Their undetectable method impressed by being up to 10,000 times faster than the brute force number crunching it's thought government agencies use. What's more, it requires only a laptop, open source software and a $700 USRP. The pair argued that they merely exploited a known theoretical vulnerability, and that it should prompt networks to improve encryption standards.
Neverthless aware of the potential national security implications of the new method, Mueller says he met two men from GCHQ, two weeks prior to Black Hat, and got the all-clear to speak. The details of the exploit are now public.
The Heathrow officials' choice of items to confiscate was therefore particularly confusing to him. If they genuinely thought he wanted to export any cryptanalytic technology or information then they would have taken his FPGA, laptop, and paperwork too, he argued.
"The USRP is sold all over the world," he said. A USRP can be configured as a GSM scanner using software from the GNU Radio Project. Without his, Mueller's demonstration was kneecapped, however.
When Mueller returned to the UK at the end of last week, he worried when his name was called out over the plane's passenger announcement system. "I thought, oh no," he said.
More government officials were waiting for him, but only to return his equipment. The USRP had been dismantled and poorly reassembled, Mueller claimed. "The motherboard was just rattling around." No answer was given on who had ordered the shakedown.
HMRC could not confirm that it was its customs agents that confiscated Mueller's equipment. "All our work is intelligence-based. It would be inappropriate to comment on an individual case," a spokesman said.
"We have certain powers to to stop passengers and search items going in and out of the country. We appreciate people's cooperation."
The spokesman said Mueller should contact HMRC directly if he has specific complaints. ®
Re Customs & Excize
A frien of mine has a brother that worked for this outfit and one of the interview questions was apparenly you recive a doccument with a paper clip on it what do you do with the paper clip?Huh I ask you????? Obvious realy you make a paper clip chain ROTFLMAO
Intelligence "Mindless twits" ??
They may appear to be twits. They might even employ clueless minions to interact with the public. But they are *much* sharper that you give them credit for. You see the personna they want to expose. Keep thinking of them as idiots, and you won't be nearly as careful as you should be with your secrets.
Reminds me of the line from "The Usual Suspects". "he greatest feat the devil ever pulled off was convincing people he didn't exist"..
There was that series of Robot Wars where Team Diotior were frantically trying to rebuild their robot after Customs forced them to dismantle most of it. I was wondering at the time whether they really had no idea what Diotior was, or whether Customs were just trying to give the home teams a leg up.
Thanks but no thanks, Excise guys.