vendredi, juillet 27, 2007

[From the net] A Computer Spy Unmasked

For years Jean-Bernard Condat has undoubtedly been France's best-known computer hacker. Appearing on television talk shows, launching provocative operations and attending computer seminars, he founded the Chaos Computer Club France (CCCF) in 1989 as France's answer to the renowned Chaos Computer Club in Germany. French journalist Jean Guisnel revealed this week in a book entitled Guerres dans le Cyberespace, Internet et les Services Secrets (Cyberspace War, Internet and Secret Services) published by the Editions La Decouverte (ISBN 2-7071-2502-4) that Condat has been controlled from the outset by the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. A student in Lyons where he followed music and information technology courses, Condat was taken in hand by the local branch of the DST in 1983 after committing some "minor misdemeanor." The DST organized his participation in hacker meetings abroad. Guisnel said that from 1989 onwards "Jean-Luc Delacour, Condat's handler at the DST, decided that his proteg was ready for bigger and better things." He asked Condat to start up CCCF, then worked to promote his public image in order that the largest number of hackers would gravitate towards him. The DST printed hundreds of T-shirts and thousands of post cards for him. When Thomson and Pechiney found that hackers were trying to break into their systems Condat enabled the French counter-espionage service to trace the intruders. When he was taking part in a television program in 1991 in which he was to demonstrate how to hack into a system his handler dictated what he should say in his earphones. Questioned by Intelligence Newsletter, Condat admitted he had worked for the DST over a 52 month period and written up 1,032 reports during that time. He claims, however, that he broke with the DST in 1991 and that he intends to shortly publish an account of what he calls his "turpitude." Whether true or not, Condat worked for several years for the SVP company before leaving it a few months ago to take over a key function: he is now system operator for the France forum on Compuserve.

Guisnel cites any number of cases of how "Internet is controlled to the bone" by such measures as turning around hackers, systematically bugging computer networks and manipulating newsgroups. "If no serious company should confide its correspondence to the network and if no government should use it to transmit sensitive information the reason is that the NSA is watching and that all the network's communications physically travel through the U.S., and very probably through computer filters at its installations at Fort Meade, Maryland," Guisnel said. He said the conclusion was that advanced encryption programs like PGP needed to be used if one wants to communicate in a secure manner on the Internet. Citing the debate raging in the U.S. over computer security which has made little impact in Europe, Guisnel called on France to authorize the use of encryption by everyone and criticized the country's reactionary policy in that score. He said the attitude, while defensive in nature, was all the harder to understand because its first consequence was to increase the vulnerability of French companies, to the benefit of NSA.

Sources: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/3909/skeptic/spy.html

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