In the previous article I discussed Facebook’s trove of tagged user photos as a powerful source of information for advertising and law enforcement purposes.
Here I want to discuss an irony about efforts to access data and keep it off limits.
In Philip K. Dick’s original story “Minority Report” face recognition technology seems quaint as a surveillance tool compared to how the society puts to use the interconnected gifts of three mutant children. More or less imprisoned together in a sensory deprivation tank, the three coexist as a hive mind that produces televisual images as precognitive evidence for imminent crimes, feeding a law enforcement pilot program that uses the precognitive images to arrest and convict perpetrators who have not yet actually done anything.
A related irony is that the system’s virtuoso detective, John Anderton, becomes one of his own cases. His life comes to depend on his success in revealing a fundamental flaw in the system before other detectives can find and convict him of a precognitively recorded murder.
The NSA is currently building its largest surveillance-oriented datacenter in part to break into AES-encrypted data they already hold through ongoing capture of all internet backbone data. Yet the AES encryption standard they intend to break is also one (AES 256) they themselves use to guard top secret information. So if their brute-forcing efforts succeed, government agencies would be able to digitally safeguard classified data only so long as an unauthorized someone does not gain access to the new code-breaking system.
For now, if AES 256 is good enough for the United States National Security Agency, it’s also good enough for protecting any network resources. As IT professionals, whenever security warrants, we should use network management tools that support SNMPv3, an AES-based protocol. For example, SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager can use SNMPv3 to download existing configs or to update them as needed.