(network)technologies used by NSA for data collection

Mike A mikea at mikea.ath.cx
Mon Mar 23 13:42:52 UTC 2015


On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 04:05:35AM +0200, Martin T wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I watched "Citizenfour"(imdb.com/title/tt4044364/) documentary and at
> 41:12 Edward Snowden gives a brief overview of some of the leaked
> documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill. At 42:57
> Snowden mentions devices which are able to collect data at rate of
> 1Tbps. This was in 2011. Screen-shots from the movie can be seen here:
> https://nsa.gov1.info/dni/2014/tumult.jpg Third slide looks like some
> sort of vendor product roadmap :)
> Just out of curiosity, what kind of equipment those might be? Is it
> realistic that NSA/DoD are able to produce their own hardware? Let
> alone custom silicon like Cisco or Juniper are. Or do they use off the
> self hardware.. In addition, it's relatively easy to install a passive
> fiber optical tap for a submarine cable, but how do you get
> information out of it? I mean all the different wavelengths(CWDM/DWDM)
> within the same cable, line rates(up to 100GigE), circuit switched and
> packet switched technologies which those devices should support.. In
> addition, how(bandwidth and network wise) to transport this data to
> data analysis and storage equipment if it collected far away from
> USA..
> Some of those questions or thoughts might be naive and stupid, but
> that's what crossed my mind when I watched the documentary. Maybe
> somebody, who has done more research in this field, could clarify.

NSA has had in-house chip fab facilities for at least 10 years, probably
closer to 20, and possibly as much as 30, as well as working agreements with
big network gear manufacturers. 

-- 
Mike Andrews, W5EGO
mikea at mikea.ath.cx
Tired old sysadmin 


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