It has not been long, when three former National Security Agency (NSA) employees made an appearance on TV to make the shocking revelations of nationwide surveillance on citizens by the US government. Last week, Wikileaks revealed a massive spying network across the US, named TrapWire. Are these two spying systems linked together? Or, the newly revealed system is another blow on the private lives of millions of unsuspecting Americans?
TrapWire is a surveillance system that is said to be more accurate than modern facial recognition technology. The system collects and records suspicious activity reports, and analyzes them with data from different sources of the network. If a pattern is detected similar to be a pre-attack planning, the system notifies it to the authorities.
TrapWire surveillance points are installed in all major cities and High Value Targets (HVTs) for terrorists in USA, as well as in some other countries including Canada and UK. Security researcher Justin Ferguson reported that the TrapWire surveillance points are installed in LA, London Stock Exchange, Scotland Yard, #10 Downing, the White House, NY/DC mass transit, NJ transit, all army bases, the department of energy, the marines and many other locations.
The installed surveillance points picks up data every few seconds and send them to a central database system in an undisclosed location to aggregate intelligence. The system is said to be the brain child of Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with former employees of Pentagon, CIA and other government agencies.
All these information was revealed by Wikileaks last week, after a hacktivist group got the data out of millions of emails of private security contractor Stratfor, the owner of Abraxas, on Christmas eve, 2011. But, the Wikileaks servers had been under a massive DDoS attack since the emails were published on the activist group’s servers. And, the newly revealed data can’t be accessed since then.
A hacker group, named AntiLeaks, has claimed the credit for the attacks. The leader of the group claimed that the attack was to stop Wikileaks’ leader Julian Assange fleeing from justice. Read what they had to say,
“You can call me DietPepsi. I am the leader of AntiLeaks. We are not doing this to call attention to ourselves. We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America and are deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and his attempt at asylum in Ecuador.
Assange is the head of a new breed of terrorist. We are doing this as a protest against his attempt to escape justice into Ecuador. This would be a catalyst for many more like him to rise up in his place. We will not stop and they will not stop us.”
However, people suspect that the attack could be related to the revelation of TrapWire related data in public. J.D. Tuccille, editor at reason.com, suspects that the AntiLeaks attacks could be a marketing ploy by Wikileaks to draw attention to TrapWire.
Whatever it might be, something seems to be seriously wrong about this TrapWire. When the Wikileaks servers get back online, we hope to be enlightened. And once that happens, hopefully, we will get to know, if TrapWire is a similar system that the three NSA whistle-blowers talked about, or it is a new bread altogether.