Just when you thought you could no longer be surprised by the scope of the NSA’s campaign to end online privacy, some new information trickles out that reinvigorates your shock and anger all over again.
This time, we have an open-source project called Sniffmap to thank for the newest, admittedly speculative, revelation. According to Sniffmap, some 80% of the world’s internet traffic travels a route that allows it to be monitored by the NSA, or one of its allies in the so-called “Five Eyes” (UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand).
How Does Sniffmap Gather Their Info About the NSA?
Sniffmap creates their dataset by trying “to detect each time an internet route between two IP addresses pass by an NSA controlled country and therefore can be considered as intercepted.” According to their current detection process, around 80% of the Internet is captured by NSA and allies. Sniffmap lists their NSA-related information gathering process as:
- Choose a random list of target IP address
- For each country take all known traceroute gateways
- For each traceroute gateways test each target IP address (within a pool of 255 random IP with each of the 255 class A networks)
- If this route goes through one NSA-controlled country, mark the route as “bad”, otherwise the route is marked as good.
- Compute percentage over all routes for a given country (using multiple traceroute gateways hence hopefully multiple ISPs and operators to have meaningful results)
As we mentioned above, this is not exactly a perfect process, and Sniffmap does go to the trouble of listing a few of their “known biases”, such as:
- This analysis is not weighted by country’s traffic quantity per AS, thus it is a percentage of _routes_ potentially intercepted, not of quantity of traffic intercepted.
- Not only NSA and the “Five Eyes” allies are intercepting Internet traffic. It seems to have become a popular sport these days. So you can expect also some other countries to intercept and therefore the real stats should be much higher.
As BestVPN points out, internet traffic prefers the cheapest route to the most direct one. So even when e-mails are sent from one non-Five-Eyes country to another, it will often pass through a communications hub located in a Five Eyes country, thereby allowing it to be viewed by the NSA and other allied intelligence agencies.
What Can You Do Stop Getting Sniffed?
At FlashRouters, we’ve made it our mission to provide the most reliable and versatile routers that enable our users to use the internet over secure and flexible networks. Our routers come with advanced security options and arrive VPN-client compatible, depending on our users’ needs. Utilizing a VPN service within a router for can instantly encrypt your wired and wireless Internet traffic and one of the most popular inherent benefit of using an enhanced open-source router, besides that it plugs up various default firmware security holes, vulnerabilities & backdoors.
Take a look at some of the items on our recent best-sellers list, as well as our most popular DD-WRT wireless routers of 2014 to find the FlashRouter/VPN combo that’s just right for your privacy/security!