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Terrorist Networks Use HF E-Mail

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N5PVL, Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. KG4DCI

    KG4DCI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please, give it a rest we all know how you feel about WinLink, but this mission your own is now gone beyond making you look silly and has moved into just being annoying.

    Please just drop it.
  2. N4AUD

    N4AUD Ham Member QRZ Page

    It sounds like you are talking about a code phrase. There is nothing you can do about those. It's the same type of thing the Allies used on the BBC during WWII to communicate with the resistance in occupied countries, seemingly innocent or non-sensical messages that when issued direct someone to do something (or not do something). The only way you can break a code phrase is with an informant. When a particular phrase has a meaning only to the sender and recipient, there's nothing to decipher. You and I could agree that if I send you an email that says "I need a new watch battery" that you will get up and run around the room 3 times. Unless someone else is told what it means, there is no way for anyone to know what that phrase means, if anything. I could send you 20 pages that are insignificant, with that one sentence you are to act upon thrown in the middle. The problem with this type of code is that you have to have one for every forseeable event. There is no way to account for infinite variables to an operation, so other cyphers are needed, and those can be broken...except for the "one-time" pad type cypher. You'd have to get access to the pad, or get extremely lucky.
    I think I had a point, but I don't remember what it was. Oh, shutting down winlink isn't going to stop these people from sending messages to each other. Matter of fact, we have a better chance of catching them if we know they are using it, don't we?
  3. W4GLM

    W4GLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    PVL - Charles,

    I have sent the link to DHS security, if there is reason for

    follow-up, I will send the info to this board.

    I am Elec Tech with DHS.

    Thanks for the info.....Mac
  4. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you, Mac. I have been to the DHS website, but was not certain about who to talk to there.
  5. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    WA6UBE says:
    Email over Ham Radio was first done a little bit over ten years ago, on the Packet network. At that time, there were several amateurs who provided this service, and they did as you suggest, with each email manually scanned for inappropriate materiel by a moderator. WinLink later came in as one of these email outfits, at that time working cooperatively with other amateurs as part of the global Packet Radio network.

    Over a period of time, it became apparent that manual scanning was the only way to avoid inappropriate material in the email messages, as non-hams have no prohibition against commercial use or foul language in email, and this illegal stuff inevitably crept in.

    The problem with manual review though, is that if you move any appreciable amount of email at all, your moderator quickly burns out, moving on to other aspects of life besides reading other people's email all day long. In fact, all of the email outfits on Packet eventually threw in the towel and dropped the idea of an email over Ham Radio service because of this. - All except WinLink, which found a different solution...

    The WinLinkers quit using Packet instead, switching over to PACTOR, which is effectively impossible to monitor. They decided that by hiding behind a propietary mode that could not be casually monitored, it no longer mattered if illegal or inappropriate materiel was transported by WinLink.

    Screw the rules if you can arrainge to avoid being caught, in other words. - That's the WinLink attitude in a nutshell.

    Much is made of PACTOR's speed advantage over Packet, but when you consider the fact that WinLink abandoned the use of a global Packet network that served thousands of locations in order to start up a new net with only dozens of them, it is hard to credit that any gain in efficiency was won by changing over. - The obvious advantage WinLink gained was freedom from scrutiny by other Amateurs monitoring thier signals.

    WinLink may claim to review the email they pass but if they do, they are obviously lying as they already carry a much heavier traffic load than what burned out manual reviewers in the past, and have plans to carry much more. Remember that all email on the WinLink system goes through a central server, making it impossible to share the task of reviewing the email they transport.

    WinLink does not review the email they transport and what's more - they will not do so in the future as it would severely curtail thier operations and eventually shut them down. Can you imagine anyone voluntarily reviewing other people's email all day long for any great length of time? How good of a job could we depend on them to do, and for how long?

    Take a look at the amount of email WinLink claims to move now, and plan to move after expansion, and you will see what I mean. - The only thing that keeps them on the air is the effective ( if not actual ) encryption they gain from using an un-monitorable, proprietary digital protocol.

    "Screw the rules if you can arrainge to avoid being caught" is the only thing that keeps WinLink on the ham bands.

    It also creates a gaping security hole that, according to the article I posted this link to, terrorists are taking full advantage of.

    We should all be asking our ARRL Division Directors why the ARRL is associating itself with this inappropriate attitude, and whether allowing WinLink to use Amateur Radio to transport Internet Email is really worth endangering the lives of US citizens for.
  6. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've heard that terrorists are now using mobile phones.

    Mel G0GQK
  7. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    They use Mobile phones, cell phones, regular phones, and apparently HF Email.

    Basically, you can figure on terrorists using whatever is available and might not get them caught. HF Email via WinLink is the communications method being discussed here, but you can rest ( assured? ) that the terrorists will use anything that is available to them.

    WinLink is especially attractive to terrorists because it provides service in outback areas terrorists hide in, provides global communications, there is no requirement for a billing address or other verification of ID as there is with WinLinks's many commercial competitors, and all that is needed in order to utilize the service is a callsign. ( bogus, "stolen" from a callsign database, or actual )
  8. KI4IJQ

    KI4IJQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    haha, you know, I have read some far-out stuff here, but this one takes the cake so far...

    have a great year, dont forget your tin-foil hat
  9. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wrong topic... Try this one out to see the tinfoil hat action.    [​IMG]
  10. AE1X

    AE1X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree that these terrorists will use whatever means is available. They believe that they have a mandate from the Lord to perform these acts. He will protect them.

    While they may feel safe and we are upset about not being able to monitor the activities or WL2k, NSA can crack just about anything. Be assured that the traffic passing over that network can and is being monitored for content. Besides, once it gets on the InterNet it isn't protected anymore is it?

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