Israeli spies tapped Clinton e-mail: This is a very old story (and a reprint of a dead link at a British newspaper), but one that the spy junkie and hacker geek in me both find fascinating.
Apparently, in the late nineties, Israel had — get this — a direct connection into the email of the President of the United States. They could essentially read Clinton’s emails (oh, wait — he didn’t send any…)
Sources in Israel say intelligence agents infiltrated Telrad, a company that had been subcontracted by Nortel, America’s largest telecommunications conglomerate, to help develop a communications system for the White House.
Company managers were said to have been unaware that virtually undetectable chips installed during manufacture made it possible for outside agents to tap into the flow of data from the White House.
Information being sent from the president to his senior staff in the National Security Council and outside government departments could be copied into a secret Israeli computer in Washington, the sources said. It was transferred to Tel Aviv two or three times a week.
Does anyone know how this all ended up? The sheer brazeness of something like this just kills me. I mean, that takes guts — installing a hardware backdoor into the White House communications system.
And talk about removing the sysadmins from the equation. If your hardware vendor has installed a backdoor at the physical, hardware level, what are you supposed to do? How can you defend against that?
Related to that, I’m curious as to how the data got out of the network — it had to be transmitted somehow, and could it have been detected leaving the network?