Saturday04 February 2023

The NSA and GCHQ want a "Treasure Map" of the Internet

Reading time is around minutes.

We have more news from the Snowden front as Der Spiegel reports one a joint NSA, GCHQ program dubbed treasure map. Although the program was originally revealed by the NY Times in late 2013 it was originally described as a network mapping program with no surveillance application. This claim is no longer holding up as more and more information come out about the two agencies plans to map the entire internet in real time.

Now this might not sound like such a bad thing at first reading, after all having a map of the routes, routers and edge devices found on the internet might actually serve some good. Looking at it in basic terms, understanding traffic patterns on the internet and how data is flowing from end to end can help with improving performance and show areas of concern. It is a tool that many corporate IT guys would love to have (I know I would).

The problem is that the GCHQ and NSA want to use in a slightly different way. The program was described a cyber-battle map which would allow for “Computer Attack/Exploit Planning”. Instead of looking at the choke points for use in improving the internet the Treasure Map program would identify these as potential attack points. We are sure that the shift from passive surveillance to aggressive mission planning is also nothing new, but is give you pause when you think about it.

When Edward Snowden first leaked the information about Prism he stated that it was only the beginning and there were worse things to reveal. We wonder if we have hit the top, or if there is still more to come in the exposure of the massive surveillance of the Internet in the US and around the world. Of course the question still remains, will there be significant change after these revelations or will we just be more informed about how much we are watched?

Tell us what you think

Last modified on Monday, 15 September 2014 06:40

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.