Trust no one.
More than 48 hours ago, a message was posted in an article on The Fifth Column. Readers were asked to break the cryptogram. At the time of writing, the message remains unreadable. At least one person with training from the NSA and three hackers associated with the Anonymous collective have made the attempt. It doesn’t use advanced cryptography or anything like that. It didn’t even require a computer. It was made using a multi-layer cipher. The key component of the cipher is a modified book cipher, sometimes called a Beale code.
In this installment of Tradecraft, we will be discussing how to manufacture your own cipher systems. Multiple ciphers will be discussed, and they can be combined to create your own system. You are only limited by your imagination. Some may be asking what about the NSA supercomputers? Can’t they crack it? Maybe. Later this week, a new message will be rendered and we will encourage our readers to tweet it directly to the NSA in the hopes of getting a response.
The CIA knew of Nelson Mandela’s whereabouts by sending a spy to infiltrate the inner circle of the African National Congress.
At the time of Mandela’s apprehension in 1962 he was being sought as a fugitive for his anti-apartheid activities, which inevitably led to the Black Nationalist leader spending the majority of his adult life in prison. Now there’s reason to believe the CIA played a key role in his detainment.
Ex-South African intelligence official, Gerard Ludi, alleged that in the early 60’s the CIA placed an official cover intelligence officer named Donald Rickard in Durban, South Africa under the title of U.S. Vice-Consul.
Recently, just weeks before his death on March 30, Rickard himself confirmed those reports and suspicions when he admitted to British film director John Irvin that it was indeed he whom had tipped-off the CIA as to Mandela’s whereabouts. The former spy seemingly had no regrets about his role in the arrest though, because according to him, Mandela was “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union.”
A writer for Gizmodo had a hunch: Could the FBI spy on your Amazon Echo? He filed a FOIA Request and got a disturbing answer.
Matt Novak, a writer for Gizmodo/Gawker Media wondered if the FBI could tap into the microphone for his Amazon Echo, a device sold by Amazon which lets him order goods, play music, and a host of other services with the sound of his voice which they have affectionately named “Alexa.”Novak points out that the Echo’s microphone is perpetually on and can be access with “a little hacking.”
“In many ways the Echo is a law enforcement dream,” he writes. “Years ago agencies like the FBI would need to wiretap a phone conversation or place bugs inside homes, practices that can be cost prohibitive and labor intensive. Today, you just need some software to tap into a device’s microphone.”
Project Tango will be using smartphones to create a 3D map of the whole world, capturing the interiors of buildings down to a resolution of a few inches.
Mapping the world
You know, sometimes one can’t be faulted for thinking that Google likes to dream some pretty big dreams.
But to be fair, Google Maps has accomplished many extraordinary tasks over the years, having mapped the world and put that information in our fingertips. That might sound like a feat that’s pretty difficult to top, but Google is planning something even bigger.