Internet Things can be used for surveillance

US intelligence chief James Clapper, in a hearing before the US Senate, said that devices belonging to the Internet Thief category (IoT) could pose a threat to users. Intelligence agencies are in a position to use them for surveillance of people.

More and more equipment belonging to the so-called. Things that are devices that have wireless connectivity to communicate with the Internet. One might think that such devices have the same benefits, since a communications system integrated with smart circuitry can be very helpful, allowing remote monitoring of a sleeping baby or controlling energy consumption or home lighting.

The truth is that such equipment can also pose a threat, allowing surveillance of people who use it. This was confirmed by US intelligence chief James Clapper during a Senate hearing. In his opinion, this type of device can be used by intelligence agencies used for eavesdropping, tracking, surveillance and even search for targets for recruitment. Although he did not name any agency that could use such methods during his work, he clearly made clear that this was all about, of course, after the information revealed by Snowden is not a big surprise.

Computer Processors with Trojan Horse?

According to the latest report, which is a joint effort of European and American specialists, CPUs used in computers can be equipped with a hardware Trojan horse. Already at the stage of their production, the design of the system can be changed to include the appropriate technology to facilitate the break-in of computers and the spying of users of such equipment. Worse yet, these changes would be virtually undetectable without the use of specialized equipment.

The above message should not be a big surprise. Five years ago, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have proven that it is possible. By adding a few additional items to the chip, they can spy on the user without hindrance.

Recent research in this field shows, however, that the proper fabrication of the system does not require the installation of any additional circuitry, as it can simply change the doping of some transistors.

This is a method to introduce impurities into the silicon to thereby change its electrical properties. By adjusting the doping of a small number of transistors you can modify the operation of the system to create a hardware spy directly in the processor. And since the changes were made at the atomic level, they can not be detected using standard IC quality verification methods.

You could write that the NSA would be happy to welcome new ways of spying on citizens, but I am surprised that they have known this for a long time, and perhaps even use this knowledge on a large scale. All the more, as I recently wrote, NSA can hack into virtually any computer, and so modified processor would make it much easier.