Study reveals security holes for evading wiretaps

In the NYT, John Markoff and John Schwartz report:
The technology used for decades by law enforcement agents to wiretap telephones has a security flaw that allows the person being wiretapped to stop the recorder remotely, according to research by computer security experts who studied the system. It is also possible to falsify the numbers dialed, they said.

Someone being wiretapped can easily employ these "devastating countermeasures" with off-the-shelf equipment, said the lead researcher, Matt Blaze, an associate professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania.

"This has implications not only for the accuracy of the intelligence that can be obtained from these taps, but also for the acceptability and weight of legal evidence derived from it," Mr. Blaze and his colleagues wrote in a paper that will be published today in Security & Privacy, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.