The idea of spying has turned out to be a very sensitive topic of discussion following the Twin Tower terrorist attack in New York in September 2001. TEMPEST and ECHELON are the latest methods of spying in a sophisticated way; both of them are developed by National Security Agency (NSA) of USA for monitoring the individuals. These technologies were actually developed for military espionage, but many hackers use it for spying on the activities of other people.
It is not easy for common people to believe that their monitor can be replicated from anywhere within a kilometer range without any kind of transmission media between the computer and the equipment. This is what Tempest and Echelon is all about.
What is TEMPEST?
TEMPEST (Transient Electromagnetic Pulse Emanation Standard) is a technology that can regenerate what you see on your monitor, and what you type on your keyboard, even when you’re miles apart. It traces out all the electromagnetic radiations from the keyboard, monitor, hard disk and even PC memory of the victim. After tracing these, the signals are reproduced. Thus this technology can assist in intruding into a personal computer from few kilometers away even if the computer is not networked and enables the hacker to hack without the need of any connectivity to the victim’s PC.
What is ECHELON?
On the other hand, Echelon intrudes on a huge network by sniffing through the messages transmitted over a transmission media or network even if these are wireless messages. NSA and its counterparts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and UK have taken this up as a secret project. This technology can intercept almost 2 million communication via phone calls, emails, faxes, downloads, satellite and cellular communications. In simple words, Echelon is a huge network of electronic spy stations situated around the world. It is being maintained by 5 countries mentioned above.
The main principle behind Tempest is that any electrical or electronic device gives out electromagnetic rays of particular key when it is controlled. For instance, a computer monitor’s picture tube gives out radiations when it is scanned on horizontal or vertical range beyond the screen. This is not harmful in any way since it is negligible, but it has a particular frequency range. These electromagnetic signals can be reproduced by tracing with the help of the powerful filtering methods and powerful equipments to correct the errors while transmitting from the equipment.
How Echelon Works
Echelon uses supercomputers for sniffing the packets and messages that are sent as electromagnetic signals. These signals are fed to huge supercomputers belonging to NSA to check for specific keywords known as Echelon dictionaries. This is to ensure safety. This technology takes advantage of distributed computing for the purpose. Every packet is sniffed by NSA for security reasons.
Now that you know Echelon is a vast network of electronic spy stations that sniff messages sent through a transmission media, it’s time to delve into a few more details. The supercomputers then compare these packets with particular keywords and directories in their database. Thus these keywords and directories are the power or rather backbone of an Echelon system and it can intercept around billions of messages per hour. The computers in the Echelon system makes use of few sensitive words to decipher the messages that carry sensitive information, which are called keywords.
The computer searches through several intercepted messages automatically to find the ones with pre-programmed keywords and sends them to the computers of the requesting agency.
The exceptional ability of this technology to intercept a major part of communication traffic in the world is incredible in its scope. Still its power lies in its capability to decode, filter, inspect, and code these messages into chosen divisions for further analysis by intelligence agencies.
Though Echelon gives access to advanced spying methods and keeping away from terrorist activities to some extent, it does have its own drawbacks. Such a system will not give any kind of privacy to users at home and abroad. Beware that everything is monitored and all secrets are public to NSA!
Jolie Fulton owns an online marketing company which deals in web marketing solutions. His services include wed designing, graphic designing, Guest Blogging, application development and many more.