Overzealousness or Paranoia?

An anonymous contributor provided Cryptome a list of netblocks supposedly used by the “Terrorist Surveillance Program”. There are two problems with this list – the netblocks are uselessly huge, and there’s absolutely zero evidence to back up the allegation.

We’re not talking little /24 netblocks here; the list includes several /10s, /11s, /9s, and even a /8. That’s an absurdly large number of IP addreses. First of all, there’s no legitimate use for blocking or filtering that large a netblock (many of which appear to be disused or invalid, anyway). Secondly, there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever for the claims, anyway. Thirdly, they’re such broad claims, it’s basically equivelant to stating “suspicious activity comes from Korean IP space”. Well, duh.

Lists like this one demonstrate why it’s not a good idea to trust random “experts”. When the crackpot conspiracy theorist presents his “findings” in a geeky and technical-looking way, it’s easy for the layperson to mistakenly judge those “findings” as legitimate, when they’re not.

You really want to block government-sponsored surveillance? Block 192.80.55.74, or even 192.80.55.0/24, if you’re really paranoid. That IP is used to monitor websites for DHS, and the netblock belongs only to the contractor doing it, not their upstream or national ISP… But, then again, you’d just have to trust me on that, wouldn’t you? 🙂

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Security | on February 8th, 2007| Comments Off on Overzealousness or Paranoia?

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