Potential protection against the “Hacienda” intelligence program
Today, a group of journalists has reported the existence of the “Hacienda” spy program. According to this report, five western intelligence agencies are using the Hacienda software to identify vulnerable servers across the world in order to control them and use them for their own purposes. Scientists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed free software that can help prevent this kind of identification and thus the subsequent capture of systems.
Port scanners are programs that search the Internet for systems that exhibit potential vulnerabilities. According to the report published today by journalists at Heise Online, Hacienda is one such port scanning program. The report says that this program is being put into service by the “Five Eyes,” a federation of the secret services of the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. “The goal is to identify as many servers as possible in other countries that can be remotely controlled,” explains Dr. Christian Grothoff, Emmy Noether research group leader at the TUM Chair for Network Architectures and Services.
New free software “TCP Stealth”
Grothoff and his students at TUM have developed the “TCP Stealth” defense software, which can inhibit the identification of systems through both Hacienda and similar cyberattack software and, as a result, the undirected and massive takeover of computers worldwide, as Grothoff explains. “TCP Stealth” is free software that has as its prerequisites particular system requirements and computer expertise, for example, use of the GNU/Linux operating system. In order to make broader usage possible in the future, the software will need further development.