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physical infrastructure

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Given that we now know that the National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to compromise some, if not all of VPN, SSL, and TLS forms of data transmission hardening, it’s worth considering the various vectors of technical and legal data-gathering that high-level adversaries in America and Britain (and likely other countries, at least in the “Five Eyes” group of anglophone allies) are likely using in parallel to go after a given target. So far, the possibilities include:

  • A company volunteers to help (and gets paid for it)
  • Spies copy the traffic directly off the fiber
  • A company complies under legal duress
  • Spies infiltrate a company
  • Spies coerce upstream companies to weaken crypto in their products/install backdoors
  • Spies brute force the crypto
  • Spies compromise a digital certificate
  • Spies hack a target computer directly, stealing keys and/or data, sabotage.

Let’s take these one at a time.

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free the network map

Motherboard has released its feature documentary, Free the Network, which takes a look at the work being done by some young activists to supplant the corporate-controlled internet with a new, uncensorable, user-controlled network. The 30-minute piece follows hacker Isaac Wilder and his Free Network Foundation from providing internet access to the Occupy activists in Zuccotti Park, to their aspirations for user-owned fiber backbones; and includes commentary from journalist Melissa Gira Grant and author and media critic Douglas Rushkoff. We found the film really works as a snapshot of the movement, conveying its triumphs and setbacks, and educating viewers about the physical infrastructure underlying the internet — control of which...

Continue reading…

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Ben sez, "I want to share a short documentary that I recently produced about the hidden Infrastructure of the Internet called Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors. The video is meant to remind viewers that the Internet is a physical, geographically anchored thing. It features a tour inside Telx's 9th floor Internet exchange at 60 Hudson Street in New York City, and explores how this building became one of the world's most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity."

Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. This short documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible.

Featuring interviews with Stephen Graham, Saskia Sassen, Dave Timmes of Telx, Rich Miller of datacenterknowledge.com, Stephen Klenert of Atlantic Metro Communications, and Josh Wallace of the City of Palo Alto Utilities.

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors

(Thanks, Ben!)

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