TEMPEST

This word was brought to my attention:

TEMPEST is a codename referring to investigations and studies of compromising emanations[1] (CE). Compromising emanations are defined as unintentional intelligence-bearing signals which, if intercepted and analyzed, may disclose the information transmitted, received, handled, or otherwise processed by any information-processing equipment.

Compromising emanations consist of electrical, mechanical, or acoustical energy intentionally or by mishap unintentionally emitted by any number of sources within equipment/systems which process national security information. This energy may relate to the original encrypted message, or information being processed, in such a way that it can lead to recovery of the plaintext. Laboratory and field tests have established that such CE can be propagated through space and along nearby conductors. The interception/propagation ranges and analysis of such emanations are affected by a variety of factors, e.g., the functional design of the information processing equipment; system/equipment installation; and, environmental conditions related to physical security and ambient noise. The term “compromising emanations” rather than “radiation” is used because the compromising signals can, and do, exist in several forms such as magnetic- and/or electric-field radiation, line conduction, or acoustic emissions.[2]

The term TEMPEST is often used broadly for the entire field of Emission Security or Emanations Security (EMSEC). The term TEMPEST was coined in the late ’60s and early ’70s as a codename for the NSA operation to secure electronic communications equipment from potential eavesdroppers[3] and vice versa the ability to intercept and interpret those signals from other sources.

The U.S. government has stated that the term TEMPEST is not an acronym and does not have any particular meaning,[4][5] however various backronyms have been suggested, laconically, including “Transmitted Electro-Magnetic Pulse / Energy Standards & Testing”; “Telecommunications ElectroMagnetic Protection, Equipment, Standards & Techniques”; “Transient ElectroMagnetic Pulse Emanation STandard”;[6] and “Telecommunications Electronics Material Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions”;[7] or, jokingly (but just as factually as the other attempts), “Tiny ElectroMagnetic Particles Emitting Secret Things” and “Tremendously Endowed Men Performing Exciting Sexual Techniques”[8].

Read more on Wikipedia

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