NSA tracing VPNs (multiple hops)?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by syncmaster913n, Mar 30, 2012.

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  1. syncmaster913n

    syncmaster913n Registered Member

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    I've noticed a few people in the forums claimed at one point or another that the NSA supposidly has the technology to trace an OpenVPN connection directly to the user, without having to contact any of the respective server / ISP administrators, and even if multiple hops throughout the globe are used.

    Does anyone have any additional information on this? Is it just some rumor about the almighty NSA, or is this information well-founded? Is such an 'attack' even theoretically possible, excluding the situation where some sort of malware would get sent to the user's PC which might disclose his IP in one way or another?

    I would really like to hear your opinions on this as I wasn't able to find any specific information on the subject.

    Thanks.
     
  2. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Who knows what the NSA can or can't do? It's very possible. But really, unless you're involved in terrorism, the NSA won't be after you anyway. They don't share their information with the FBI or local police or anybody else. They're very territorial. I just assume the NSA can do things we'd be shocked about. But they'll actually utilize it only in extreme cases. Read James Bamford's books on the NSA - eye opening.
     
  3. Warlockz

    Warlockz Registered Member

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    Yes they can trace you in ways you wouldn't even think was possible, but they don't care unless your a terrorist a major hacker or major CP distributer. they have even been sticking their noses in Copyright infringement ect lately so NO they are not as territorial as they used to be, and YES they are starting to work with other LEA, don't believe me? keep doing things you know you shouldn't and they most likely already have you on a list, I don't know what your planning but I would STOP if I was you because in the end you will look back and think to yourself, it sure does suck sitting in a jail cell. all it takes is one slip up and your had period. as with Tor, they use Institutions around the world, and rent cheap servers in various places to spy on Tor, why do you think Institutions get so much grant money? Its 2012, not like the old days...The Internet is now a Giant HoneyPot.


    STOP
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2012
  4. Warlockz

    Warlockz Registered Member

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    I was at a Bar some time ago and i was talking to a dude that worked in a Highly secure facility, the type if you go too close to the fence they can shoot you, all the wonders of these Huge White Giant globes, but anyways this guy said it was nothing for them to take control of your machines, he said they implement all kinds of Goodies in Newer Hardware and Software which makes it a breeze for them to spy on you, can somebody say did I just pay for Hardware with a BackDoor. INTEL is one of their top supporters.
     
  5. syncmaster913n

    syncmaster913n Registered Member

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    Thanks for the posts.

    Although the purpose of this thread wasn't to discuss the potential capabilities of NSA in general - I was only talking about VPNs in particular. I understand what you are trying to say - that everything could be backdoored. Let's assume for a moment though that OpenVPN isn't backdoored; how, theoretically, could a user be traced through a multiple hop VPN?

    As for your first post Warlockz, it's a little odd to me that you would say that in a forum such as this one. If every question over here were to be construed to mean that someone is trying to hide some super illegal activity, then this whole forum would be one giant black market for illegal information. If I really cared about doing something illegal, I would use a prepaid SIM card, dial a quad VPN, connect from that to a VPS, then dial another quad VPN from within the VPS. Do all of this in a place without cameras. Change locations very frequently. And no NSA and not all the technology in the world would find me. This is not the point of this post though. I am simply interested in understanding how, from a technical point of view, might it be possible to trace someone through multiple hops VPNs - as any references to this that I have heard have been completely unfounded / not backed with any explanation so far.

    Please don't take this personally WarlockZ, I just don't want this thread to get derailed and closed.

    Thanks for the book suggestion LockBox, I will give it a go. Could you recommend a specific title? (I see there are a few books by him.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  6. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    ot posts removed. Stay on subject please
     
  7. syncmaster913n

    syncmaster913n Registered Member

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    *
    However, in general I prefer to keep away from the "who knows" argument, as it assumes some mystique super powers that are beyond comprehension. I've read James Bamford's book tonight (The Shadow Factory - bought it on Amazon for my PC Kindle). There was nothing in there that surprised me in particular - didn't see any signs of the NSA having some magical powers. All that I saw were some huge macro survaillance techniques, which aren't something difficult to theorize about - only something requiring a lot of funds and a bit of trickery.

    Some people will say that the NSA will have some really high-tech secret technologies, which they will not reveal until there is a really important need to do it. I don't really buy that one either - what really important need are we talking about? Is the NSA waiting for B. Laden vol. 2 to appear and use multiple hops VPNs to coordinate with his people, so that they can suddenly crack down on them all with a grin on their faces and a feeling of superiority? I don't buy it, sounds very far fetched and more of a scare tactic employed to keep everyone afraid and second-guessing their capabilities.

    So I am still hoping for an argument-based discussion on the topic, if anyone is knowledgable in the subject.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2012
  8. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    I'm sorry, Synch, I didn't see this until now (your asking me about which books). What you read was his first NSA book, it gives a good overview of the NSA, but The Shadow Factory really gets into the meat of NSA modern-day activity; as does Body Of Secrets.

    Coincidentally, Bamford just wrote a piece for WIRED Magazine regarding a truly baffling question about NSA practice. It went online today:
    http://m.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/all/1
     
  9. syncmaster913n

    syncmaster913n Registered Member

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    Hi LockBox,

    Actually the book I read is The Shadow Factory - to quote myself:

    This is his latest book, right?

    And thanks for the article link.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  10. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Yes. I see now that is the book you read. Shadow Of Secrets is his latest book. I'm sorry, I promise to get my eyes checked.
     
  11. syncmaster913n

    syncmaster913n Registered Member

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    52 years old ain't pretty, boss ;)

    Kidding of course. No problem, dont worry about it lol
     
  12. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    The 52 part is okay, it's just when I feel like 72. Happens more and more.
     
  13. HTTPS

    HTTPS Registered Member

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  14. JimmySausage

    JimmySausage Registered Member

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    I read Body of Secrets years ago. There is no one more knowledgeable on the NSA and it's capabilities than James Bamford.
    In the end of Body of Secrets he writes that none of this government intrusion would be possible with out the direct cooperation and support from private industry. In addition, he also observed that the continuing innovation at a rapid pace makes the NSA always playing catch up.

    Even though they have these massive abilities, they still can't break strong 128 and specially 256 bit encryption. They can certainly do man in the middle attacks ect, but not the actually breaking of strong encryption. That's what the whole idea of the building in Utah is all about. Not breaking the encryption of today but of the past.

    As the technological capabilities of the NSA will surely increase, so will the technological development and innovation from some kid working on his Phd, that develops some knew algorithm that throws a monkey wrench into the governments plans. Look at TrueCrypt for example. There has never been a documented case of TrueCypt ever have been broken if used according the developers instructions.

    But in closing, yes, vpns and hide ip's and things like that, the government, if it chose, would have little trouble sending a bug to your router and tracing everything you do and where you go. I just don't think they care that you are downloading the last movie of Harry Potter.
     
  15. arubarocks77

    arubarocks77 Guest

    Sole purpose of the Bluffdale facility is......code breaking....have enough machines operating at a yottabyte and they will crack any cipher. Even the AES-256-CBC that I am connected through right now:ninja:
     
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