Homebrew NSA Bugs


Thanks to [Edward Snowden] we have a huge, publicly available catalog of the very, very interesting electronic eavesdropping tools the NSA uses. Everything from incredibly complex ARM/FPGA/Flash modules smaller than a penny to machines that can install backdoors in Windows systems from a distance of eight miles are available to the nation’s spooks, and now, the sufficiently equipped electronic hobbyist can build their own.

[GBPPR2] has been going through the NSA’s ANT catalog in recent months, building some of the simpler radio-based bugs. The bug linked to above goes by the codename LOUDAUTO, and it’s a relatively simple (and cheap) radar retro-reflector that allows anyone with the hardware to illuminate a simple circuit to get audio back.

Also on [GBPPR2]’s build list is RAGEMASTER, a device that fits inside a VGA cable and allows a single VGA color channel to be viewed remotely.

The basic principle behind both of these bugs is retroreflection, described by the NSA as a PHOTOANGLO device. The basic principle behind these devices is a FET in the bug, with an antenna connected to the drain. The PHOTOANGLO illuminates this antenna and the PWM signal sent to the gate of the FET modulates the returned signal. A bit of software defined radio on the receiving end, and you have your very own personal security administration.

It’s all very cool stuff, but there are some entries in the NSA catalog that don’t deal with radio at all. One device, IRATEMONK, installs a backdoor in hard drive controller chips. Interestingly, Hackaday favorite and current Hackaday Prize judge [Sprite_TM] did something extremely similar, only without, you know, being really sketchy about it.

While we don’t like the idea of anyone actually using these devices, the NSA ANT catalog is still fertile ground for project ideas.


56 thoughts on “Homebrew NSA Bugs

  1. Oh great, now I’m on a watch list for coming here. But then again, they’ve probably been watching the trolls here for at least two years. Let us know if you get a take down notice.

        1. @AKA – hold onto your tin-hat but NASA and a privately funded company already has a prototype device which connects to your neck and can detect what you are “thinking” to say before you even say it. And you don’t have to actually say anything. Right now it only works with MACs for some odd reason.

          Also a certain intelligence agency has a lie-detector helmet that can tell what your thinking about by showing you pictures/images and charting your brain temps at certain spots in real-time. When you look at a bunch of benign images (kitty cats, puppy dogs, your friends and family etc.) and they ask some questions about them, they setup a baseline. Then when they show you the image of a bad guy or two and your brain response is abnormal from the baseline when they ask you “Do you know this person?” and you say “Nope never saw him before…” then you’re in big trouble. Works better than the polygraph as most “spooks” can beat the poly (or box).

          1. THE NSA says:
            July 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm
            Ironic or moronic http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Boanerges.html
            Not quite sure what you are replying to. The tech is real and I can Google it for you if you like. The company is offering a SDK for around $2,500 USD.

            Now if you referring to my cyber-moniker, all I can say is that it’s from the bible. It’s what Jesus called Mark and John in ancient Aramaic. He simply was calling them “hot heads” and “boisterous” like the sound of thunder – I tend to get like that too. I like to “shoot from the hip” with “my loose lip” but sometimes all that does it get my “foot in my mouth”. So I like constructive criticism so I can be a more socially acceptable person rather than a quasi-psychopath like my work peers.

            Please clarify…

    1. There are issues with this…
      – missing ESD protection on the FET with an antenna is asking for trouble.
      – Someone can find out where the receiver is by locating the Tx source when it is operating. I am assuming that the block diagram is correctly labeling the direction of the RF signal on the TX antenna and the source is not from background RF signals.
      – there is some parasitic capacitances (on the order of a few pF) between the FET gate and drain, so there is going to be RF leaking out to the antenna of the bug.

      1. I like the part where you indicate he never plays the racist card. Do a search for “GBPPR” and “Jewish” for endless, non-stop white supremacist hilariy.

        1. To all those that find any of the sites anti-jew crap racist.. CONSIDER THIS!.


          I don’t hate THEM… they hate ME for not changing those books…..
          Time to eradicate ALL RELIGION NOW!

          Getting sick and tired of people that read books that spread hate to tell me I’m a racist for saying their books are evil and need to be rewritten or banned.

          I LOVE people.. but HATE things that divide.

          Hackers UNITE :D

        2. @The Sparkling Wine – Joe L. is no idiot. However, he is a neo-****, granted. His politics are never expressed on his website for that I appreciate. His racist political views are his private affair. I just like picking his brain for the IC stuff as that’s what he used to do. Somehow he’s not doing it any more. Maybe he got kicked out due to his unpopular views. Or maybe he was fooling around with a mainframe application or something. I dunno. I do know his HAM call sign spells out N***I if you transpose the 9 and the A. Intentional? Maybe or maybe not. I could care less who he hates just as long as he keeps explaining how big-brother makes those wonderful toys. Look at timestamp 1:15 for the punch line:

  2. You guys are funny… :-)

    GBPPR is one of the greatest bug-masters around. You need to checkout his website ( He can keep you well informed as to the latest and greatest Edward Snowden-esque technologies big-brother is using to spy on bad guys (and maybe you?). Why he’s not still in the “community” is a total mystery to me. Notice in his website title “…Directorate of Science & Technology” – ummmm that’s only one particular department of a particular federal agency I know of… Any way he’s my hero as I love to read his stuff. Edward Snowden not so much… :-)

    BTW The MIT Media Lab folks in Cambridge MA proved that tin-foil hats only INCREASE the rf field around your noggin. So by wearing one you’re only making it worse! (LOL)

    1. I like how the diagram shows a stick-figure target saying “The attack on the USS Liberty was intentional…”. Like in that American Gieco commercial (aka advert) “Everybody knows that Gary…”.

      That was back in 1967 and the ship had a lot of top-secret listening equipment to spy on the Russians in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The ship was packed with NSA spooks as well as USN men. It was during the LBJ admin. I guess a tiny country only less than 20-years old then didn’t want anyone “listening” to their little illegal black-op in-country. So their defense force commander ordered the Liberty to be “deafened”. And they did big time. To this day they are still saying it was not intentional. (LOL) Yeah right… Fairy tales can come true sometimes I guess!

    2. RE: LOUDAUTO – I think this is one I remember vaguely that reflects a microwave signal off of your skeleton, jaw, teeth (i.e. calcium?). When you talk it can detect your OSTEO reflections. A counter would be to have a “buzzer” like a electric shaver on your face when talking. This works pretty good with anti laser-mics too. Detect IR signal on your window with a modified digital camera and then tape the shaver to the glass or mirror before talking. Or you could rig up a white-noise generator circuit.

      Or better yet tape the shaver to your tin-foil hat! (LOL)

      RE: IRATEMONK – Uhhh isn’t that what the CLIPPER CHIP was all about? Did we somehow forget that little sneaky crap that is already “common place” with PC manufacturers now? I dunno’ I could be wrong… I was wrong once but I discovered I was wrong about that too.

  3. Clever, but still not as good as Theremin’s “Thing” AKA Great Seal Bug. A tiny membrane, an antenna, and a metal case. Installed by US embassy staff themselves (!) in 1946, after Russian schoolchildren presented them with a 2-foot wooden replica of the Seal of the USA to hang on their wall.

    It needed no power at all, and sat there transmitting, undiscovered, for 6 years! Yep, the same Theremin whose day-job was sound-effects guy for ’50s scifi movies.

    1. @Greenaum – I am too amazed at Leon Theremin’s THING. However he was put in charge of some “people” at sharashka by KGB (then NKVD). I can’t help to think that these people where some TPC’s (Teutonic Paper Clips – like ours in post-WW2). These TPC’s invented some really cool stuff we never heard of like the 1st laser-bugs (actually non-coherent IR light). Theremin supposedly invented one of these too. Google Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 and see what these TPC’s invented and we are just learning about it recently. What else are they keeping from us? Hmmm… Did Thedore Maiman ACTUALLY invent the 1st solid state crystal cutting laser in 1960’s? Or did the TPC’s do it back during WW2? Who knows?

      1. Possible, though there’s a lot of “magic” that Nazi scientists are supposed to have been working with, UFOs, mind-control and whatever else. I have to wonder what it is about fascists with comedy facial-hair that puts them 50 years ahead of everybody else in the world with science. Other countries spent lots of money on technology too. How come speaking German gives such an amazing advantage?

        In the field of rocketry, we did quite well thru Operation Paperclip, with Von Braun and the like. But that’s hardly a surprise, Nazi rockets were well-known before the war ended, particularly if you lived in London. But that advance was simply because they investigated a new kind of weapon, guided missiles, nothing spooky or wierd.

          @Greenaum – Of course you are correct… However, we have not been told the FULL story about Pennemunde and those rockets. There is the A4B Bastard which was the 1st LONG RANGE rocket never fired (i.e. ICBM?). And then the ill-fated submarine attack on Atlantic City NJ at the end of the war. It allegedly was towing a rocket launching platform with deuterium war-heads (i.e. heavy water) destined for Brooklynn and Wash DC. Fortunately it was sunk by one of its own acoustic-tracking torpedoes when one of our USN ships encountered it on routine patrol. It’s still there 60-miles out as a recreational scuba diver’s curiosity, Nobody has looked for the towed barge with the 2 rockets yet. Nobody has salvaged the ENIGMA machine from it either.

          The Haunebu Project (which you call UFOs) and all of that neuropsychological science stuff (among other things) was all under the auspices of the SS. Hans Kammler had command and control of it all. We (USA) brought him over under TPC without Truman’s permission (against a specific executive order). Then planted a phony story of his death in Spain. He should have died at Nuremberg.

          Why the German’s you ask? It all has to do with Hitler’s connections with certain people literally on the “dark side”. The group was called Thule-Gesellschaft run by a man named Walter Nauhaus and another spooky-sort called Rudolf von Sebottendorf. They convinced Hitler to start a top-secret project called VRIL. You have to believe in the metaphysical occult world to go any further here. Atheists need not read on. :-)

          Anyway these VRIL people literally had a deal with ‘you-know-who’. And the rest is history as they say. No aliens form outer-space. Just the ones masquerading as them and we still have to deal with morally on a daily basis today stemming from 2 Corinthians 11:14.

          We’ve been reverse-engineering their gadgets for 60+ years now. And the alien UFO cover story is holding up well even after so many attempts to sabotage the story (i.e. Operation Blue Book, etc.). Clever plot too. The guy* who thought it all up got it from this 1938 CBS radio program:

          *He died in 1987 but Robert DeNiro made a great movie about him called The Good Shepherd (2006)

          1. Wow, someone fell down the rabbit hole and never found their way out..

            I thought tin foil hats were top notch crazy but I always forget that what sci-fi snake oil cant misappropriate religion will. Never mind 0% reproducible experiments and anything you can’t explain is a cover up..

          2. h3ll0_W0rld says:
            July 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm
            Wow, someone fell down the rabbit hole and never found their way out..

            I thought tin foil hats were top notch crazy but I always forget that what sci-fi snake oil cant misappropriate religion will. Never mind 0% reproducible experiments and anything you can’t explain is a cover up..
            “Rabbit holes”? Hmmmm… where have I heard that euphemism before? Almost as bad as when Hugh N. Ashmead (not real name) used to talk about “wilderness of mirrors”?

            “Crazy” well I did caveat “don’t read on…” but you chose to do so at your own peril. “Reproducible evidence”? It would take a multi-page cyber-essay to do so and Brian B. would hate me for it. So I won’t.

            But let me point you to JANES.COM and the defense consultant named Nick Cook who helped me “connect the dots” here. Is Janes bat-sh*t crazy? Is Nick? There are many clues which point to Mr. Ashmead’s grandson (as depicted in the De Niro film) “screwing the pooch” with his big mouth. However, Bobby didn’t show the AFIO meeting in Miami where he “spilled the beans” about the “cover story” used to cover up Overcast/Paper-Clip and all of the true-believers now believe in little gray men visiting in their UFO’s.

            The cover has held up nicely for 60+ years I guess.

            Sorry Brian?

      1. At least we beat those commie bastards! Freedom and democracy forever! Can you image living in a country where the government spies on it’s own citizens? OMG

  4. I work for the government (not the US government), and what an intel officer told us is that the US government only exposes a technology after 25 years of utilization. So they already have what we can’t even dream of, and they’Re probably laughing at us for reading these…

      1. “But trust me GBPPR is keeping up with them. Check out his website for proof…”
        This is an utterly foolish statement. If it were true, do you honestly believe he would be able to continuously talk about it without some visits from a few suits?

        1. @eas – Yes do you think LOUDAUTO is something you even understand how it works? It’s a osteo-backscatter system. Did you even know someone could do that? There is a ton of stuff on GBPPR site that appears to be way ahead of its time. I believe it as I may or may not have seen some of it. However, I’m not saying as I don’t want any of FooBarBaz suits to pay any visits (LOL)
          @FooBarBaz – Suits don’t harass “brothers” over cyber-connect-the-dots. If it’s a critical problem they just send him some respectful advice to “stand down” to please the “brass” with their sticks up their collective [redacted]. Also people like Joe L. (aka GBPPR) are a little “unbalanced” and tend to get all “Ruby Ridge” to uninvited visitors. Do you think his pad is not as wired-up like Ollie North’s $6m house is? Or like Gene Hackman’s Baltimore warehouse in EOS (1998). Go to time stamp 1:00 to see what I’m talking about:

    1. @Technoshaman – OK here’s something from OVER 25 years ago nobody even knew about (not even me). Have you heard about the ultrasonic transmitter trick with a AT&T 500 set telephone? No bug is place in the phone at all. Only a transmitter irradiates the line from about 1,000 feet away and like LOUDAUTO (kinda’ sorta’) you get audio back. When the FBI (et al) found out about this trick they took precautions to counter it. But that was well over 25 years ago (maybe 50 or 60) and just came out in FOIA documents on the Internet.

  5. I’d probably apply the reflector concept to an inductor wire and air tap, and probably a video transmitter, or probably just develop a low clock-cycle algo for motion detection for the video.

  6. This is quite a sad chapter in man kinds little book.

    Humans share particles that allow them to connect in a way beyond this reality.

    I know most will come with the tinfoil hat thingy regurgitating what they have been taught.

    One day you might understand that all this time we we’re fighting ourselves in every way possible with evil men doing their evil things.


    It’s us hackers that should understand this before anyone. Please try.

    1. @midnight – QE is one of the 25-year ahead of our time protocols. Ever heard of Quantum Encryption? I know one of you uber-hackers think you’ve broken it already but I think not. They say once you observe the Q-signal you have disturbed it and the hack is instantly detected.

      I suggest a QE slow morse code or SMC system to a scientist recently and he poo poo’d it. Some mumbo jumbo about unpredictable spin-rates and such. If the idea is workable it means you could send SMC all the way across the universe instantaneously. They’re experimenting with it in France now. It would make the Star Trek sub-space communicator look weak. You’ll will have to read through midnight’s above link to understand what I’m talking about. Einstein theorized about it too. No tin-foil-hat stuff…

  7. None of this tech is anything new, it all goes back to theremin and the great seal bug, and was the Genesis of non linear junction detectors and dopplar stethascopes. Old stuff with new applications and microelectronics

    1. @ono – You sound like Gene Hackman in THE CONVERSATION (1974). He too didn’t appreciate the technological evolution of our US Intelligence Community. You heard that computers evolve every 6-months? This stuff evolves DAILY. Watch this movie at the video store and see how archaic his thoughts were. He ripped his walls out looking for the bug not realizing that technology was at least 25 years ahead of him, and a master bugger too.

        1. It was interesting. I figured out that the guys bugging him were using a laser-bug or laser-mic. Now that was a little ahead of 1974 technology even despite that Leon Theremin allegedly invented it in late 1940’s in Russia. I think the German scientists had even earlier than that. In this vein do you want to know about a technology of theirs that is 25 or more years ahead of us today? I think I can safely connect that dot for you and not get FooBarBaz’d.

          You know with laser-mics ‘the angle of the dangle’ is critical? If you don’t set up directly across from the window you are screwed. Side angles only bounce off the window and go off on same opposite angle. You can’t put a mirror on or a prism in the glass as it will be seen by the target. When I was shown this I went kerclempt! It’s called optical metamaterial. It fits on the window with clear adhesive and is totally invisible to the target. It is designed to bounce back a laser in any direction you design it for. You might have several in a box all at different angles. So your in the hotel room across the courtyard at a 45° angle? The laser comes back to you at same angle! Go figure!

          Here’s a good video about it. Guess who posted it – GBPPR2 himself! (LOL)

          1. Wouldn’t this material you speak of just be some sort of transparent retro reflector… How is that possible. Mind potentially blown, and who is this gbppr2 guy, noticed posts by him all over for years now. I appreciate that there are signifigantbtecgnological advancements by the intelligence community, I just think the tech in question in this hackaday post and the snow den leak seems somewhat dated

          2. @ono – GBPPR2 is the guy up there ^^ in the YouTube videos showing us how its all done. He is also one of the best bug-masters around. I suspect he once work for DS&T in the intel community as an “overt” employee. His website is awesome as it explains bugs we’ve never even heard of before. He is bit of a racist but I don’t care about that. I just like picking his brain.

            Optical Metamaterials are really a brand new technology (literally). They have been used in the new top-secret Active Camouflage Jumpsuit arguably used in Iraq during OpDS. They can bend like in any direction you desire. The Jumpsuit arguably bends light around the wearer allowing people to only see what’s behind you essentially making you totally camouflaged but shimmers like the Alien Predator in the movies. It was designed at UNC in USA.

            So if you have a thin piece of OM with an self-adhesive backing, which is preset at the return angle you desired, you can simply slap it on the target window and go back to your nest and IR lase the OM and the laser will return exactly back to you just like a retro-reflector. The target can’t see it because it’s thin and made of glass too. He can see it if he looks closely though.

            Yes I think I agree with you now. I looked closer at the LOUDAUTO and I see a standard microphone. How is that new technology? How do you hide this thing on the target? It’s not thin like the NSA bugs in EOS (1998) with Will Smith and Gene Hackman. Directed energy bugs are really the thing nowadays. Microphones are so 20th century.

    Oops! I just looked up what a Knowles EY/EK Microphone is and realized that this is NOT a osteo-backscatter reflector system I mentioned above. This bug is planted on or near the target and is interrogated by a microwave transmitter. I don’t get it. Why does it have a battery when wireless power is better? What is it reflecting off of? LOUDAUTO seems totally useless to me now. Is this NSA disinformation?
    Can anybody tell me the type of bug that Russian (Stanislav Borisovich Gusev) was caught in the park using at the US State Dept in Washington DC back in 1999? It seems very advanced and was quite undetectable until they noticed him downloading from it almost daily. The Brits where caught by the Russians in Moscow doing the same thing with their stupid PDA Rock.

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