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DIY wiretapping courtesy of physics



blog-0823469001395591956.pngThere's been a lot of news this past year surrounding NSA surveillance of personal communications. While I'm not here to debate the politics involved with that issue, I am here to describe how they do (part) of it, that way you can do your own surveillance if you really wanted to.

With copper cabling, one of the flaws with using it for communications is the fact that it produces a magnetic field, essentially broadcasting the data within the wire to anyone within short range. Through the hall effect - the tendency of a magnetic field to push charge carriers in a wire to one side of the wire, creating a difference in voltage - this magnetic field can be measured accurately, allowing people to survey communications without disrupting the actual data. Simply, a person just needs a current gun, or something equivalent, to clamp around the wire to get precise B-field readings.

That is just yet another benefit of fiber optic cables. While they have a much higher data throughput, they also prevent to a significant degree this style of wiretapping, because the line would have to physically be broken to monitor data. It won't stop the NSA, but still...


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