Intelligence: No One Is Guarding the Back Door

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March 21, 2006: In the last few months, it became known that someone had eavesdropped on the cell phones of key people running the 2004 Olympics in Greece. There was much speculation about which nation was responsible for this. Well, it may not have been the CIA, MI-6, Mossad or FSB. That's because there was no elaborate project to "crack" the cell phone system. It turns out that the eavesdroppers were using a capability already built in, to enable the police to eavesdrop. This is called a "back door." The problem was, someone other than the police got the authorization codes, and just logged into the eavesdropping system, and directed calls from over a hundred phones used by Olympics officials. Who got that illegal access, and how, is still under investigation. The police access system obviously needs some work, since it should have supervisory layer, so someone can double check the authenticity of the "police" accessing the eavesdropping system. Ease of use is generally a good thing, but not always.

 


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