GCHQ Application for Renewal of Warrant GPW/1160

Jun. 22 2015 — 10:27a.m.


TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY From: Date: 13 June 2008 GCHQ Reference: A/9014/9105/55 Sian MacLeod Mariot Leslie Foreign Secretary ISA-94: APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL OF WARRANT GPW/1160 IN RESPECT OF ACTIVITIES WHICH INVOLVE THE MODIFICATION OF COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE ISSUE 1. GCHQ seek a renewal of warrant GPW/1160 issued under section 5 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 in respect of interference with computer software in breach of copyright and licensing agreements. TIMING 2. Warrant GPW/1160 is due to expire on 7 July 2008. Signature is requested by 4 July. If renewed, the warrant will next expire on 7 January 2009. PREFERRED OPTION 3. That the Secretary of State issue the warrant. If the Secretary of State agrees, he should sign and date the warrant instrument (GPW/R/167, immediately below this submission and flagged “Reference Here”). BACKGROUND 4. GCHQ’s success as an intelligence agency is founded on technical knowledge and creativity. In particular this may involve modifying commercially available software to enable interception, decryption and other related tasks, or “reverse engineering” software (this means to convert it from machine readable code into the original format, which is 1 THIS INFORMATION IS EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO EXEMPTION UNDER OTHER UK INFORMATION LEGISLATION. REFER DISCLOSURE REQUESTS TO GCHQ ON EXT OR EMAIL @GCHQ TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY

TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY then comprehensible to a person). These actions, and others necessary to understand how the software works, may represent an infringement of copyright. The interference may also be contrary to, or inconsistent with, the provisions of any licensing agreement between GCHQ and the owners of the rights in the software. 5. Where this work is being carried out in support of a specific intercept operation or a specific computer network exploitation (CNE) operation, the preparatory work can often be taken to be included in the legal authorisation that applies to that operation. The provisions of RIPA and ISA apply in most cases to all such enabling activities. This will be the case for any software destined for operations covered by RIPA warrants and by operations carried out under the ISA section 7 authorisation held by GCHQ for CNE activities where the effect is overseas. Unless specifically authorised, however, it will not be the case for specific operations carried out under ISA section 5 warrants, or in those instances where the activity is being carried out not as preparatory to a specific operation but as part of GCHQ’s continuing efforts to maintain its technical knowledge base and develop future exploitation opportunities. 6. In some other cases similar work is being carried out by CESG as part of Information Assurance (IA) vulnerabilities research. A variety of software products may be “reverse engineered” in order to identify and understand potential security vulnerabilities. Authorisation will not normally be sought from the supplier or copyright owner. 7. There is a risk that in the unlikely event of a challenge by the copyright owner or licensor, the Courts would, in the absence of a legal authorisation, hold that such activity was unlawful and amounted to a copyright infringement or breach of contract. The purpose of this warrant is to provide authorisation for all continuing activities which involve interference with copyright or licensed software, but which cannot be said to fall within any other specific authorisation held by GCHQ and which are done without the permission of the owner. 8. Under the terms of this warrant, the majority of products examined since last renewal have been in support of CNE operations, while a number were investigated in support of CESG’s IA work and to enable police operations. In each case it was necessary 2 THIS INFORMATION IS EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO EXEMPTION UNDER OTHER UK INFORMATION LEGISLATION. REFER DISCLOSURE REQUESTS TO GCHQ ON EXT OR EMAIL @GCHQ TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY

TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY to use this warrant as the product licence explicitly forbade reverse engineering. CNE 9. The products that were studied for CNE purposes included vBulletin web forum software, widely used to run terrorist web forums. Software reverse engineering (SRE) has enabled recovery of user credentials from web traffic and database content, research into vulnerabilities that can provide access into such forums, and investigation of opportunities for modifying a forum in order to mount attacks against target users. Similar inroads into Invision Power Board, another web forum product, have also been possible. Vulnerabilities in terrorist forum hosts using host management software CPanel have likewise been identified through SRE, while vulnerabilities identified in the PostfixAdmin software used by a targeted Internet Service Provider have allowed modification of an ISP site and a subsequent attempt at implant delivery. 10. GCHQ’s CNE operations against in-country communications switches (routers) have also benefited from SRE. Capability against Cisco routers developed by this means has allowed a CNE presence on the Pakistan Internet Exchange which affords access to almost any user of the internet inside Pakistan. Our presence on routers likewise allows us to re-route selected traffic across international links towards GCHQ’s passive collection systems. 11. Personal security products such as the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky continue to pose a challenge to GCHQ’s CNE capability and SRE is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities. Examination of Kaspersky and other such products continues. 12. SRE work also supports long term CNE research, which needs to be done to strengthen GCHQ’s technical knowledge base and to sustain and improve its future Sigint capability, in particular to be able to respond effectively to changing target practices. In addition, the SRE courses run at GCHQ not only aim to train the students in SRE techniques but also offer an opportunity for them to examine new products or those that are of interest but have yet to be reverse engineered. 3 THIS INFORMATION IS EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO EXEMPTION UNDER OTHER UK INFORMATION LEGISLATION. REFER DISCLOSURE REQUESTS TO GCHQ ON EXT OR EMAIL @GCHQ TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY

TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY Information assurance 13. During the period under review CESG analysed a number of products that are or may be used by a wide range of government departments and officials. Examination of Microsoft’s Mobile Data Manager, a management system for mobile devices such as PDAs, has assisted with evaluation of this product for government use, while SRE of a product in use by GCHQ for electronic data records management has contributed to the development of protection against electronic attack. 14. CESG have also analysed examples of malware, the malicious software such as viruses or worms with which computers are deliberately infected in order to cause harm. Malware is unconventional by design and its effect on a system can vary greatly depending on environmental factors or the attackers’ intent. It is therefore important that we understand in great detail how a computer’s operating system is affected and SRE of monitoring tools FileMon and RegMon, for example, has afforded significant insights into how malware can bypass these logging tools. Equally, malware is often delivered by targeting vulnerabilities in applications such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat, and the role of SRE in identifying such vulnerabilities is critical to understanding and counteracting the risks posed to government departments. GCHQ assistance to law enforcement and intelligence agencies 15. GCHQ’s unit providing specialist technical support to the law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC), has used this warrant to reverse engineer Acer eDataSecurity, allowing for the decryption of material relating to a high profile police case, and CrypticDisk, allowing for the decryption of material relating to a child abuse investigation. Software reverse engineering against commercial encryption products continues to play a crucial role in developing new capability for NTAC forensics. RISK ASSESSMENT 16. The risk of any interference such as that described in paragraph 4 becoming apparent to the owner of copyright or licensing rights is negligible. 4 THIS INFORMATION IS EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO EXEMPTION UNDER OTHER UK INFORMATION LEGISLATION. REFER DISCLOSURE REQUESTS TO GCHQ ON EXT OR EMAIL @GCHQ TOP SECRET STRAP2 UK EYES ONLY

TOP SECRET STRAPZ UK EYES ONLY LEGAL ISSUES When this warrant was eriginally submitted te the then Secretary ef State, there was believed te be ne precedent fer the use ef a warrant under sectien 5 ef the Intelligence Services Act ?[994 in relatien te intellectual preperty as embedied in cepyright er licensing agreements. Hewever, the Intelligence Services Cemmissiener was censulted in 2005 en the applicability ef a warrant in these circumstances and he was centent that sectien 5 ceuld be used te remeve such liability. 13. I censider it necessary that the actiens specified in the warrant be taken te assist SSHQ in carrying eut its functiens under sectien 3 ef the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which in this instance are exercisable in the interests ef natienal security and the ecenemic well-being ef the United Kingdem. I further censider that the taking et the actien is prepertienate te what the actiens seek te achieve and that what the actiens seek te achieve ceuld net reasenably be achieved by ether means. lnferrnatien ebtained as a result ef the actiens will be subject te the arrangements in ferce under sectien 4 et the Act. 19. GSHD legal advisers have checked the text ef the attached instrument and are centent that it cenferms in all respects with the Act. I have persenally checked the attached instrument and certify that it centerrns in all respects te the details given in the submissien. [Please phene 92 {Brent} fer precedural queries} 5 THIS IS EXEMPT FRGM UNDER THE AGT Ell-Ell} AND MAT BE SUBJECT TU EXEMPTION UNDER GR LEGISLAT ER DISELDSURE REQUESTS TD GCHCI DH EIT DR EMAIL HO TOP SECRET STRAPZ UK EYES ON LY

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