How to tap fiber optic cable

From his column:

And apparently, the CIA has been tapping fiber optic cables in Baghdad, listening in on telephone conversations in efforts to track down Saddam. Most people think fiber can't be tapped, but here's how to do it (I wrote about this at least 10 years ago). Strip the plastic casing off a couple inches of the fiber bundle, being careful not to damage the glass. Bend the fiber back on itself in a very tight loop. At that place where the bend in the fiber is sharpest, the internal reflective ability of the fiber is compromised enough for a little light to leak out (called "conductive emission" in the spy biz). That's where you put your detector. This is remarkably easy to do, yet we think of fiber as being totally secure.

So says Robert X. Cringely.

Written by Andrew Ittner in misc on Sat 12 April 2003. Tags: privacy, technology