Military Review

Five Russian spy technologies that buy in the West

It is no secret that Russian surveillance technologies play a large role in modern Russia, but few know that they have been recognized outside the country.

Five Russian spy technologies that buy in the West

A few years ago, the Kremlin began to support the developers of such special technologies, and after the “Arab spring” and mass protests in Moscow, the authorities' interest in this topic only intensified. In November last year, when the Internet filtering system in the form of a registry of banned sites began to operate in Russia, providers and telecommunications operators were forced to acquire DPI (deep packet analysis) technology. Effective for blocking individual pages of sites, DPI is also able to identify a user on the Web and secretly intercept his messages.

Some Russian companies have already achieved significant success and are recognized abroad. For example, the Speech Technology Center (MDG) is the largest Russian company specializing in voice recognition. That the company is leading its history from the Gulag and was created on the basis of the Marfa "sharashki", in which Alexander Solzhenitsyn once worked, very few people are embarrassed.

These are the areas in which Russian manufacturers of surveillance technology have achieved the greatest recognition in the Western market.

Voice recognition

The world leader in voice recognition technology performs under two names. In his native St. Petersburg this is the “Speech Technology Center” (MDG). In New York, the company operates under the name SpeechPro.

Both names are completely neutral and do not reveal the fact that initially these developments were conducted in a secret scientific research institute under the roof of the KGB, which was formed on the basis of the Gulag “sharashka”, where the scientists and engineers who received the term worked. Their task was to work on identifying the voices of those calling to foreign embassies in Moscow.

“Our center was founded in 1990,” said Sergey Koval, a leading analyst at the MDGs. “Before that, all the main employees worked in the department of applied acoustics, in general, the department was KGB, and formally belonged to the Dalsvyaz NGO of the Ministry of Industrial Communications ...” Sharashka, in which Solzhenitsyn worked, was transferred from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and this the department was her direct heir. The people described in the novel (meaning “In the first circle”. - Forbes) continued to work there after being released, and I started working with them when I came to the department in 1973 year ”.

In 2010, the MDGs completed the implementation of the world's first national voice identification project. The project was implemented in Mexico, on the territory of which a system of state accounting of votes and biometric search was deployed, able to identify the person speaking by fragments of speech. Not only criminals and law enforcement officers, but also law-abiding citizens were brought to the national base of votes: in some Mexican states, even for getting a driver's license, you need to pass vote samples. In five seconds, the program can scan 10 000 samples of votes with an accuracy of at least 90% (MDG estimate). Not so long ago, the company received the support of the Russian authorities - in September 2011, Gazprombank became a co-owner of the MDGs.

MDG technologies are also used in the United States. As director of strategic development for the MDGs, Alexey Khitrov told the Slate online magazine in September, the company collaborates with US government agencies at various levels.

Biometric facial recognition

The MDGs are not limited to the development of technologies related to voice, but are also engaged in the creation of facial recognition systems. In December, 2012 of the Year, the MDGs announced that it had started working in Ecuador and introduced “the world's first biometric identification platform that combines voice and face recognition capabilities”.

The system allows you to create huge databases with images and samples of votes of criminals and suspects, which are available to the authorities of this country. The MDGs claim that they have developed an algorithm with which you can get a reliable result, even if a person’s facial features have changed.

Of course, the MDGs are trying not to talk about this in public, but its surveillance and identification technologies can be used not only to fight criminals. MDG developments have been established in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus, as well as in the Middle East.

Surveillance on the Internet

In the sphere of lawful interception of telecommunications, standards and procedures in Russia and in the West differ quite strongly. Nevertheless, this did not prevent several Russian companies from entering this specific market in North America.

MFI Soft is one of them. Her specialization is the production of technologies in the field of information security and solutions for special services, as well as technologies for Internet telephony. Founded in 1989, MFI Soft became the largest producer of telecommunications traffic interception facilities in Russia (telephone calls, mobile communications, Internet). The company sells its systems in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

After the Russian Internet filtering system was launched in the country, the company quickly responded to a new reality by developing the Perimeter F product, which MFI Soft promotes as a cheaper solution compared to DPI filtering technologies.

In Canada, MFI Soft is known as ALOE Systems, its office is located in the suburbs of Toronto. Until recently, ALOE actively promoted the NetBeholder product in the Americas, which was advertised as a system capable of intercepting, monitoring, and storing intercepted traffic on the Web. The system is installed on a laptop and, as stated on the product site, "was designed specifically for interception in Internet cafes, hotels, restaurants and other public places."

Outside Canada, ALOE's client list includes telecommunications operators in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Peru, and Uruguay. ALOE's main sales manager, Vitaly Potapov, whom we met at the company's Toronto office, told us that ALOE is going to open an office in the United States soon. True, he explained that ALOE Internet telephony solutions are the most successful in this market: “The US has a huge market for VoIP solutions.”

Apparently, MFI Soft is in fairly close relations with the Russian special services. In April, its CEO Alexander Belyakov was invited to join the Russian delegation at a forum on cyber security in Garmisch, in Germany. This conference is held annually with the approval of the highest-ranking Russian officials in the field of information security, and among its organizers are the head of the Institute of Information Security Problems of Moscow State University, Councilor of the Security Council and former head of electronic intelligence of FAPSI, Vladislav Sherstyuk and Nikolai Klimashin, position of deputy secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Listening to mobile

The traditional way of telephone wiretapping is to use the SORM equipment, which is installed on the nodes of each telecom operator. However, sometimes, when you need to listen to a conversation on your mobile, it is much more effective to intercept it right on the spot. For example, when you need to listen to and identify participants of mass protests.

Discovery Telecom Technologies (DTT) manufactures equipment specifically for this type of wiretapping. The company was founded in Moscow, but now has offices in Switzerland and the United States, where it settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. Judging by its site, the company's clients include the Federal Security Service of Russia.

Its 8-channel active GSM interceptor with decoder A 5.1 (known as the Interception System with an intermediate AIBIS base station) weighing about 10 kg is capable of intercepting GSM traffic.

“This product is capable of intercepting all cellular communications traffic,” said Christopher Sogoyan, a leading technical expert at the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU. According to the product description, the GSM interceptor can listen to up to eight incoming and outgoing mobile phone calls "with any type of encryption, in real time." It can also work “with moving and stationary objects and provide conversations and data in real time, analyze the received data, intercept IMSI / IMEI and do selective suppression of GSM traffic in a given area” and even carry out “operations on behalf of a given object”.

The interception of GPRS traffic is also not a problem for AIBIS, which means including intercepting SMS messages and tracking Internet browsing. Recently, a module was added to the system that determines the location of the phone being listened to. From a practical point of view, this means that a car equipped with such a device may be parked near the office of the person being listened to or, for example, be in the back of the square where the mass demonstration takes place.

The company's website claims that the interceptor is delivered worldwide.

As reporters Mark Ambinder and David Brown wrote in their book Deep State: Inside your Government Secrecy Industry: “Your data could be intercepted in Russia, China or Israel if you drove through these countries. Recently, the FBI quietly dismantled transmitters installed at several cellular stations in Washington, which transmitted the intercepted data to foreign embassies. ”

Vehicle tracking

Russian tracking technologies are not just about people. Russian startup Doroga.TV helps New Yorkers track the movement of city buses. Last October, Doroga.TV agreed with the New York City Municipal Transport Agency to launch an online test service for passengers of local buses in a test mode. With this service, residents of New York will be able to track the location of buses in real time, watch forecasts of their arrival at the bus stop, taking into account traffic jams, as well as calculate the best route.

Compared to other surveillance technologies developed in Russia, this technology looks absolutely innocent. According to Evgeny Makarov, director of development for Doroga.TV, the New York project is in the testing phase.

Doroga.TV, founded in 2007, with a staff of 12 people, is going to track the movement of New York buses using GPS receivers, and then provide statistical data to city services. This service has already been implemented in several cities of Russia. If the project takes place, residents of the “Big Apple” will have to thank Moscow for their help in dealing with traffic jams in New York.

Joint investigation by Agentura.Ru, CitizenLab and Privacy International with the participation of Robert Bekhuzen. Published in English in Wired, in Russian - in Forbes
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  1. Grigorich 1962
    Grigorich 1962 19 June 2013 09: 47
    Life becomes more interesting, life becomes more fun !! ....... It's nice to feel that every step you take can be tracked, listened to and recorded. But only when a local hooligan will kill you near your house because of a pack of cigarettes, these "your data" will not work for you as a security and search for the culprits.

    It is nice to know that Russian scientists and engineers made an effort to these technologies. ... and that’s all the raw materials appendage the raw materials appendage ..... and our technology itself is eaten the only way.
    1. w.ebdo.g
      w.ebdo.g 19 June 2013 11: 00
      our (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, etc.) engineers and designers are the best in the world ...
      only the Germans (German Jews) can compare with them, and the rest in the deep .. OPE)))
      we just don’t make good cars, but it's okay, good products will appear in this area.
      Rogozin has already asked a question about such a discrepancy: "We make the best missiles, planes, helicopters and tanks, but we can't make a car ... why?"
      like so ...

      1. postman
        postman 19 June 2013 20: 06
        Quote: w.ebdo.g
        our (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, etc.) engineers and designers are the best in the world ...

        Very controversial statement(although I myself am an engineer).
        You simply did not meet either the engineers or their creations.
        Personally, I was struck in 2002 by wheelchair beds in a hospital in Nicosia, Cyprus (as it happened), British 1957 release!
        I assure you, neither in 2002 nor now at the Polenov Institute DOMESTIC IS NOT SUCH.
        And in 2002 it was the full of water pipes of domestic production of heavy weight and TOTALLY not meeting the goals and objectives.

        The brother (the same engineer), just returned from Algeria from the factory, admitted that at the age of 40 he FIRST TIME MET a SO COMPETENT TURK equipment engineer by nationality.

        MZKT 65151 (MAZ) - they can’t be compared to the depot with Renault Kerax: (even the old man of 2004) forever broken housing, forever stuck, forever the frame went (It's about MAZ)
        For reference (2012 ranking of the best engineers and IT specialists are preparing):
        Cambridge university
        University of Tokyo
        Imperial College of London

        Look around you. Our machines, and everything else ours (what you wear, what you work for) are the work of our engineers. Do you think this is all the best in the world?

        We are the best in the world avrashchiki (war, floods, the elements, fire, dam per day, a plant from rails in the field)
  2. neri73-r
    neri73-r 19 June 2013 09: 53
    it feels like an advertisement!
  3. Blackwing
    Blackwing 19 June 2013 10: 05
    If these are breakthrough technologies, then why sell them to a potential ally?
    1. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 19 June 2013 12: 27
      Because it is not customary for us to pay for such work. They can give a salary ... not high. Our bosses all "highbrow" hate screeching and are very afraid. Therefore, on the one hand, they spread rot as much as they can, on the other hand, they cannot do without ... In short, this is a huge breakthrough, that at least someone managed to get some money for a decent life and new developments.
      1. Blackwing
        Blackwing 19 June 2013 15: 23
        Sad if so
      2. postman
        postman 19 June 2013 19: 21
        Quote: Mikhail3
        Because we are not accepted to pay for such work. They can give a salary ... not high

        Nonsense. They pay us more.
        But the market is "narrow"
        Therefore, I go to the foreign market
  4. rereture
    rereture 19 June 2013 12: 35
    For example, I don’t want to be watched on the Internet, listened to my phone.
    1. postman
      postman 19 June 2013 19: 35
      Quote: rereture
      For example, I don’t want to be watched on the Internet, listened to my phone.

      This is an objective reality.
      SORM equipment - systems of operational-search measures
      SORM-1: analysis of telephone conversations (equipment from telecom operators that records all conversations and SMS, while maintaining the parameters of communication sessions. Until 2009, this information was stored in data centers of special services for 3 months, now - 6 months, and in general, according to the standards, it should be stored for 3 years.)
      There are no options to avoid. ONLY ENCRYPTION (Phone like Angel Merkel for example, AFTER SCANDAL)

      SORM-2: analysis of Internet traffic (Internet provider has special equipment that records the Internet traffic of all its subscribers, including the contents of the mail and IM protocols, including ICQ and Jabber. SORM-2 also involves storing information in data centers of special services in for 3 years.)

      The only Internet option in Russia - without feed 2 - is to have some kind of satellite Internet from an Australian (for example) provider
      if you want not to know what you are writing - ENCRYPT.
      if you want to not know where you are going, use reliable PROXY.

      in implementation since 2009 SORM-3: a system of continuous wiretapping, recording and analysis of conversations in residential premises (the total cost will be about 1.2 trillion rubles, of which more than 400 billion rubles will be spent on creating a continuous audio-monitoring system (“wiretapping”) of residential premises using “smart” water meters) .
      In 2009, a supercomputer with peak performance of up to 3 TFLOPS was purchased for SORM-50.

      EVERYTHING in accordance with Federal laws:
      1) “On Communications” No. 126-FZ and Order of the Ministry of Communications No. 2339 dated August 9, 2000,
      2) on energy conservation and improving energy efficiency of November 23, 2009 No. 261-FZ
  5. Uruska
    Uruska 19 June 2013 13: 01
    They track buses there, but we don’t. This not normal!
    1. postman
      postman 19 June 2013 19: 45
      Quote: Uruska
      but we don’t have it.

      You do not know
      GSM - one hundred years at lunch. We have been using the year since 2002 (I don’t remember exactly)

      Choose if you need:
  6. Volkhov
    Volkhov 19 June 2013 13: 30
    A series of articles about wiretapping of everything fulfills the role of a scarecrow - so that citizens are afraid and do not take out languages ​​from F ... there is no one to really analyze the chatter of millions, state killers are overloaded, it is problematic to do everything like in Dagestan - so let them be afraid, the article is inexpensive.
    1. StolzSS
      StolzSS 19 June 2013 17: 58
      And where did you get this info about killers ??? the special office was incomplete))) laughing
  7. iSpoiler
    iSpoiler 19 June 2013 16: 35
    Why something, let alone spy ours ..))
  8. spirit
    spirit 19 June 2013 19: 27
    Five Russian spy technologies that buy in the West to then listen to the iPhone fool Medvedev laughing fellow
    1. postman
      postman 19 June 2013 20: 08
      Quote: spirit
      then to listen to the idiot fool

      If he uses ONLY IMessage, they will not be able to.
      This data is not stored and cannot be opened.
  9. zbidnev
    zbidnev 19 June 2013 21: 08
    Anyone who owns information - owns the world. Our leaders really want to have absolute power over their people. And the fight against terrorism is another excuse for us. The solution to these problems is quite problematic since open architectures and technologies are used in the telecommunications industry. There is a sufficient amount of information on cryptography and cryptanalysis, there are enough programmers, open-source operating systems are also sufficient, so protecting information even at a handicraft level is quite possible (even special services can break your teeth). As for the GSM standard and allegations of interception and listening to a mobile phone with any type of encryption - I do not believe it. Perhaps we are talking about any of the existing types of speech conversion and compression that is used in the phone. If you use a crypt of sufficient durability, then it’s not a question they will open if you are lucky in a couple of thousand years. And now about the interception of the signal itself. If the operator uses one interesting frequency hopping technology - pseudo-random tuning in radio frequency (the signal changes the frequency band pseudo-randomly in the range for example 860-980 MHz and there are about a hundred such signals in the same base), then intercepting and analyzing the signal becomes a very difficult task. So the special services will not do without pressure on our operators.
  10. stranik72
    stranik72 19 June 2013 21: 08
    "The world leader in voice recognition technologies stands under two names. In his native St. Petersburg, it is the Speech Technology Center (CTC). In New York, the company operates under the name SpeechPro." I confirm that when investigating flight accidents, they contacted both centers, ours is cooler, but the American has an ICAO license and is recognized by the aviation world, our quiet man, I will not say anything about the specifics, but I'm glad if really those who work there began to pay, otherwise a few years ago there worked some "extreme middle years", with a ridiculous (10000 rubles) salary.
  11. The comment was deleted.
  12. Mister X
    Mister X 19 June 2013 22: 41
    Doroga.TV is going to track the movement of buses in New York using GPS receivers,
    and then provide statistics to city services.

    Yandex.Taxi is a service that allows you to call a taxi and monitor the progress of the order on the map.
    Orders are transferred to our partners - taxi services.
    They are the direct executors of the order.
    Yandex.Taxi already operates in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Voronezh, Krasnoyarsk and Vologda.

    Sound familiar?
    Find at least a few differences.

    Service website:
    1. postman
      postman 20 June 2013 04: 24
      Quote: Mister X
      Find at least a few differences.

      1. DorogaTV- The service includes images and videos from road webcams, a traffic jam map, monitoring of public transport, laying a route on public transport
      “Traffic map” works on the basis of data from GPS and GLONASS satellite transport monitoring systems
      Broadcast images from a network of cameras

      Yandex.Taxi- Yandex web service designed for online taxi booking as an application for mobile phones
      There are no TV cameras of their own; videos are received from Akado

      2. Doroga TV is available for
      Apple iPhone
      Java applications
      Nokia jad (jar)
      Nokia CDLC 1.0 jad (jar)
      SonyEricsson jad (jar)
      Samsung jad (jar)
      Motorola (jar) Siemens (jar)
      Sagem (jar)
      Windows Mobile 5/6

      Yandex.Taxi only
      Apple phones based on iOS or Android
      3.DorogaTV maps from google (!) 20 zoom levels are available

      Only in 2012 Yandex bought maps of all countries of the world from the NAVTEQ service
      The maximum scale of Yandex.Maps is 1: 1600. The whole world is available on a scale of 1: 3.
      4.There is Television program "DorogaTV"
      No Yandex.Taxi Television Program
      5. DorogaTV was established in 2006 - more than 150 users.
      Yandex.Taxi launched in 2011; 12 thousand cars from 200 Russian taxi fleets operate;

      Is that enough?
      1. Mister X
        Mister X 21 June 2013 15: 36
        Quote: Postman
        Is that enough?


        Briefly, clearly, but nevertheless in detail and reasoned.
        Thank you for educating.
  13. gridasov
    gridasov 30 June 2013 20: 09
    Do not fool and listen. In general, there is no distinction between information and disinformation, which means that it is not enough to collect aggregate information. It is important to analyze it regarding the conclusions that are required. What is the use of creating the most high-speed software information processing if the function parameters of this program are limited by the intelligence potential of its creator. A smart person is able to draw and constantly draws conclusions already on the basis of two or even one information impulse in order to determine both the vector and the subsequent algorithm of what will be said and done.
    1. Rus2012
      Rus2012 30 June 2013 21: 08
      Quote: gridasov
      Do not fool and listen.

      ... but not important! Technologies for handling multi-vector arrays have appeared, please:
      for each member of society, it does not matter 100 million. or 300 mln. individuals (cells) - an array of telephone conversations, SMS, mail, Internet blog posts, social networks and so on is collected, sorted and "dropped" ... Perhaps it will come in handy! Moreover, if desired, by keywords / phrases - Mona can "bring out any group", including participants - :)))
      Well, and "paint further".
      On the other hand, there are few qualified personnel for processing, they cannot prevent undesirable phenomena in the early phases (or they don’t do any specialist) ...

      Can Mona be saved, protect herself from "catching the wise minnows"?
      Of course you can!
      Turn off the mobile phone, disconnect from the Internet ... go to the village, where not only telephones, not even electricity. And read books, write "paper" letters ... :)))
  14. scientist
    scientist 21 August 2013 07: 39
    He worked with the program "Analytical Courier" of the company AITECO, which was also once developed in the special services. So she very quickly and visually processes any massifs of information, especially beautifully about politicians, you can immediately see from where the legs grow and what they breathe.