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

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Sep 5 11:20:12 UTC 2013

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Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2013 22:27:46 -0400
From: liberationtech at lewman.us
To: liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] NSA Laughs at PCs, Prefers Hacking Routers and Switches
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Reply-To: liberationtech <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>

On Wed, 4 Sep 2013 20:33:09 -0400
Robert Guerra <rguerra at privaterra.org> 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?

When I read this article, I read core routers and switches at ISPs,
like Cisco, Juniper, F5, etc. I don't read this as linksys, dlink,
netgear, etc. I'm sure NSA could crack into anything consumer
level with ease, it's likely any 4-bit criminal could do it too.
However, it makes more sense for NSA to watch the core connectivity
points on the Internet, rather than watching individuals, solely from
an economic effort versus benefit point of view.

When I ran global networks, one can record everything and sort out the
individual streams later to find employees doing various layers of
fraud or not. There was no point in watching the end points because it
was too resource intensive.

I'm sure the NSA has analyzed this and come to the same conclusion.
There's no point in going after tens of millions of endpoints, when you
can own them all with a handful of switches.

A counterpoint is that most core Internet routers and switches are
running at capacity and any monitoring affects quality of service and
gets customers complaining.

pgp 0x6B4D6475
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