CXO

Security consultant alleges FBI backdoor into major wireless carrier

A computer security consultant has come forward with allegations that the FBI has direct high-speed access to the internal systems of a major wireless carrier.

A computer security consultant has come forward with allegations that the FBI has direct high-speed access to the internal systems of a major wireless carrier.

The CEO of New York-based firm Bat Blue, Babak Pasdar, won't name the wireless carrier, but he claims he chanced upon the surveillance network in September 2003. At that time, he was leading a team hired to revamp the security of the unnamed carrier's internal network.

Pasdar's allegations essentially opened the floodgate to speculations that similar arrangements could have been brokered with other wireless carriers.

The following excerpt from Wired Blogs is his recollection of what happened in 2003:

He [Pasdar] noticed that the carrier's officials got squirrelly when he asked about a mysterious "Quantico Circuit" — a 45 megabit/second DS-3 line linking its most sensitive network to an unnamed third party. Quantico, Virginia, is home to a Marine base. But perhaps more relevantly, it's also the center of the FBI's electronic surveillance operations.

The allegation is also made more serious because it appears that the clandestine link was tied to the core network with access to billing systems, text messages — pretty much all the systems in the data center — without any apparent restriction.

For more information, you can read the seven-page affidavit (pdf) that he filed filed with Government Accountability Project (GAP).

Now, the culture in the East is quite different with regards to government snooping. In fact, in some countries in Asia, Internet censorship or spying is a fact of life. However, this is not the case in the United States. If the above allegations are indeed true, what implications do you see here in terms of corporate secrecy and data security?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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