Monday, June 29, 2015

NETWORK SPYING: This is really weird. And not in a good way weird.

So last month I was hacking together some software tools as a side project to make it easier for some folks I work with to compare Excel spreadsheets. For the techies reading along, it's some HTML 5 and jQuery, jQueryUI and Backbone that does everything in the browser. It handles all of the weird, one-off spreadsheets that have extra columns added, superfluous columns, etc. so you can quickly determine month-over-month what's changed.

Anyhow, the URL for the web page was completely private. It was never published anywhere. It couldn't be reached unless someone knew the URL.

Two people knew the URL; myself and a co-worker who tested the tool during the second half of May. Now check out who visited the page, courtesy of Google Analytics (the two redactions are my host networks) a couple of weeks after I launched the page.

I'm guessing that list represents the DOD, German intelligence, a European intelligence agency (likely the GCHQ, the UK's version of the NSA), China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), Korean intelligence, Japanese intelligence, Saudi intelligence and several others.

The question is how?

Let's back up the tracking to the first 24 hours the site was operating with Google Analytics. The very first external visitor was Google, which makes sense because I installed Google Analytics to track usage of the page.

Less than 24 hours later, the visitors looked like this:

Remember, this was a private URL that only Google Analytics was aware of (as well as two users' Chrome surfing history). It wasn't discoverable in a search engine, because there was no listing of it anywhere on the web. It still isn't in Google's index, arguably the most complete anywhere.

Yet, within 24 hours, military and intelligence agencies -- I'm assuming -- around the world were visiting the site to spider it, assess it, review it, whatever.

Which begs the question: is Google aware that their network (or the Analytics core itself or users' browser history) is vulnerable to surveillance?

If anyone know folks at Google, feel free to ask them the question (they can email me at


Anonymous said...

While you show surprise that perhaps a multitude of governments and their agencies have "looked over" your URL I am still puzzling out how the IRS knew my mother's maiden name when I was on the phone with them several weeks ago attempting to prove I was who I said I was due to a tax form issue for this years tax filings. I was asked several questions one of which was to confirm my mothers maiden name. They left me on hold for about 15 minutes and then upon picking up the line anew stated that I had indeed answered all the questions correctly. How did they know this since my mother maiden name has never been a part of filing taxes before? It was mentioned that my answers were checked on their computer system. Could it be that the government now considers the whole of the internet "their" computer system?

Anonymous said...

With enough computing power and bandwidth, the entire internet can be port scanned. Any responses on the usual ports can then be looked at closer. Responses on unusual ports can also get looked at.

Anonymous said...

Install ghostery on your machine.

Cobra said...

A better question might be: Who is working Google with... The agencies have figured out a way to exoloit Google's cache long time ago, I am sure.

Cobra said...

A better question might be: Who is working Google with... The agencies have figured out a way to exoloit Google's cache long time ago, I am sure.

AnechoicRoom said...

Not having much traffic, makes it easy to see who/what/why people are visiting [my backwater (though I did have a rather decent instalanche or two last year, to brighten my spirits)]. Most all my (official/sitemeter) traffic. Is from Google/search. From the Middle East, and Asia. Looking for gay porn (so obviously, at least one at the NSA has a sense of humor). An all too obvious manipulation. As confirmed by the widely divergent Gewge analytics [exposing the existence of 4-8-12x as much traffic (on any given day), as sitemeter 'reports' (bleed/x-over from burned feed/s?)].

Nothing is real anymore. It's a fake fake world.

The only thing that is? The destruction of the United States. By cowards. By traitors. By the NSA butt sniffing maggots. Times beyond dangerous. Cue Doors/End.


There are countless gov/mil agencies/networks. Surfing the web. IME, they oft show up, just to let you know.

They are there.

PianoLessons said...

Doug - Be prepared. Everything we ever do online is being ""botted" (I think I invented a word)and the minute folks want us to be gone digitally, we will be....uhm....gone

Do you ever think of non-digital ways to keep your passion about informing people alive? I am just a fan of your site but I wonder -------do any of us ever really think about the ways we will gather philosophically without any electricity or wifi access.

I was going to sell a bunch of Foxfire books at a neighborhood yard sale last week....but something stopped me.

And I am really researching short wave radio lately.

I'm just saying.....everyone is watching now ....all the time. Orwell lives in the USA (and frankly, we can't blame Obama for it....Silicon Valley does this to us and they will never stop......sigh)

Anonymous said...

That is the MATRIX - we all live in it although there are no walls and yet - its still a prison.

The electronic world keeps us in it; it manipulates us, let's us read what they want us to red, it goads us into the thinking what they want us to think and eventually control our minds.

Slowly - we are being herded into conformity - the goal of the 'powers-that-be'.

Unless we get out of this electronic and invisible prison - it will get worse.

Rick Blake said...

Netsol knows. Trivial to scan whois as often as they allow.