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Saturday, January 25, 2014

PHOTOANGLO: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today's item from the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:
PHOTOANGLO (TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) PHOTOANGLO is a joint NSA/GCHQ project to develop a new radar system to take the place of the CTX4000.
(U) Capabilities
(TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) The planned capabilities for this system are:

  • Frequency range: 1 - 2 GHz, which will be later extended to 1 - 4 GHz
  • Maximum bandwidth: 450 MHz.
  • Size: Small enough to fit into a slim briefcase.
  • Weight: Less than 10 lbs.
  • Maximum Output Power: 2W
  • Output:
  • Video
  • Transmit antenna
  • Inputs:
  • External oscillator
  • Receive antenna
(U) Concept of Operation
(TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) The radar unit generates an un-modulated, continuous wave (CW) signal. The oscillator is either generated internally, or externally through a signal generator or cavity oscillator. The unit amplifies the signal and sends it out to an RF connector, where it is directed to some form of transmission antenna (horn, parabolic dish, LPA, spiral). The signal illuminates the target system and is re-radiated. The receive antenna picks up the re-radiated signal and directs the signal to the receive input. The signal is amplified, filtered, and mixed with the transmit antenna. The result is a homodyne receiver in which the RF signal is mixed directly to baseband. The baseband video signal is ported to an external BNC connector. This connects to a processing system, such as NIGHTWATCH, an LFS-2, or VIEWPLATE, to process the signal and provide the intelligence.
Unit Cost: $40k (planned)
Status: Development. Planned IOC is 1st QTR FY09.
Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.
In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

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