NSA Interception In Action? Tor Developer's Computer Gets Mysteriously Re-Routed To Virginia

from the a-slight-detour dept

So this one is odd. A core Tor developer, Andrea Shepard, recently ordered a computer from Amazon.com to her home in Seattle. Yet, as she tweeted last night, something odd happened on the way to delivering that package to her house:
If you can't see the image, here's a larger version:
Also, some more details from PrivacySOS. As you can see, rather than go from the Amazon warehouse in Santa Ana, California up the coast to Seattle, instead the package went across the country to Dulles, Virginia to Alexandria (right outside of DC) and was "delivered" there. Upon seeing this, my initial reaction was that it might not be a big deal. With shipping logistics these days, it's not uncommon to see a sort of hub system, where packages travel across the country from one warehouse to a shipping hub, only to be shipped back across the country for actual delivery.

But that does not appear to be what happened here at all. As Kade from PrivacySOS pointed out, the final Alexandria address is the final delivery location, rather than the sign of something in process. Also, the fact that it bounced around and then went "out for delivery" to that address shows that it wasn't just popping in and out of a hub for delivery to Seattle.

There are some possible other explanations, including just a general screw-up on the part of Amazon. But given the revelations of how the NSA's TAO group does very targeted spying, that often involves getting access to computers being shipped to targets, combined with the fact that the NSA has made it clear that breaking Tor is a priority that has mostly stymied them, this certainly should raise multiple eyebrows.

Filed Under: andrea shepard, computers, fbi, interception, nsa, routing, tor
Companies: amazon


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  1. identicon
    tbg, 6 Feb 2014 @ 12:29pm

    They will go after anyone

    It happened to my computer as well
    Don't let them get by with the line "

    We only go after legitimate targets

    I am a teacher and they went after me

    I helped a friend write a complaint to a Judicial Ethics Commission pointing out
    blatant fraud, and unethical conduct by a Judge and Amicus Attorney.

    Approximately 4 days before the complaint was to be filed, I had 3 windows based computers on my home network rendered to Digit zeros with with evidence documents and other exhibits for the complaint destroyed.

    At the time, I didn't really know what happened and just assumed it was a virus that hit my network and all I needed to do was to do were reinstalls of the computer operating systems and all would be well. I was wrong. Even to this day, I continue to have network and computer problems.

    After the network attack, the windows computers were rendered as junk. I ordered a new Macbook Pro thinking that a new computer would solve the network problems. The network problems continued. Shortly after the new Macbook Pro was delivered to my home from the Apple online store, I discovered that the EFI Firmware Password had been set before it was delivered. Somebody had tampered with this computer before it arrived at my home. Apple stated that they did not know how this would have happened and they agreed to replace the computer with the one that I
    am now using.

    I continued to have problems.The recent NSA leaks confirmed my suspicions that I was targeted, but I still have a hard time believing that the government would do such a thing.

    After the Snowden revelations, I was determined that I was going to find out for sure and press the issue with Apple. I could never get Apple to do any followup calls to address my issues. Before this
    ordeal, I knew very little about computers, but I have educated myself to an extent and Apple cannot or will not answer my questions. When no Sr. Apple Technician in the United States will return my calls, it seems that all my calls to Applecare are routed to Applecare in Canada.

    Recently a Sr. Level Apple Advisor in Canada stated to me that when Apple initially replaced the computer which had the firmware tampered with, they replaced it with a computer that did not have the standard operating system that it should have had. The replacement computer had a modified operating system installed.

    Why would Apple do this? This is the question that I asked the Sr. Level Apple Advisor and he said he did not know why this was done nor did he know why or how the firmware was tampered with.
    This has to stop

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