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Communications Encryption The Military United States

U.S. Forces Viewed Encrypted Israeli Drone Feeds (theintercept.com) 49

iceco2 links to The Intercept's report that the U.S. and UK intelligence forces have been (or at least were) intercepting positional data as well as imagery from Israeli drones and fighters, through a joint program dubbed "Anarchist," based on the island of Cyprus. Among the captured images that the Intercept has published, based on data provided by Edward Snowden, are ones that appear to show weaponized drones, something that the U.S. military is well-known for using, but that the IDF does not publicly acknowledge as part of its own arsenal. Notes iceco2: U.S. spying on allies is nothing new. It is surprising to see the ease with which encrypted Israeli communications were intercepted. As always, it wasn't the crypto which was broken -- just the lousy method it was applied. Ars Technica explains that open-source software, including ImageMagick was central to the analysis of the captured data.
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U.S. Forces Viewed Encrypted Israeli Drone Feeds

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  • As always, it wasn't the crypto which was broken -- just the lousy method it was applied.

    So I should just know that and expect that at all times?

    What about how good the military is in using it? Shall I also assume it's always implemented in bad enough ways?

    (Speaking of which: Storage encryption, boot drive SSD with built in encryption? HDDs with software encryption? Multiple layers? I wonder if Slashdot would want to make a post about suggestions for how to keep your data private.)

    • A) don't trust hardware crypto unless you have verified its open source firmware and compiled it yourself or run a comparison test in software. Self-encrypting anything is pointless because you can just steal the entire machine to circumvent it, it is only useful when you discard just the drive. You should always use a software crypto for your entire volume to be sure your stuff is both encrypted and compatible with other systems.

      B) rely only on open source software with crypto stacks the government (NIST o

      • B) rely only on open source software with crypto stacks the government (NIST or NSA) doesn't have a hand in or if you do, those that have been mathematically proven for longer than a few years.

        Feel free. You might find out a couple of decades later that you've been vulnerable the whole time by your own choice.

        Data Encryption Standard [wikipedia.org]

        Some of the suspicions about hidden weaknesses in the S-boxes were allayed in 1990, with the independent discovery and open publication by Eli Biham and Adi Shamir of differential cryptanalysis, a general method for breaking block ciphers. The S-boxes of DES were much more resistant to the attack than if they had been chosen at random . . . Bruce Schneier observed that "It took the academic community two decades to figure out that the NSA 'tweaks' actually improved the security of DES."[13]

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        I don't really know how it works, if I did I wouldn't had asked.

        My impression though is that the key can be regenerated in the hardware you've got so the company behind the product don't have the key from manufacturing it at least.

        Now when I read something which explained how it supposedly worked that one mentioned comparing two hashes (one made earlier and one generated by the password you entered) to see if they matched and if so decrypted the key for decryption and copied it to the right place. Since tha

    • by iceco2 ( 703132 )

      Poorly applied crypto is far more common than weak crypto.
      We see many mistakes: No IV, ECB mode, keeping weak version along with strong, weak keys, error correction underneath encryption and many more.
      In this case they didn't actually apply encryption to the entire feed only rotated the lines pseduo randomly, and the decryption did not require breaking the key nor even figure out which encryption algorithm was used.

      As for how good the military is in using it? well The Israelis got caught with their pants do

  • As always, it wasn't the crypto which was broken -- just the lousy method it was applied.

    Where on earth did the information to back up this difficult-to-parse statement come from? The video was encoded with VideoCrypt [wikipedia.org]. VideoCrypt, which was released in 1989, has a number of ways that it can be attacked. Including brute force [wikipedia.org], which was used here in the form of the Antisky app (from 1994).

    • by iceco2 ( 703132 )

      As I read the information, It was encrypted in a similar fashion but not necessarily identical. Specifically I suspect a different crypto system was used but it still only rotated lines in the video. They used image processing techniques to restore the only partially garbled image, the did not break the underlying crypto nor did they recover the key. The may not even understand which underlying Crypto algorithm is used to decide how much to rotate each row. They break the system without breaking the crypto,

    • > Where on earth did the information to back up this difficult-to-parse statement come from?

      RTFA

      "The manuals stated that video feeds were scrambled using a method similar to that used to protect the signals of subscriber-only TV channels. Analysts decoded the images using open-source code “freely available on the internet” — a program known as AntiSky."

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:08PM (#51409451) Journal

    When one considers the $8 billion we taxpayers are forced to hand over to the apartheid state of Israel each year, combined with technology stolen by traitors such as Jonathan Pollard, it's not as if we didn't have a right to the images.

    Besides, since they deliberately attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, claiming they couldn't see the American flag flying and didn't know it was a U.S. ship despite repeated radio transmissions in the clear stating as much over a 20 minute period, we need to be sure the next time they attack us they can't use the same excuse.

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @03:19PM (#51409783) Homepage Journal
      How about the $2 TRILLION and counting we the taxpayers handed over to Iraq? That is cool, right?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not to mention the $100 billion we're giving to Iran, the nation that funds Hizbollah - a well known and violent terrorist group.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The money was not handed over to Iraq, the money was handed over to US defence contractors in the war for profit. You seriously are crazy enough to suggest Iraqi's got any benefit at all from that $2 trillion dollars. Iraq as just an excuse to funnel that money to the likes of Darth Cheney's Halliburton. Israel gets that money or the arms and munitions (not targeted and detonated like Iraq).

        This just points that most drones are only really about targeting those who can not defend themselves, mass murderi

    • by jopsen ( 885607 )

      it's not as if we didn't have a right to the images.

      I'm no fan of Israel and their inability to make peace... But if you want to call them allies, maybe you should just have asked nicely, and offer to share your drone videos.

      Spying on allies should be limited to what you can read in the news paper.. or hear in a public forum.

    • When one considers the $8 billion we taxpayers are forced to hand over to the apartheid state of Israel each year, combined with technology stolen by traitors such as Jonathan Pollard, it's not as if we didn't have a right to the images.

      The figures I've seen suggest the US aid is Israel is only about half that, and much of that is military aid that is used for purchases of US built equipment.

      Israel cooperatively develops technology with the US military, including missile defense technology.

      The USS Liberty incident occurred during active hostilities among multiple belligerents in the area almost 50 years ago. Has there been some kind of repeat problem that would cause you to bring that up now? Do you think Israel has been patiently biding

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