CALEA is the terrible US federal law that requires that all switches that carry voice-traffic be built with an easy-to-access remote wiretapping capability so that cops (or bad guys who know cop secrets) can listen in on your voice conversations without cooperation from the phone company. A team of University of Pennsylvania researchers (already notorious for finding flaws in the previous version of the CALEA standard that let callers lock out wiretaps) have found a solid theoretical attack against the newer, shinier CALEA standard.
"We asked ourselves the question of whether this standard is sufficient to have reliable wiretapping," said Micah Sherr, a post-doctoral researcher at the university and one of the paper's co-authors. Eventually they were able to develop some proof-of-concept attacks that would disrupt devices. According to Sherr, the standard "really didn't consider the case of a wiretap subject who is trying to thwart or confuse the wiretap itself."
How to Deny Service to a Federal Wiretap
It turns out that the standard sets aside very little bandwidth -- 64K bits per second -- for keeping track of information about phone calls being made on the tapped line. When a wire tap is on, the switch is supposed to set up a 64Kbps Call Data Channel to send this information between the telco and the law enforcement agency doing the wiretap. Normally this channel has more than enough bandwidth for the whole system to work, but if someone tries to flood it with information by making dozens of SMS messages or VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone calls simultaneously, the channel could be overwhelmed and simply drop network traffic.
That means that law enforcement could lose records of who was called and when, and possibly miss entire call recordings as well, Sherr said.
You know what would go great with your Voyager Golden Record? A replica of the “galactic greeting card” plaque that rode along with the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes, designed by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan with artwork prepared by Linda Salzman Sagan.
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is a powerful reactionary figure in the country’s toxic political scene, which has welded a tale of thwarted imperial destiny to a thin-skinned fundamentalist theology that can’t bear the slightest sign of mockery; he’s blamed ISIS on secularism and Pride parades and says that marriage equality literally heralds […]
At $11, the Proctor Silex K2070YA 1-Liter Electric Kettle was the cheapest model I could find on Amazon that didn’t look like it would result in electrocution or an explosion of boiling water. I’ve spent three months with it. It’s OK. In fact, it’s showing no sign at all of problems. It boils water fast. […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]