wifi networks rely on MAC-based access control, using these same publicly visible MAC addresses.. it's an inherent weakness of the wifi standards and I think the main reason why devices can't randomize their MACs when actually connecting.
Their claim was that BT still responds to mgmt frames even when off, doesnt randomize MAC addresses, and some data can even be sent that will then turn on when the BT is 'turned on'.
I saw demonstrations of it. It, well, scared and awed me.
I'll message them via Twitter and ask for the repo to build their device.
By moving a wifi adapter in a 2d scan pattern, you could presumably create a virtual 2d sensor and then treat anything between you and where you are wanting to image as the diffuser.
edit - https://www.essexham.co.uk/news/realtek-sdr-dongle-10-pounds...
This seems like a good summing up, more up to date:
(There has been previous research published from MIT on the same topic, so this was not ovious)
which seems to give very fine grained information about WiFi strength of any network in the vicinity.
Fixed cameras here must be placed so that they either don't show any non private property, areas the public is expected to traffic, or that all that might be imaged has given explicit permission.
Outside of this you need a permit, which is awarded rather sparingly, and which also includes the possibility of a mandated inspection of both cameras, control room, and any recorded material.
Merely using wifi signals to sense the presence of human beings is therefore not covered by GDPR.
Now, using the technology to track what's going on in your neighbour's house probably is.
On the other hand, using CCTV on your property is legal (in the UK and countries covered by GDPR).
To be perfectly legal there are a few steps to take, but in reality as long as it's minimal and legitimate nothing is going to happen to you.
Of course, that's not the same as pointing your CCTV camera straight into your neighbour's garden...
In reality a thermal camera might give better results, maybe even from further away too.
So high frequency motion detection is already used in a wide range of applications.
But I think 'seeing' should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes you can detect motion behind a wall but creating an image is some steps away.
Then a decade or two later every patrol car will have the tech.
Trickle down effect is very real for law enforcement.
Any RF signal will work, but some work better than others. Wi-Fi is awesome for this for several reasons.
1. Having a source inside the house instead of outside is better because you lose, say, 15dB when you go through the wall; this is comparable to what a two-way mirror does to visible light. If you have to illuminate the house from outside using RF energy, you have to deal with much stronger reflections from things outside the house.
2. RF wavelengths that are too short will be badly attenuated by things like walls and doors. You can already notice this with 5GHz 802.11a Wi-Fi; if you have a few walls between you and the AP, the 2.4GHz signal usually works better. The problem gets worse at higher frequencies. (You may have noticed that many walls attenuate visible light, which is RF in the 500THz band, rather strongly.)
3. RF wavelengths that are too long provide much poorer spatial resolution. Outside the near field, your imaging resolution is limited by diffraction to about the wavelength. So you can see a person who's illuminated by the 99.5MHz emissions from your favorite heavy metal station only if their diameter is on the order of 3 m or more, and you can see their movements when they move on the order of 3 m or more. By contrast, 2.4 GHz gives you 120-mm resolution, and 5 GHz gives you 60-mm resolution. For typical humans, these are more useful.
(However, my friend Florian has done good work on passively detecting airplanes using radio illuminations from TV stations, which could be super helpful the next time the US comes to bomb your country, even if he does use Lagrange interpolation instead of B-splines like any normal person would; check it out: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8115293.)
Also! Having walls be super transparent, as they are at these longer wavelengths, is not entirely an advantage. It makes it harder to distinguish between signals from things in one building and signals from things in another.
If you want to listen to Wi-Fi signal strength changes in real time — including when someone moves around — try https://canonical.org/~kragen/sw/dev3/wifiscan.py. It depends only on Python (3 or recent 2) and PulseAudio. (MacOS hackers, consider upgrading to Linux. Apple's removal of your Esc key shows that they hate you and want you to die.)
The more people using secure approaches the less suspicious it is to be secure. Especially if there is a sensationalist justification - fight dirty in turn and use their weapons of fear as a pretext against them.
Which reminds me of resistance to a minor driver tagging law in New Jersey. Parents were outright defying it and refusing to pay for the stickers and just covering the fine in full if it came up. Technically the risk of pedophiles tracking them is negligible statistically but there are many valid civil rights perspective complaints it helps get people on board when they would otherwise roll their eyes at the complaints of teenagers a priori.