Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How secure do you think you are?

If I get the time today, and if my friend is willing to come and take me in his car, I will go out and buy some satellite equipment. Very basic stuff, the kind of stuff that's available on the roof of every house/apartment in Libya. Yes I'm talking about a Satellite Dish, an LNB -called a Head/"Raas"-, and a motor. As anyone who read my blog knows, I've recently moved to Tripoli, taht's why I still don't have a TV in my appartment, and I don't plan on buying a TV set because I have a computer and a Sat-Card which I can watch satellite TV with, that is ofcourse AFTER I install the stuff I talked about. You might be wondering by now, "what the hell has all this got to do with security?", bear with me :) , you'll soon understand where I'm going with this. As most people know, one of the most used methods for Internet Access is Internet Via Satellite, 1-way and 2-way sat connections. I'm not sure about Tripoli, but at least in Benghazi most internet cafe's use this type of connection to access the internet. In a nutshell, in this method the information is transferred between a computer and the internet servers by satellite. So when I type "" in my browser, that little request is transmitted from my PC to a special type of modem and then to the satellite dish [SENDER] which sends it to a geo-stationary satellite in space, that satellite sends the request down to another satellite dish [RECIEVER] which is connected to a computer. The request is processed on that computer and the information [WEBPAGE, FILE ......] is sent back on the same route but in reverse, all the way back to the sender, which will now be a reciever. Ok, so what's so interesting? Think about it, a satellite doesn't transmit a small laser beam, it transmits a wide-area radio wave, what I mean is it doesn't send the information to a specific point, it transmits the data to a very large area, but only the computer waiting for that data will pick it up. So when I'm downloading a file from the internet, the satellite is transmitting that file to a large area, maybe all of Tripoli, maybe all of Libya, maybe even larger than that. But why do I get that file and only me? because my computer sent the request, so it knows what to look for. Some might think this is complex, trust me it isn't. Think about it, there are millions of files being sent down from satellites all the time, a lot of people downloading files, reading their emails, sending pictures to each other, a lot of data, WHAT IF YOUR COMPUTER CATCHES ALL THAT DATA??? I mean, I can tell my computer to recieve everything, not just files that I've requested, but also the files that other people are requesting. If someone downloads a videoclip then he'll recieve it AND SO WILL I!!! if someone opens photos that were sent to them in an email attachement then I WILL HAVE THEM ON MY COMPUTER!!!Let me ask you again: How secure do you think you are?let me tell you, you aren't as secure as you might think.
Can this be done? YES!!!
Do you need special equipment? NO!!! all what's needed is standard cheap components!!!
Do I need special software? YES, but it's also available on the internet

As soon as I get my satellite system installed, I'm gonna set it up to do this -in addition to watching TV on my PC- , so be ware, I might be watching what you're downloading >:D


ibeebarbie said...

Salam Alone in Triopli,
Thank you so much for an excellent detailing on this subject. I really did not know as much as you shared. Honestly was something I never truly thought of in the since of how information travelled to and fro, so good job. However, the idea of being able to know what another is doing and the security behind that I can say for many many years now I've resolved myself to realize that everyone seems to have the ability to observe others. I'm only kidding myself to think that I possibly have any remote thought of security around me. It's rather sad really. Personally I have a huge problem with it, but what can be done. Look when cell phones came up with the idea of cameras or videos installed in them---completely wiped out any form of privacy anyone might have. It's almost a since of entitlement that if someone has either of these (camera/video) installed on their phone they have the right to take a picture of what or whom ever they wish without even consulting anyone.

Ugh! Anyway, thank you so much for explaining this process - you made it interesting.

Alone in Tripoli said...

I'm glad to see you here again ibeebarbie :)
awwww I'm so glad you liked my post, I tried to make it as simple and as brief as possible, I'm so happy you liked it.
I agree with you soooo much, especially on the phone-cam issue, it's getting worse and worse everyday nad there doesn't seem to be anyway to stop this mass invasion of privacy apart from inventing a personal-invisibility gizmo :P
A small detail I think you'd be interested in; the process I described, did you know that you can target a specific computer through its IP or MAC, or in layman's terms: One could keep an eye on a specific person as long as his connection details are exposed. This is actually used by intelligence agencies around the world to keep track of "suspected terrorists" or anyone for that matter.

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Alone in Tripoli,
Yep knew that - hate to admit and accept it as true, but definitely knew that. In fact, I'm certain I've been subjected to it during the last 4 years---would not surprise me at all.

Alone in Tripoli said...

don't tell me you've been listed as a "suspected terrorist"?!
By the way, please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm under the impression that you're a US citizen from Libyan origin.

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Alone in Triopli,
No, I'm not a suspected terrorist, but my daughter, Amira, has been on the watch list. LOOOOOL Can you imagine seeing airport securities face when they ask, "who is Amira?" And they are presented with a toddler. They quickly gather themselves and admit the only thing she is probably guilty of terrorizing is her bedroom. :-)

Unbeknownst to me my ex (non-Libyan) apparently made some really terrible choices for himself and has since been deported from the States, and I've been told "they" have been looking for him.

Anyway, your impression is correct in part. I am an American, but not with Libyan origin. I happened to stumble on Anglo-Libyan's webpage one day when surfing the blogshere my girlfriend told me about and I've been a part of this wonderful Libyan community since then, alhamdullilah. Since my first comment, the acceptance of so many bloggers that happen to be Libyan has been unbelieveable - I feel so blessed, alhamdullilah.

Alone in Tripoli said...

a rather small update :)
I'm installing my Sat gear today inshAllah :)