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Spying and Technology: Robert Philip Hanssen 192

spludge writes: "The affidavit for the arrest of Robert Philip Hanssen, an FBI agent that spied for Russia for 15 years, makes fascinating reading. It reads like a spy novel with some neat technology references! In the affidavit Hanssen (aka "B") is portrayed as a computer expert with programming knowledge. The affidavit includes mentions of: the use of Palm VII's for communication, encryption techniques, track 40 floppy writing (?), a new NSA technique for surveillance (we aren't told what it is) and programs to automatically destroy computer data when it is compromised."
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Spying and Technology: Robert Philip Hanssen

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  • by alsutton ( 218963 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:57AM (#412339) Homepage
    When you write data to an area of the disk that's not used by a standard format. i.e. In the days of 40 track floppys, tracks 0 to 39 were used to store data in the standard filesystem format. You could use some utilities to format track number 40 and thus you had a writable track that didn't interfere with the normal use of the disk and the data on it didn't appear when browsing the file system on the disk.
  • Hey guys, the later 1541's, the 1571's, the 1581's, 1541C, and so on so forth, all had the jumpers on 'em. In fact, I have a 1541 at the bottom of my closet at home. With dip switches on it. Original tan casing, not a 1541C. Now all I need is a freakin Commodore 64 or 128 (preferably, as I have a LOT of 128 software on floppies at the house)
  • I have an A2000HD sitting right here under my desk, it needs a monitor cable to go to the 1084. Anyone got a line on one? PLEASE email me.
    I can't -stand- to use the Amiga in Black/White mode, which is what happens if I hook up it's composite a/v outs :(
  • I have a *cuh-razy* thought here: maybe if our governments didn't keep so many "secrets", people wouldn't die either trying to find them out, or giving them away to other governments. Oh wait, what am I thinking. The government *needs* to use our money to develop secret stuff so that we can be safe from all those other governments developing secret stuff.
  • I still find excesive the death penalty as punishment for spionage(human right's respecting countries don't have this dilema).

    Knowing the blured morality an espy has to deal with lineancy will be fairer and more useful: an spy that fooled people, specialy one without principles (that is what the evidence is implying this guy to be) can be locked for the rest of his/her life and could earn an early release teaching other spies how he managed to fool them.

  • This guy was already making $110k/year salary, so this only doubled his salary.


    Actualy, it is relisticly more that that, I assume he didn't fill out a 1099 MISC and then reported it as incom on form 1040 line 21. So even tho he gets paid 110k he really on gets to keep around 79k. I've been trying to find a link on NPR about what they said about the amount, but paraphraseing what they said : the amount paid is about twice the disposable income.
  • so, as far as I'm concerned all spies end up dead or in jail...

    as far as i am concerned everyone ends up dead

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • The foreign countries section of the Stasi. Head was Markus Wolf. They had spys in the highest positions of the NATO and and several gouvernments (Guillaume ...).
    The inner sections were very effective, too. But they had completely different working agendas, though sometimes equivalent methods.
  • I remember having two CBM 8050 drives.

    They were FAST (IEEE-488 interface does that. It was the SCSI of its day), and kept most of the CBM directory structure.

    They were supposed to use DS/QD disks. However, those 360K disks from the local store were able to format out to 1 MB.

    However, to clarify. The 1541, 4040, and 1571 drives can write out to track 44 if you play some tricks with CBM DOS. I had code that would do that from one of my old cracker books.

    The other interesting trick that was played was actually thought of by SubLogic. On Flight Simulator for the c64, the main loader program and a large amount of code was written to Track 18 (directory), and was only available via direct access.

    However, the tracks 35-44 trick was quite good, and could be used to hide a lot more data than track 40 :). From what I remember, the 8050 had the same trick too.
  • Actually, we don't seem to put spies to death anymore... They all seem to get life sentences. I guess that means they could apply for a pardon, once they're sufficiently forgotten about...
  • Sure, but I know some policemen and firefighters that are alive and happy, but I don't know of a single spy that is alive and happy; All the spies of heard of in jail or dead. So, as far as I'm concerned all spies end up dead or in jail, but most firefighters and policeman live long happy lives :-)

    Acutally, in fiction "recruiting for espionage (whether corporate or national) is usually rooted in finding some personal problem and exploiting it with the proper carrot", but in recent interviews on NPR, they stress that spies in real life are motivated by money and ego.

    Joe
  • As bad as some things the US Government does are, we are still a liberal democracy, and as such are far, far more beholden to the common interest than a converted Communist/Stalinist superpower like Russia with a chip on its shoulder about becoming a dominant player so it can help its buddies, like the Serbs, and sell arms to terrorists and rogue nations. Sounds great, huh?

    That's exactly why USA is more dangerous than Russia: it hasn't got any experience of Stalinism. So nothing can prevent it from becoming a totalitarian society over time. Russia has got its antidote - basically, Russians don't believe what they are told in the media. Since totalitarism is about brain-washing much more than about guns and concentration camps, the States have a far and interesting way to go. Scary.
    ==================
    By the time you have reached perfection, there's nobody around you to share it with.

  • All your base are belong to us!
  • Which is why intelligence agencies have human and technical resources specialists...the CIA and FBI have a track record of neglecting their human resources (agents, not the James Bond type, but the real type who sit quietly for 15 years and steal information undetected) in favour of their technological (satelites, ECHELON etc) ones at their own costs.
  • A double standard? I think it's more about using the scum-of-the-earth: people who'd betray their own people, family, friends. There are Russians like that, and the US gov't will use them, but I don't think there's any particular love or admiration for them.

    I think you found the operative word.... scum. Let's face it, these are not the people you take home to visit the folks or to meet your sister. We have to deal with their (and every other country's) scum and they find ours in the woodwork. And whether it's allies or not (like pollard spying for isreal or when the french intelligence bugged air france planes years ago), they're all scum, and I wish they'd be treated appropriately when caught..and that doesn't me released.

  • Can someone post a mirror of this as either pure PostScript or PDF that ghostscript can read? I get nothing but errors when handing this to ggv.
  • by w00ly_mammoth ( 205173 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:59AM (#412358)
    1) Do not use prominent newspapers like the Washington Post to post classified ads as a signal to your contact. Instead, make a clever goatse.cx post as an AC - you will never be traced. Most surveillance agents browse /. at the +1 level, and even if they don't, there's no way they'd spot you out from the thousands of ACs.

    2) Do not use real bridges and lamp-posts as drop-off points. Instead, join the blue team on a Team Fortress server and arrange to meet a red team dude on the bridge in 2fort5. Just nod (nobody pays that much attention) and drop off your backpack on the bridge. Watch out for the enemy snipers on the tower! They could be real intelligence agents...

    Other options include spraying a wall with bullets in counterstrike or q3. The marks wear off pretty quickly and are impossible to log. No chance of detection there.

    3) Use Windows for all your "work". You are guaranteed to lose your files, even the ones you want to keep.

    4) Can't think of any more. oh well, add to the list...

    w/m
  • If you want to know the *real* reason for the success of the 3.5's, just try tucking a 5.25 into your shirt pocket.
  • "American spies get killed in other countries for what they do, and we don't raise a diplomatic stink about it. The risks and rewards are well known on either side of the equation. It's not like those other countries don't believe the exact same way about their own country and their own way of life."

    Yes but if this were a religious war, would you feel justified in your actions because the other side feels the same?

    My argument is that we should analyze Espionage for what it really is. It is the opening of a chess game that always costs lives. Spies are the first pawns out; and whether or not they exist - lives are still lost because of the military, and the militaristic views of the US government.

    We can not argue that this spy is costing us lives, or them lives -- if America had nothing to hide, then people would not have to die. I feel I have a right and need to know exactly what these spies are after; does the US have a much larger arsenol than we expected, paid for by taxpayers.... do they take taxpayers money and spend it on huge espionage activities themselves; only to condemn double agents performing the same duty to a different country?

    Or does the US just happen to serve better martini's at their political functions? Obviously these spies are after critical information that makes up a much, much larger picture. To condemn the spy is ludicrous, why don't we find out what information he had, and see who the most villinous entity is.. the spy, or the activities which attracted him?

    ps. Moderating down my messages because they are "un-american" isn't exactly American.
  • Sic doesn't mean "spelled incorrectly", it's Latin for "thus", as in "Thus did we find this", a fancy way of saying "It was already broken before we got our hands on it".

    Sic transit gloria slashdot

  • "But then that would spoil your view of evil (as you so originally put it) Amerikkka"

    My comments about Evil America were actually meant to be more of a reflection of the people who can overlook their own countries massive Espionage efforts and spending to focus on a single individual who supposidly hurt their precious governments Militarily controlled world-monopoly.

    Gas prices high? Start a war, and hey, while you're doing it - claim it's about babies being slaughtered, and make sure the newspapers do next to nothing save for advertising your weapons so other countries will want to buy from you.

    I've got a million common-sense examples of attrocities caused and controlled by the American government. I'm not attacking the USA as a country because of them. I am attacking the USA as a country because so many of it's own citizens are ademently doing their governments cover-up jobs for them;

    "Russia does it too"
    "The detonation of Two nuclear bombs saved lives"
    (Yet if the American government were to execute a single individual in the street for political reasons; we would all be in an uproar... until someone justified it publicly).
    "Saddham Hussein was on the warpath
    (and besides, gas was gonna get expensive)"

    The moniker, "Amerikkka" represents more than just the globally excepted view of America as a generally racist, militaristic, and Fascist-News controlled country...

    It also represents the history of America as an openly racist country which made all of its wealth and established living conditions off of the lives of slaves and natives.

    Now that Americas population is so high; the standard of living close to what it originally was and Slavery has been abolished; who does Amerikkka turn to for it's wealth and labour?

    Foreign 'enemies'. Crazy people like Saddham who was ripe for a nationlist moral boosting war. Sure, Saddham might be crazy; and the thing that makes us not feel guilty for our actions against him is that his military actually believed and followed his fascist orders. Our military bombed hospitals and schools by accident, and we believed for a very long time that they didn't.

    Moderating my messages down for being "un-american" is as "un-american" as the American Press.
  • "...make a clever goatse.cx post as an AC..."

    Let's see, signal to noise ratio found browsing Slashdot at -1 over last 2.5 years declines steadily and "experts" say Osama Ben Laden and other terrorists increasingly using internet for secure secret communications. Co-incidence?

  • In reality, spies cause death.

    They also save lives. Remember that the FBI was tipped off to Hanssen's activities by a spy inside the Russian intelligence community. To the Russians, that person is a criminal who'll probably be executed if he's caught. To us, he's a hero. It's all a matter of perspective.

  • 5) Oh yeah, use Spam Mimic [spammimic.com] to encode your messages. Nobody will ever catch you. But you might just be sued and thrown in jail.
  • That's it. From now on, I am absolutely checking under *every* footbridge I come accross, for thousands of dollars hidden in inconspicuous heaps of trash.
  • It makes you wonder how the FBI catch hackers but someone spying for someone else who is under their noses they don't seem to "notice". Makes you wonder if Carnivor would actually work. :-)
  • Looks like they're referring to the Linux Counter [li.org]project:Here's [li.org] his record.
    Regards,
  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Thursday February 22, 2001 @09:16AM (#412380)
    ... there's an (alleged) traitor named Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI agent.

    ... there's a (convicted) serial murderer named Robert Hansen, who was born and raised in Iowa.

    ... and an FBI agent named John Douglas was instrumental in the capture of Robert Hansen.

    ... and there's a Slashdotter (me) named Robert Hansen.

    ... whose best friend in high school was named John Douglas.

    I'm telling you, I think I'm going to have to go commit a crime against humanity or something in order to live up to the high standards my other namesakes have left for me. :)
  • Actually, the FBI doesn't polygraph its people. They claim it will destroy the "community of trust". And, yeah, it's not all that difficult to beat the polygraph. Just learn some biofeedback techniques.
  • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2001 @05:24AM (#412382) Journal
    There's a acronym used to describe why people become treasonous: MICE. Money: generally regarded as the safest reason; the people who want money are rational people who want to do thing, get their money, and survive to spend it somewhere. This can also cover other incentives, such as honeytraps. Ideology: These can be the most dangerous. Also, they can be fairly irrational; they believe they answer to a higher power, and will turn against their new patrons if they believe the new ones go against the ideology. This covers all forms, including political and religious. Concience: basic human feeling. This is a fairly safe one to play, as well, assuming that the subject then doesn't feel overly remorseful about betraying his or her former masters. Ego: the subject does it because they can, because they feel personally slighted or unappreciated by their former masters, or because they feel like getting back at their former masters. This can be dangerous; you never know when the ego will turn against the new handlers. Now, you can have crosses between these; the ego subject might expect to get paid. You can also have conflicts; be real careful offering an ideological subject money; you'll wind up insulting him.
  • by __aakpxi9117 ( 248760 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:32AM (#412383) Journal
    While I love hearing about spy stories as much as the next guy, what happened here is nothing to boast about... In movies, James Bond and other famous spies lead thrilling lives and are always saving the world from evil. In reality, spies cause death. People die because of information spies pick-up, from knowledge that so-so is a spy for this country, to atomic weapons secrets that leave this world in fear of destruction. I really think this subject should be looked upon with thoughts more torwards reality and less torwards the picture-perfect super-spy senarios hat come out of hollywood. In real life the good-guys get killed too.
  • Page 70 (really page 73) quotes a letter from Hansenn to the Russians:

    One of the commercial products currently available is the Palm VII organizer. I have a Palm III, which is actually a fairly capable computer. The VII version comes with wireless internet capability built in. It can allow the rapid transmission of encrypted messages, which if used on an infrequent basis, could be quite effective in preventing confusions if the existance [sic] of the accounts could be appropriately hidden as well as the existance [sic] of the devices themselves. Such a device might even serve for rapid transmittal of substantial material in digital form.

    This is...
    1) Ingenious product placement in a Palm-Hansenn deal;
    2) Asking them to call him "Hanssen. Philip Hanssen. Robert Philip Hanssen.";
    3) An excuse to try 2-player PocketChess;
    4) About to see Microsoft blame Palm for all espionage;
    5) All of the above.

    I for one can't wait to read whether they installed Time Traveler for him...

    --------------------------------

  • I think they should give this guy a medal for his strict adherence to that prime American value - Capitalism!

    By selling the Russkies information they'd already gotten from Ames, he was weakening the Sovient Union, by forcing them to divert funds from their war machine into his bank account!

    Gawdammit, give that man a promotion!


    D.

  • You heard correctly. The standard PC floppy controller is incapable of reading an Amiga diskette. Furthermore, the FDD controller on an Amiga computer can't use standard floppy drives. There is a product called the CatWeasel [jschoenfeld.com] controller, which comes in several flavors. There are several versions which allow the various Amiga architectures to use a standard floppy drive, and can read & write almost any known floppy format. There is also an ISA Catweasel which will let you read Amiga disks from an x86 machine. It's a fairly expensive piece of hardware ($100 or more). CatWeasel is made by a German company; I believe the US distributer is www.softhut.com [softhut.com]

    It's probably cheaper to find a used Amiga on ebay. Last time I checked, the going price for an A500 was around $20 + shipping. An Amiga is capable of reading & writing to 720K MS-DOS floppies - you can copy your amiga software over to 720k floppies and sneakernet it over to your PC. Another approach is to build yourself a null modem cable to connect your Amiga and PC via SLIP, PPP, or PLIP (if you want to use the parallel port). You will have to make the cable yourself - the Amiga uses a non-standard pinout on it's serial and parallel ports (Don't forget to hook up the ground!). I used a null-modem SLIP connection to copy floppy images over to my PC and burn them to a CD-ROM; it took a while but I only had to spend about $15 on the parts to make the cable.

    For amiga emulation under Linux (and BSD, and BeOs, etc.), use UAE [linux.de] or WinUAE [codepoet.com] if you are running Windows. If you want legal Amiga ROM images (and a lot more), get Amiga Forever [cloanto.com] from Cloanto. Illegal (or at least questionable) ROM images can be found easily enough with a Google search. (The proof is left as an exersize for the student.)

  • What you say?
  • Somebody set up us the bomb. All your base are belong to us.
  • American spies get killed in other countries for what they do, and we don't raise a diplomatic stink about it. The risks and rewards are well known on either side of the equation. It's not like those other countries don't believe the exact same way about their own country and their own way of life.

  • Actually, the misspelling of "existance" is a direct quote from a letter from Hanssen to his Russian Handlers (or vice versa, can't remember). That's why the (sic) is there - "spelled incorrectly". It's used when quoting others' grammar mistakes, just as was done here.
    Also, when they knew who he was, it took about 4 or 5 months to stake him out and catch him. This guy is a felon, but a genius felon. Smart people are pretty hard to nail.
  • The revealing of Hanssen as a spy was done with great florish: a large raid, the FBI announcing how damaging Hanssen's revealations may have been, etc. All this despite the embarrassment having a spy within the agency is.

    Is the FBI experiencing a period of being more open and honest?

    Or is Hanssen being used as another example of why encryption is bad, carnivore is good, the FBI needs more powers to peep?

    ColdCuts
  • by caveman ( 7893 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @01:29AM (#412407)
    Like a lot of the stuff Commodore put out back then, it was before it's time. Windows still hasn't learned from some of their innovations.

    The disk format used on the 1541 and its predecessors (1540, 4040, etc.) was a technological marvel of it's day. Only thirty-five tracks, single sided, variable number of sectors per track, and the directory in the middle on track 18. Each sector was written in GCR format, allowing far higher data density than acheived on the IBM 9-sector format.

    If they developed it further, we'd have had 82-track, double sided, double density floppies, holding more than a megabyte, and the 3.5" floppy might not be here today.

    The wonderful thing about GCR as opposed to MFM encoding is that MFM wastes an awful lot of space with phase changes. GCR records more actual data, but each group code (the five bits that translate to four bits of actual data) is designed such that you never get more than eight 1-bits in a row, or more than two 0-bits in a row. This way you are guaranteed a phase change within a certain period, so the signal from the read head is kept 'moving'. The practical upshot of all this is that you can crank the GCR encoded data out onto the diskette at a faster rate than plain old MFM.

    Putting the directory in the middle of the disk, along with the block allocation bitmap, lowered the average seek time, as the head a less distance to travel. The Amiga continued this, putting the disk home block, from which everything grew outwards, onto track 40.

    Variable sectors per track (ranging from 21 on tracks 01-17, 19 on tracks 18-24, 17 on tracks 25-30, and 16 on tracks 31-35 (I'm guessing a little here)) allowed for greater data density without compromising data integrity on the inner tracks by exceeding the amount that could be reliably stored there. Hard disks today use a similar method, which is why the number of blocks on a disk might not equal the multiplied up values of cylinders, heads, and sectors. (LBA mode vs. CHS mode).

    Of course, the thing about the CBM drives that made them the most fun drives to play with was the onboard 6502 processor with its 2k of memory, allowing you to download and execute code in the drive, speeding it up, flashing error messages in morse code on the LED, or even playing music using the stepper motor. (Actually, we used to do that with RL02's too, but it's equally unrecommended ;-)

    By 'eck. Them were t' days.

  • 1. No he hasn't

    2. No they don't

    3. Along with all of Europe

  • you have no chance to survive make your time.
  • Nope. The last two are ways to get somebody to do something against his will. Not reasons somebody themselve will turn treasonous.
  • ...white tape, tacks, garbage bags, and floppy disks don't commit espionage - spies do.
  • by British ( 51765 )
    Expect a rash of Palm parody ads regarding this>

    10.00am - drop off kids at school
    12.00pm - lunch at TGIF
    4.00pm - hand off documents to KGB agents

    What's on your Palm?
  • See...that guy from microsoft is not an idiot just spewing rhetoric - he knew what he was talking about. Linux is a communistic tool, probably jointly written by the GRU and KGB/SVR.

    The man program is actually an interface to Mao's Little Red Book.
  • That's true, but remember that in this case Intellectual Property isn't being used just to maximize profits or hurt "consumers". It's being used to prevent crazy, non-democratic governments from nuking each other or us off the face of the earth. A lofty goal, and I'm willing to concede that National Secrets are worth protecting and keeping secret and differ quite a bit from general IP.
  • Of course, the thing about the CBM drives that made them the most fun drives to play with was the onboard 6502 processor with its 2k of memory, allowing you to download and execute code in the drive, speeding it up, flashing error messages in morse code on the LED, or even playing music using the stepper motor.

    Never heard the musical disk drives, but I once saw somebody who wrote some code to simulate a dimmer on the floppy drive lights. It'd just slowly get brighter, then fade again. Very nifty :)

  • The shock is not "Oh my lord, the evil Russians had a spy in our country! Those bastards!" The shock is "Holy crap, this guy was here for fifteen years and we didn't catch him! We suck!"
  • Capturing every single CPU instruction would not
    be low overhead. Not only that, but doing those
    captures would be impossible on many CPUs.
  • by puppetluva ( 46903 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:07AM (#412436)
    Was this traitor using proprietary software or "un-american" free software to do this double-crossing?

    I certainly hope all of the other agents are using taxpayer-supported, Microsoft owned, C2 Secure (cough) copies of Windows.

    A thought: maybe we should start infiltrating M$ with free-software double-agents that sneak around and plant bug-fixes everywhere. . .
  • Actions have consequences and fancy words have definitions. From the article:

    affidavit - a sworn statement in writing made especially under oath or on affirmation before an authorized magistrate or officer

    aka - (abbreviation) also known as

    surveillance - close watch kept over someone or something (as by a detective)

    Glad that I could help out.

  • Bill Gates: "Damn those Russian spies. All they want to do is go around stealing people's source code."

  • Probably TMD is Theater Missle Defence, and NMD is National Missle Defence.

    TMD would probably be a system which could cover a battlefield (eg, europe in WWII).



    Surfing the net and other cliches...
  • one reason may be that it wasn't written when he allegedly started this stuff.

    All your events [openschedule.org] are belong to us.
  • Spy vs. Spy by Ronald Kessler provides a good description of the FBI's counterintelligence program.

    It compares U.S. spying/counterspying efforts to soviet efforts(it was written in 1988, when the Soviet Union still existed). According to Kessler, to discourage double agents, soviet intelligence officers are shown a video of a KGB double agent being repeatedly raised and lowered into a blast furnace. The worst that Hanssen will get is some time in jail. Which side would you feel more comfortable betraying?
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @06:26AM (#412449)
    It's not a double standard. You don't seem to understand that foreign policy is not an ethical regime, because there is no general, ethical standard between nations with entirely different cultural standards. With nations we consider basically to be "allies" we are usually a little more lighthanded with our spying practices. With enemies more heavyhanded. The fact is, when you step into the world of espionage you are taking a pledge to represent your country's interests above all else. Failure to do that is presumed to be treason and to imply death. Remember that this man DIRECTLY caused the death of two others (enemy double agents - that's right, "bad guys" who were now working as "good guys" for us).

    "Bad" is defined in this context as representing another nation's interests over our own, especially when that nation is considered a risk to our nation. That is basically the limit of moral considerations in espionage. Remember the goal here - to make sure that a nation that will use its power to do less evil unto the world than others maintains its edge. That, my friends, is the USA despite all the tripe you hear on Slashdot. As bad as some things the US Government does are, we are still a liberal democracy, and as such are far, far more beholden to the common interest than a converted Communist/Stalinist superpower like Russia with a chip on its shoulder about becoming a dominant player so it can help its buddies, like the Serbs, and sell arms to terrorists and rogue nations. Sounds great, huh?

    So before you start blabbing about double standards understand the moral and ethical framework these people MUST operate in and realize that your life may depend on it (whether or not you are yourself an American citizen).

  • you can try the postscript doc at http://dotslash.dynodns.net/01/02/22/0622249/ [dynodns.net]. I just used acroread to make it and haven't tried to view it. 'file' claims that it's postscript at least.

    All your events [openschedule.org] are belong to us.
  • He already used Windows. According to NBC, the entire FBI maintains its entire espionage system in a Word documents. Last nights 6 o'clock news had an example of how he checked to see if he was being followed. He would follow this somple procedure:

    Open blank Word doc

    Type in name

    Type in "spy station names"

    See if they showed up on the screen
    What a wonderful marvel MS Word is to be able do these things.

    --

  • > Guess you weren't around in the 80's... 5 1/4" diskettes are usually formatted to have 40 tracks, numbered 0-39. But the disk drives can usually seek to track 40 or 41 without a problem.

    This still works today, with 3 1/2 floppies. Normally floppies are formatted to 80 tracks (numbered 0 to 79). However, on most drives you can seek to tracks 80, 81 and 82, allowing you to hide data there. In linux, it's just a matter of typing setfdprm /dev/fd0 cyl=83 to have access to the full number of 83 tracks...

  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:20AM (#412460) Journal
    The same goes for track 80 (and 81-82?) on my old Amiga. There used to be copy-protect schemes which used these tracks, and thus there were LOTS of programs that could read them. Basically every kid in those days knew about the extra tracks... but then, non of those kids were spy catchers...

    Another way of floppy copy protection was to make half-written tracks, when yielded a random different result each time they were read. The software would read this a couple of times, and bomb out if it got a consistent result. This was pretty hard to duplicate with a nibble-copy, and could only be done by damaging that part of the floppy
  • by dingbat_hp ( 98241 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:21AM (#412462) Homepage

    I find it easier to understand why one would spy for the US than the USSR. The US _loves_ spies -- maybe it's too many Bond films, but there's a cultural perception that spies are secretly heroic and motivated by a sense of higher moral purpose. After they finally escape and defect, they're feted as either heroes or merely fascinating and rewarded with well-paid lecture tours. In England, they even sprung the clearly guilty George Blake from prison, because some Guardian-reading liberals felt sorry for him.

    In the East, spying is evil disloyalty whoever does it, and a "loyal" spy is regarded as barely any better than an enemy agent. There's a Russian phrase for it that translates as "Not Quite Dead Yet", meaning that even the most loyal and decorated of their own agents is only one step away from political disfavour, imprisonment and purging. Any sensible Worker would merely keep their head down and ignore the whole immoral process.

    Of course, my own loyalty to the Communist International and the impending Dictatorship of the Proleteriat would outweigh any mere capitalist greed. We of Geeknatz have already destroyed faith in your stock market system with our hugely inflated boo.com's and lastminute.com's. Importing real Budweiser beer; beer that tastes of beer, not just malted rice, will destroy faith in your military-brewski complex. When your Mickey Mouse is out of copyright in 2004, we shall destroy your capitalist marketing system entirely.

    All your brand belong to us !

  • by Sleeper Service ( 39044 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @04:01AM (#412463)
    There was an interesting keynote speech at O'Reilly OpenSource last year about copy protection & the old Apple Macs, I think.

    Steve Wozniak was apparently extremely annoyed that people were perverting his lovely computer by writing funny disk formats that simple file copying wouldn't work on.

    So he goes away and builds a little bit of extra gubbins on to the disk controller and writes a few extra bits of code to get a nibble copier working. Viola! He can copy disks in any format, because he can read the individual bits from each track.

    But... how can Woz protect his own disks, he wonders? He sits and scratches his head for a few days, then writes some more code, this time to alter the burst timing used to write bits. a zero is something like a 4(some unit of time) burst and a 1 is an 8(unit) burst.

    The Mac filesystem can detect simple bit errors and will retry a few times, so Steve decides to write a few 6(unit) bursts at tactical places - 50% of the time, they'll get read incorrectly and the Mac will retry and 50% it'll read correctly and everything will be fine. When it has to retry, it's a 50% chance it'll get it right the second time and so on...

    When you nibble copy them however, the copier will read the disk once, and won't understand the bits and so won't notice the errors and retry, so where there was a "wobbly" bit, there's now a bit fixed in the wrong position.

    Hurrah! Woz had uncopyable disks.

    But how could he copy them for his own use..?

    Well, he realises that if you heat the material enough, you get electromagnetic(?) transference between one of his special-format disks and a fresh disk. (This is apparently some property of magnets in general).

    For about a week, Woz is hardly seen - he's sitting in his office with a hair-dryer trying to heat the disks up enough to transfer the data. He has a big pile of molten floppies next to him...

    Apologies to Steve Wozniak and anyone who attended at O'Reilly OpenSource 2000 for the hideously innaccurate transcription of the tale... :)
  • According to The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] he knew C and Pascal and wrote communications apps for the FBI.
  • So what?

    We know what is going on: friends of GB v.1.0 & v2.0 in the arms industry need boost, GB v.2.0 pushes for it, friends in arms industry get richer.

    Surely the US needs to defend themselves against "rogue" states (ahem, like who? Irak that stalmated against that military power known as Iran? Cuba where the few cars around are from the 50s? North Korea that is dying of starvation? China or India? How many bombs do you need to destroy China or India without harming yourself in the process).

    So basicaly it is a pointless excercise. The worst atack against US interests had come from run of the mill terrorists with just normal bombs. If those guys arm an atomic bomb they will not deliver it with a misile, they will build it in downtown NY or Washingnton and will deliver it in a Domino's Pizza van...... in less than 30 minutes...
  • As someone who has attended a KGB presentation (actually, this bit is called the FSB now), they discussed security for companies. They were even advocating the use of lie detectors for key employees. This was quite funny because several defectors have commented that lie detectors are easy to defeat I guess Hanssen was lie-detectored as well during the routine checks.

    The thing is, the Russian companies who would get this secret technical information belong effectively still to the state and are not run well. They couldn't use the information if they tried.

    The smaller Russian companies with owner-managers who are quite efficient would never, ever see this information. The good technical people wouldn't work for the FSB, because the pay is etrrible and they can make 10 times as much working externally.

    Incidentally, the FSB presentation the worst I have ever attended. These are people trained to keep secrets, not to present information. No visual aids, no handouts, just a monotonous monologue as the presenter read from a prepared script. The other funny thing was that it appears that the Russians have perfected cloning as the three FSB persons and the former FSB person who looked and acted similar!

  • by El Cabri ( 13930 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:33AM (#412472) Journal
    In other news, the FBI has not yet commented on reports that civilians touring the FBI HQ had actually conducted Philip Hanssen's screening interview.
  • in the case of defence, that is indeed the case, but that is not all. spies aren't just doing the daring "steal the nuclear warhead plans" missions. most of what government deals with is mundane in comparison, concerned with commerce. keeping these as "National Secrets", in the case of somewhere like the USA, is simply to maintain the country's status with respect to less developed countries.

    i agree with your points, but that's not the issue i'm driving at. it's not like this sensitive weaponry stuff is really kept to just one or two superpowers in the world anymore. i'm sure the spying was much more mundane than that, concerning things which, in my opinion, are accredited National Secret status simply for the country's self-interest.

    Fross
  • The annoying thing is that people are "morally outraged" when they discover a spy. Sure, punish him (as a deterrent to others, and an example) but pretending that YOU are always on the ethical right is the height of hubris. There are other countries (not just Russia). They are filled with people who think THEY are ethically "right".

    Who the FUCK do you think you are to exlaim moral outrage?

    Plus, whoever moderated the parent as "offtopic" should be rounded up and shot along with this spy...
  • Ah, this one fell for the old Track 40 Floppy-trap. How hard can it be to spot spies these days when they carry 5 1/4" floppydiscs?

    - Steeltoe
  • Too true.

    I had an Amiga 1000 (with an second external hard drive) and that thing was nice.

    Of course I eventually had my modem and then its Printer, and motherboard all fry (long set of stories).

    I ended up using the monitor as a TV screen hooked into my cable box when I finally got my own apartment until the picture tube burnt out.

    Now all I have left is a big stack of floppies and the external drive. I've heard that IBM drives can't read Amiga drives (don't want to test that). I'd love to transfer stuff off of them (early writings, games, etc). So I can use them in an emulator or something. Anyone know if I can get a converter to hook up the amiga drive to an IBM? Or some other way to pull off the data?
  • I would refer you to this post [slashdot.org].

    All your events [openschedule.org] are belong to us.
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:16AM (#412486)
    Ah yes, back in the old days when my main computer was still a TRS-80 Model I, and I knew exactly how many tracks each of my drives could handle. There was a 35 track that could do 36, and two 40 track drives that could do 42 and 43. Towards the end I got an 80 track single-side drive that could do either 83 or 85, I can't remember. And it was pretty well known that the Apple ][ floppy drives had a 40-track head with an 80-track stepper, so you could do "half track" tricks, too.

    I'm sure most people, pheds or otherwise, would have a hard time comprehending the idea of storing data outside of the high-level-formatted area of a disk drive, much less the idea of using strange formatting to hide things in the gap spaces of a track, and have an otherwise apparently empty disk. I can even think of a couple of easy tricks you could do with CD-R disks to hide data, without going into the steganographic possibilities of what appears to be a disc full of pr0n.

  • You know, this 'felon' is caught remarkably soon after MS's statement about Open Source software being "Un-American". This all reaks of being an MS conspiracy to discredit Open Source by using it to sell secrets to our enemies!


  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:19AM (#412488) Journal
    They didn't notice him because he was one of the people who was looking for spies in the FBI. Thus, he would have known if they were getting close to him, and could take evasive action. If your sys admin is breaking into the system, and editing the logs, how would you notice? BTW, since he was, apparently, one of their top techies, and had access to everything, we can assume that the Russians know exactly how carnivore works.
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:34AM (#412490)
    Darling: Field Marshal Haig is most anxious to eliminate all German spies.

    Melchett: Filthy Hun weasels, fighting their dirty, underhand war!

    Darling: And fortunately, one of our spies...

    Melchett: Splendid fellows, brave heores risking life and limb for Blighty...

    TWW

  • thinking about it, all spies are doing is redistributing information from within closed, proprietary systems... if countries didn't have "intellectual property", there would be no need for spies.

    (not to be taken _too_ seriously)

    Fross
  • by gimgol ( 236392 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:58AM (#412494)
    "Registered" Linux user even (whatever that means). Link to story here [worldnetdaily.com].
  • Was this traitor using proprietary software or "un-american" free software to do this double-crossing?

    Wired [wired.com], the affidavit [fas.org], and World Net Daily [worldnetdaily.com] indicate that he was using Linux and Palms.
  • Yes, forget about "innocent until proven guilty". Use your own judgement about the quality of the evidence, decide for yourself how strong the case is.

    If you waited for a court case to reach completion (as well as optional appeals) before you formed an opinion on anything, you couldn't function. You use your judgement every day, why not here?

    True, if the guy is acquitted, he could sue those who said (or wrote) he was a spy. But he could be acquitted even if he was a spy.
  • So basicaly it is a pointless excercise. The worst atack against US interests had come from run of the mill terrorists with just normal bombs. If those guys arm an atomic bomb they will not deliver it with a misile, they will build it in downtown NY or Washingnton and will deliver it in a Domino's Pizza van...... in less than 30 minutes..

    i agree with you on the target, but i dont think they will use atomic bombs. a more likely device woule be biological weapons. they are alot cheaper, easier to conceal, and delivery is also alot easier.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • by flytopia ( 245546 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @04:38AM (#412499)
    Government becomes aware of this years ago

    ...

    Government contests they had proof which dates far back, so why wasn't anything done?

    Having proof which dates back 10 years is not necessarily the same thing as knowing about it for 10 years.

    The amount of detail in the affadavit makes it look like the investigators have got hold of the Russian file on "B". It appears that Hanssen was only under FBI surveillance since 2000.

  • The difference between catching script kiddies (a good cracker is difficult to catch) and catching spies is that: a) spies are generally more intelligent, more mature, more aware of the consequences of being caught and therefore more careful and better trained than script kiddies. b) its a lot more difficult to figure out that somebody's spying than to find out your files have been damaged or compromised (even so Microsoft took a while to figure that out), a good spy leaves even fewer traces than a good computer intruder. Often the only way to discover a spy is through the opposite side revealing that it knows something that it shouldn't, which requires intelligence (spying) on the opposite side. c) if the person doing the spying is the person supposed to be looking for spies, the question is raised, who watches the watchmen? Its like an admin going after his own system, he's in the ideal position to do anything he wants and to make sure nobody finds out about it. There's really no way you can infer that Carnivore won't work as intended (whatever it is intended to do...) from the fact that it took the FBI 15 years to catch a highly intelligent human operative. Its like infering that you if can't get a date you're not going to be able to code properly, its a completely different matter and field.
  • I found reading the affidavit quite interesting. I can't find many more docs like it around. Anyone have any links to more documents on this case which are as detailed, thorough, or interesting?

    All your events [openschedule.org] are belong to us.
  • by b1t r0t ( 216468 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @02:08PM (#412503)
    From pages 38-39 (my boldface):

    86. On Monday, March 28, 1988, "B" and the KGB carried out an exchange operation at the "PARK/PRIME" dead drop site.

    The package from "B" to the KGB included his fourth computer diskette ("D-4"), a TOP SECRET document entitled "The FBI's Double Agent Program" and a document that the KGB described as a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) document entitled "Stealth Orientation."

    The package from the KGB to "B" included $25,000 cash and a letter explaining why the KGB had not been able to check the "PARK/PRIME" dead drop site on March 21. In the letter, the KGB also advised it had been unable to read the diskettes "B" had passed to the KGB. The KGB asked "B" for information about codes and cryptograms, intelligence support for the Strategic Defense Initiative, submarines, and other classified material.

    The next day, the KGB observed that "B" had removed the signal from the "PARK/PRIME" site, indicating he had removed the package.

    87. On April 4, 1988, the KGB received an envelope from "B" at an accommodation address in the Eastern District of Virginia. The envelope bore a return address of "Jim Baker" in "Alexandria" and was postmarked in Northern Virginia, on March 31, 1988. The envelope contained a note from "B" reading: "use 40 TRACK MODE, this letter is not a signal."

    The term "use 40-track mode" refers to a technical process for re-formatting a computer diskette in order to conceal data by putting the data onto specific tracks on the diskette. Unless a person uses the correct codes to decrypt such a diskette, the diskette would appear to be blank.

    You know what, guys? It may be simpler than everyone thinks. He specifically said "use 40 track mode", not "look on track 40" or some other phrase. I have to wonder if these were 360K disks written with a 1.2M drive, that had been previously formatted/written in a 360K drive (different track widths), and the Russians had a problem trying to read it on a 360K drive?

    I mean, I just don't see him going to that much trouble to stick the data on a single out-of-range track when there's not much you can put there anyhow, and then not tell the Russians until after they had trouble with it. And it was dead-dropped, not mailed, so there wasn't much chance of interception.

    Even if he did use some paranoid trick, in the end it didn't matter. After a little research (CNN.com) I found out that he was discovered when the pheds got a copy of some KGB files about his case. The KGB didn't know who he was (probably not until this week!), but the pheds were able to correlate the information rather easily.

    It seems his main failing was insisting on dead-drops within walking distance of his home, in spite of the Russians wanting them much farther away. He had been trying to restore communications with the Russians, and was noticed driving by and pausing at the dead-drop area many times, and even waving a flashlight up and down a wooden post. He was arrested at the location, known as "ELLIS".

  • Close, but IIRC you have the last two incorrect.

    It's Money, Ideology, Compromise and Extortion.

    Compromise: You're asked to do various things you think are innocent. (e.g. You're asked for a copy of the internal phonebook, or org chart.) The requests get ratcheted up, until you get to the point where the agents can threaten to expose you as a spy, unless you do whatever they ask.

    Extortion: Should be obvious. (e.g. Do what they ask or they'll hurt your faimily. )
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:46AM (#412505)
    He can even upload space station instructions to androids. How do you think the rebels got the plans for the death star so easily?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:47AM (#412506)
    spludge wrote: track 40 floppy writing (?)

    Guess you weren't around in the 80's... 5 1/4" diskettes are usually formatted to have 40 tracks, numbered 0-39. But the disk drives can usually seek to track 40 or 41 without a problem. This lets you hide secret shit that DISKCOPY.EXE and so on won't pick up.

    AFAIK it was first used as a rather weak copy protection scheme (you saw this a lot on the C64, at least...) and later on as a way to transmit viruses between floppies.

    (Disk-based copy protection got more sophisticated, and used deliberately written errors, misalignment of the head, etc. in a vain attempt to confound the "pirate" copying programs.)

    Interesting to see this used with some success against the feds... maybe they could have learnt a bit more from the phreaks after all. *grin*
  • by zyqqh ( 137965 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @12:47AM (#412507)
    > ... Robert Philip Hanssen, an FBI agent
    > that spied for Russia for 15 years,...

    Uhm. There's a certain principle in western law, commonly known as "innocent until proven guilty." Making implicit assumptions as to the otherwise on front page /. story isn't exactly a nice thing to do (not that /. claims journalistic credibility, but a lot of people tend to assume it).

  • The other funny thing was that it appears that the Russians have perfected cloning as the three FSB persons and the former FSB person who looked and acted similar!

    Ever see the FBI? They've had this technology for a long time. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if either one side stole it from the other, they both bought it from a third party, or else it demonstrates the idea of parallel development :)
  • Wrong. He's not pushing for more nukes. Rather the opposite, in fact. His plan is to reduce the number of nuclear weapons to that which is needed for a 'credible' deterrent. If the missile defense system works, and is deployed, the number of weapons needed for deterrence wil be smaller yet.

    Not that I think the current missile defense system is particularly deployable. And it would certainly be expensive. But, it might provide a deterrent to someone attacking us with nukes. Nukes don't worry me as much as bio-weapons.

  • The disk format used on the 1541 and its predecessors (1540, 4040, etc.) was a technological marvel of it's day. Only thirty-five tracks, single sided, variable number of sectors per track, and the directory in the middle on track 18. Each sector was written in GCR format, allowing far higher data density than acheived on the IBM 9-sector format.

    The Apple II also used GCR. The Macintosh and Apple IIgs 3.5" disk added variable numbers of sectors. I think the Amiga also had a variable-speed format. And TRSDOS was probably the only other 8-bit DOS to keep the directory in the middle of the disk (track 17 on a 35-sector disk).

    And I think that the Dreamcast's GD-ROMs probably use some sort of GCR to achieve higher density. What does the G stand for?

    But where Commodore failed was in the crappy interface, which was a serial version of the IEEE-488 parallel interface, and it couldn't even run at a decent speed because of a bug in one of the chips (VIA?) in the C64.

    If they developed it further, we'd have had 82-track, double sided, double density floppies, holding more than a megabyte, and the 3.5" floppy might not be here today.

    No, the 3.5" floppy won out for two reasons: size and durability. It certainly had nothing to do with the lack of a GCR format, as Apple was one of the first to use the 3.5" format.

    Of course, the thing about the CBM drives that made them the most fun drives to play with was the onboard 6502 processor with its 2k of memory, allowing you to download and execute code in the drive

    Whereas us TRS-80 users had full direct control of the disk controller chip, instead of having copy-protection built into the drive [slashdot.org] like the C-64 and Atari did.

  • And how did one of those kids get into the FBI, anyway? I undestand that pubescent girls love Hanssen, but that's no reason to give them access to our nation's greatest secrets.

    Hanssen is l337! [ridiculopathy.com]

  • If only he used the Spam Encryptor, none of this would have happened.
  • Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (East-Germany)
  • Surely the US needs to defend themselves against "rogue" states (ahem, like who? Irak that stalmated against that military power known as Iran? Cuba where the few cars around are from the 50s? North Korea that is dying of starvation? China or India? How many bombs do you need to destroy China or India without harming yourself in the process).
    Iraq. And they couldn't beat Iran because Iran had modern military hardware sold to them by the U.S. before Imatotal Lunatic brought the "Islamic State". The fact that Cubans drive around in pre-Communist era cars is the fault of the Communist government only being able to support the most basic needs of its citizens. It has little bearing on their military power which we all WELL know has been supplied by the former USSR over the years. And "starving" North Korea is as helpless as a starving jaguar. As far as your question that went out with the Cold War, "How many bombs do we need?", the answer is:

    "Many more than we have, because like nearly all complex devices atomic warheads and vehicles become unreliable with age. We have also not been building ANY recently."

  • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @04:58AM (#412522)
    Maybe not with Quake but definitely in another game. Consider the cryptic yet almost understandable meanings of the following phrases:
    • Somone set up us the bomb
    • We get signal
    • Main screen turn on
    • How are you gentlemen !!
    • All your base are belong to us
    Go and read the correspondence between Hanssen and his KGB controllers and note how these phrases convey the exact meaning of what correspondence passed between them.

    The last phrase is definitely the most disturbing. Was it sent before he was caught or after? I think we should be told.

  • Double Standard? No, just one single standard, world-wide. Our spys good, your spys bad. It's quite simple.

    In formulating an ethical rule, you cannot refer to particulars. Either spying for a country other than one's own is wrong or it is not. If you maintain that this guy did wrong, then you have to claim that those double agents in the KGB did wrong too.

    Punishing this guy because he broke US laws is easy; arguing that he did morally the wrong thing is a lot harder if not impossible.

    --

  • The government *needs* to use our money to develop secret stuff so that we can be safe from all those other governments developing secret stuff.

    Actually, it does.
    --
  • AFAIK it was first used as a rather weak copy protection scheme (you saw this a lot on the C64, at least...) and later on as a way to transmit viruses between floppies.

    So THAT'S how they did it...seriously, I was always curious about that. Of course, there always was that PC program that could get past that, I forget what it was called though (something really generic, like PC Copy or something). /HTML.
    --

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