Numbers stns: old is new again

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ff-medic

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ff-medic

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Encountering these shortwave radio messages, many radio hams concluded that they were being used to send coded messages across extremely long distances.
It is hard to tell from the bogus radio messages and the real ones. The "Numbers" that are just thrown together in an instant radio transmission to confuse a government, and or - tie up valuable resources.

It was "one-way traffic" - the transmitters broadcast numbers to the recipient. The recipient did not reply.
There is a way to reply - through and "Anonymous Handler". The radio transmission is sent, and if so needed - a coded authentication is transmitted to the agent.....BEFORE the message. Agent & handler is a purpose. Handler is a non-trained middle man, if they are caught there is no loss - and the Handler knows nothing...or less than nothing as his replys from the agent to the host government are coded. If the agent is caught you compromise the mission and the government.

"It is a way of communicating securely between the Secret Intelligent Service and agents, and it is incomprehensible," says Philip Davies, a politics and history professor at the Brunel University in London.
It is not "secure" per say. The radio transmissions occurs at "thousands" of watts - from a foreign country. It is not hard to figure out, with the proper radio direction finding equipment, where the transmission is coming from - SUCH as using submarines - aircraft - satellites and "other methods".

Some codes have been "cracked" before. That is why the NSA and the CIA have all those mathmaticians.

..... they might have received their orders via shortwave numbers stations.
As well as by newspaper ( ads...ect ) - covert markings in public areas ( specifically / meticulously scratched telephone poles, trees, trash barrels positioned a certain way) and by other means. Covert radio is not the only way.

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poltergeisty

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What goes around comes around. The BBC reports:

BBC News - The spooky world of the 'numbers stations'
Straight from a WWII numbers station its self. :lol:

"The danger with a computer is that if you get caught, the data on it is still retrievable.
You can encrypt your computer now a days. I do! And since data is being sent now on numbers stations I bet spies have laptops that are encrypted.

I read the book Inside Delta Force and towards the end of the book Eric Haney describes using dead drops and chalk to mark things. In fact, I believe I read there is some park in DC that has so many chalk markings that it's common place. In fact, this park is a popular homosexual hang out meet and greet.

James Bond listens to her majesties secret service from here. :lol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincolnshire_Poacher_(numbers_station)

If you want to learn about one time pads and play with virtual Enigma machines go here. Great site! http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/

I have a friend that was in the CIA in HUMINT and he told me he used one time pads, but we (The U.S) used nursery rhymes.
 
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ff-medic

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You can encrypt your computer now a days. I do! And since data is being sent now on numbers stations I bet spies have laptops that are encrypted.
There are programs that totally erase , and "clean" your hard drive. Some are government programs. Me, I would just burn the computer / laptop.

For computer encryption....it had better be good and solid encryption.

With encryption you have to have the "Keys" to encode and decode with laptops. If the "Keys" are obtained, your in trouble.

YOU still have to send and receive messages over a "Wireless network". If you are a spy and that "network" picks up suspicious activity, or your activity "Pings" the system or "Sets off bells".....then you may just grab the attention of the FBI and or the Secret Service.

I believe there are ways to capture "computer messages" encrypted or not......right from the screen as they are being typed, even from lap tops - connected to a "network" or not connected to a network. ( I will not discuss the "ways" info can be captured from a computer screen )

Most everybody believes they are a spy.


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Token

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It is not "secure" per say. The radio transmissions occurs at "thousands" of watts - from a foreign country. It is not hard to figure out, with the proper radio direction finding equipment, where the transmission is coming from - SUCH as using submarines - aircraft - satellites and "other methods".

Some codes have been "cracked" before. That is why the NSA and the CIA have all those mathmaticians.
When done at HF, as most numbers stations are, the message is absolutely secure. Sure, you can tell where the source is, but that is all that you can tell of a “one way secure voice link” (numbers station). Using propagation mapping and knowing time, frequency, and knowing or assessing power levels and antenna patterns, you can make predictions of the possible area of the intended recipient, but that is not realistically going to help much. You can tell the message was sent, but not whom the message was for, usefully where they are located, or what the message contains.

This is why, in the past, it was very common for numbers stations to actually be sent from national short wave broadcast facilities (and is still done so by the Cubans and Taiwanese). No one cares if you know where the message comes from, that in no way endangers the assets in the field or tells you the nature of the message contents.

While it is true many different types of codes have been cracked, when properly used a one time pad is uncrackable. Unless, of course, you get hold of the one time pad itself.

Not sure why that (and other) articles take the tone that numbers stations ever went away, or are even less active than in the past. Numbers stations still are heard many, many times a day. While some of the most famous are gone, new ones have taken their place, generally from other nations. In Europe, where the historically most active listeners are/where, the number of stations is reduced, but in Asia there are more than ever. And some of the stations have shifted to digital formats, so are less followed or less recognized. Numbers stations pre-date the Cold War, and they continue as a viable secure link today.

T!
 

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Any code can be cracked, it just takes a little slip or too many transmissions of the same message with different codes and time, time and more time to decode. Nowadays the time element may be months before the message is cracked and the sender hopes that by then the information is useless.
 

SCPD

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Not sure why that (and other) articles take the tone that numbers stations ever went away, or are even less active than in the past.
Pretty obvious. It's creating news. If they never went away and have always been around then the reader is left wondering why they are not talked about all the time...

Just another way to wet the appetite of the reader... by making it sound unique and mysterious.

I love reading articles regarding any "radio" group in the mainstream press. The writers make it sound like radio is some lost science that was only recently re-invented thanks to the internet. :lol:
 

ff-medic

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Any code can be cracked,

I disagree. And from working with people whom did that sort of thing, I would have to say that statement is incorrect.

Codes change. Sequence and character length changes. One letter in code can at times - if done correctly, mean two letters actually, and the same with numbers.



......it just takes a little slip or too many transmissions of the same message with different codes and time, time and more time to decode.
IF it is done incorrectly. A correct ** COVERT ** message is a one time broadcast and that is it. In a lot of situations, and not situations with a host government or stationary broadcasts - a message is sent and then after broadcasting, you move / change locations. Covert agents DO NOT stay at the same location for any length of time.

Current broadcast stations like the Mossad, MI6, and others their signals are relatively known, which is no big deal. The locations they are broadcasting to and the persons they are broadcasting to are not known, and take in to account - GHOST broadcast ( broadcast with no meaning or destination, it is a broadcast to make others believe and actual broadcast is being sent to tie up resources or decipher a code that is fake ).


Nowadays the time element may be months before the message is cracked and the sender hopes that by then the information is useless.
If it is "cracked" then in most situations....it is to late. But messages are kept for future reference in an attempt to establish a pattern, and if lucky.....locations or areas the agents may be.


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ff-medic

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........and he in no way beats James Bond. :lol:

Oh Puh-Leeze? :)



Quotes : Pamela Landy = "If you want to go home, find Jason Bourne"

" This is Jason Bourne, the toughest target that you have ever tracked.

" Listen, people - do you have any idea who you're dealing with? This is Jason Bourne. You
are nine hours behind the toughest target you have ever tracked. Now I want everyone to sit
down, strap in, and turn on all you've got. That would mean now."


Beverages ;) - Steak and snack food, in front of the television and a Jason Bourne Movie. Ahhhhh.


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w2xq

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If code breaking is your thing, I strongly recommend a classic: David Kahn's 'The Codebreakers' first released in 1967. I read it when it first came out, reread it again over the years. A well-written classic, never found anything that surpassed Kahn's research.
 

ff-medic

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If code breaking is your thing, I strongly recommend a classic: David Kahn's 'The Codebreakers' first released in 1967.
I read a book from "The Military Book Store". I am thinking the name of the book was "Spys among us". It was an interesting view of computers and surveillance.

FF - Medic !!!
 
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