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[Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

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don

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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:35 am

[Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

If you're a CISSP or a conspiracy theorist, you've probably heard of TEMPEST at least from a theoretical standpoint. Once again, Chris dives into a topic with zeal and presents his research and references. Now you too can be educated in the some more of the details of Compromising Emanations (CE).

BTW - If you're at ShmooCon 2007 starting today, be sure to approach Chris very slowly with tin foil hat clearly visible.  ;D

Image

Ok prepare to strap that tinfoil hat on two notches below excruciating, we’re going to talk about TEMPEST. What is TEMPEST?  It’s defined in NSTISSI-7000 as:

Electronic and electromechanical information-processing equipment can produce unintentional intelligence-bearing emanations, commonly known as TEMPEST. If intercepted and analyzed, these emanations may disclose information transmitted, received, handled, or otherwise processed by the equipment. (1)

and in NSTISSI 7003 (TEMPEST GLOSSARY) as:

“A short name referring to investigations and studies of compromising emanations. It is often used synonymously for the term "compromising emanations"; e.g., TEMPEST tests, TEMPEST inspections.” (2)

Compromising Emanations (CE) are defined as:

“Unintentional intelligence-bearing signals, which, if intercepted and analyzed, disclose the national security information transmitted, received, handled or otherwise processed by any information-processing equipment.” (3)

Clear as mud?  What this means is that your computer, your computer monitor, your CAT5 cable going into your router from your computer, your coax cable into your cable modem, and even your power cord going into the wall can carry electronic and electromechanical signals distances away from your computer and could possibly be intercepted either off the wires or through the air.  Ok, maybe one more notch on that hat.

Image at top of document with Rory Culkin, Mel Gibson and Abigail Breslin from the movie Signs (2002). © Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.


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[Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

As always, leave comments or suggestions,
Don
Last edited by don on Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME
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jimbob

Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:03 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

Good stuff! Talk of TEMPEST has been around for years, but it's funny how something like this gets pushed to the back of your mind. There is certainly a lot more scope for monitoring CE now than there were a few years back when I last read about TEMPEST.

Jimbob
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LSOChris

Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:38 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

especially since "TEMPEST is dead" which is what i heard alot while researching this.

of course in this day and age its easier to physically steal the information or hack in than aim an antenna at a window.  but doesnt take away the cool factor of doing it though!
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heffnercj

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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:55 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

Great article Chris! I did a little research into TEMPEST/Van Eck my self a while back...the Temptest for Elisa program is pretty cool, or at least I thought so.

Wondering if anyone here has played around with Eckbox? I wanted to try it, but found a lot of people who said it didn't work for them. Since I'm not very good with hardware, I didn't want to bother building an ADC for it if it wouldn't work anyway. :P

And while we're on the subject, let's not forget about Tinfoil Hat Linux! A cool name like that AND it fits on a floppy? You know it's gotta be good.
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LSOChris

Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:17 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

i think i am gonna try building that Eck Box when i get back from DC.  and mess around with TEMEPST for Eliza. i only have my mac with me and was having compile issues with the libSDL piece.  should compile fine on the linux box when i get back.  might be a good thing i didnt throw out that old school monitor in the garage yet :-)
Last edited by LSOChris on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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heffnercj

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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:48 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

I found that the Tempest for Eliza program worked best on my laptop screen...worked well on my desktop LCDs too.
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LSOChris

Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:09 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

cool, well i'll check it out and post up on how it goes.
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don

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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

CISSP, MCSE, CSTA, Security+ SME
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slimjim100

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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:16 pm

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

beware of the "thought police" I have reinvested in my tin hat now!

Great article Chris!!!

Brian
CISSP, CCSE, CCNA, CCAI, Network+, Security+, JNCIA, & MCP
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LSOChris

Post Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:52 pm

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

anybody bother to watch:

Dutch Voting Machine TEMPEST Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B05wPomCjEY

what did you think?
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heffnercj

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Post Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:21 pm

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

I thought it was a good example that intelligent data can be gathered from electrical RF emissions. I've had an on-and-off interest in TEMPEST ever since I read Cryptonomicon, so real-life presentations are always interesting to me. Although, I have yet to see a video of someone doing real-time screen captures (if anyone knows of one post it up!).

Michal Zalewski's book Silence on the Wire touches briefly on TEMPEST and other ways of gathering information from unintentional emissions such as NIC activity lights. The whole subject is really interesting.
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LSOChris

Post Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:52 pm

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams

someone was able to reproduce data from nic lights, dont have the academic paper off hand but i know they did it.

there are some videos but they are hard to come by, i'll let you read between the lines on that one
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oleDB

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Post Tue May 15, 2007 10:41 am

Re: [Article]-TEMPEST, Conspiracy Theories and Tinfoil Dreams


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