Homeland Security Wants Access to Your XBox

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
04/18/2012
       
Homeland Security Wants Access to Your XBox

Next time your family plays a game on your Wii gaming system, you may be giving the Department of Homeland Security access to your address, credit card numbers, online passwords, and chat conversations.

 
 

Next time your family plays a game on your Wii gaming system, you may be giving the Department of Homeland Security access to your address, credit card numbers, online passwords, and chat conversations. According to various reports, the Department of Homeland Security has initiated a program designed to provide the snoops a mechanism for hacking gaming consoles to uncover users’ critical personal data.

As one of the first steps toward achieving this nefarious goal, the Department of the Navy was tasked by DHS with awarding a contract to Obscure Technologies to “fund the development and delivery of computer forensic tools for analyzing network traffic and stored data created during the use of video game systems.”

The California-based company will receive over $177,000 toward research and development of the tools that will give the federal government the backdoor access to financial and personal data it desires.

The Navy was chosen to oversee this contract “because of the expertise of Simson Garfinkel, a computer science professor at the [Naval Postgraduate School] in Monterrey, California.”

What is DHS expecting in return for its investment in Obscure Technologies?  As set forth in the terms of the contract, DHS demands:

This project proposes to create the following deliverables for use by Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T).

Hardware and software tools that can be used for extracting data from video game systems.

A collection of data (disk images; flash memory dumps; configuration settings) extracted from new video game systems and used game systems purchased on the secondary market.

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