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322 comments

Sounds rather disappointing, really (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451464)

This is just a slashvertisement for hollowed-out coins. I would really consider them "spy coins" as the title is selling them to us. A "spy coin" should actively do some spying, really. I could just as well call my wallet a "spy wallet", as it can hold mico-SD cards too.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (5, Interesting)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451502)

I could just as well call my wallet a "spy wallet", as it can hold mico-SD cards too.

That analogy doesn't work unless you're suggesting that you wouldn't use your wallet as a wallet. In this case, the coin is not really a coin. It's a fake, intended to deceive. On the other hand, I do agree with you that it seems like a slashvertisement.

I just inserted a microSD card into my pee hole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451680)

I just inserted a microSD card into my penis' pee hole. Does that make my penis just a wallet, or is it a "spy wallet"?

Re:I just inserted a microSD card into my pee hole (2, Funny)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451756)

I'm sorry but all that makes it small.

TAG ARTICLE === SLASHVERTISEMENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452042)

Hey kdawson, nice way to jack up profits. A little conflict of interest, eh?

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (2, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451786)

No, it's a coin. A real, minted coin. Currency.

"Actual coins are precision hand milled to create a secret compartment inside" from Thinkgeek description.

It's the most expensive half-dollar you'll buy without being a collector, though. Potentially the most expensive you'll spend, depending on the contents of the micro SD card.

X-ray impervious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451516)

Is your wallet expected to be impervious to x-rays like a coin is?

Re:X-ray impervious? (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451704)

Considering how laptops have become fair game for involuntary search and seizure at US borders, I think putting your 'important stuff' on a microSD card inside a hollow coin is probably a good idea.

Hiding in plain sight (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451894)

Considering how laptops have become fair game for involuntary search and seizure at US borders, I think putting your 'important stuff' on a microSD card inside a hollow coin is probably a good idea.

My blackberry has a microSD card in it. I have passed through many different customs / airport security examinations and nobody has ever examined the contents of the card. I don't see the point of paying for an even smaller microSD card carrier, when I already have a small microSD reader that I carry with me everywhere that nobody ever raises an eye towards.

And even if my phone is off, or the battery is dead, it still does just fine at carrying the card and looking extremely ordinary. You could also substitute most Motorola phones in the same role, and any number of other phones that I haven't paid attention to that also use microSD.

Re:Hiding in plain sight (2, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452088)

sure, that sounds good and all, but it's not realistic or related to what you're replying to. a cellphone is not a laptop. While both can hold enormous amounts of data (16gb/32gb microsd - I think most blackberries can only hold 16 max if I recall correctly), apparently border searches and the likes constitute searching laptops - they make a distinction.

My android phone holds significantly more data (and can do more, functionality wise) than your blackberry - it could be "more dangerous". Yet they could care less what phone any of us have, as they rarely ever inspect it.

So the coin makes sense but mostly all of the devices point out how security is basically stupid at best.

Re:Hiding in plain sight (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452206)

Probably because you are not a beard wearing Mediteranian. Random searches and such, you know.

And a nice place place would be in your laptop itself. For small things, just put them in the battery department. And for very topsecret things, open the laptop and tape it to the motherboard. Unless they realy are looking for it AND have somebody know how the xray should look like, it will look like a motherboard with some chips on it.

Re:X-ray impervious? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452158)

But you dont need to. MicroSD cards are trivial to hide. Hide one in your shirt collar, belt leather, a simple slice to your shoe heel, etc... It's brain dead easy to hide them. I think the MicroSD card is the modem spy's best thing since sliced bread as they are dirt cheap and everywhere.

Re:X-ray impervious? (2, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451734)

I had precisely the same idea: A hollow coin is also an effective Faraday cage. Not only is it good to disguise the contents from casual (or even somewhat close) examination visually/physically, it’s also going to shield it from more intrusive forms of electronic detection.

Re:X-ray impervious? (3, Interesting)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452132)

It might disguise the contents but I tell you from experience that if you drop it on a table with other change, *something* will not sound right. I'm a magician and I have lots of coins just like this one and their "talking" is a real problem.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451532)

If I put one in a vending machine maybe I'll finally get to see how they really work. And for only $20! Such a deal!!

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451772)

That's my concern. I'll stick a microSD card in there with a bunch of important data. And then mix it up with a real coin and spend it... Then go crazy later when I need to access the card and can't find it...

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451804)

The weight would be off; a vending machine would probably reject it. However, I don’t think they’re going to be individually weighing your quarters at most checkpoints.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (3, Interesting)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451946)

It wouldn't be that difficult to get the weight right, would it? I mean most coins are a copper core with a nickle covering. So if you could create a heavier core, it would compensate for the mass of the removed area. Actually, now that I look at it, lead would be the only non-expensive metal that's heavier than copper by volume, but it's not THAT much heavier (I'm not sure if it's enough to compensate for such a large void)... Sure, they could use something more exotic like Platinum or Tungston (or even Uranium or Plutonium, but if you use them in a coin, I think you have bigger problems than detecting a hidden microSD card), but how much would that thing cost then? http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_metals.htm [simetric.co.uk]

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452120)

Yes, but if you got the weight correct, you’d have to worry about spending it accidentally...

(Actually you’re going to have to worry about that anyway, because cashiers don’t weigh the currency either. Only vending machines do that.)

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452066)

Because you can't just, you know... put the coin in a different pocket?

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452216)

I've found that I'm fairly absent-minded about which pocket I put my keys or pocketknife in. 95% of the time (or maybe 99%), they go in the Correct Pocket, but sometimes I find that I've swapped m car and house keys, or put both in the same pocket. I don't know why I do it. If I had a hollow coin, I'd mis-pocket it even more easily. A better solution, I think, would be to make sure it was a denomination you don't normally carry. A nickel, perhaps ... or a Canadian nickel (which are uncommon but not unheard of to see even in the southwest US). Something that you will know not to make change with.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451596)

Yeah, particularly because I'd spend $20 buying a fake quarter or nickel.

Now, if they come with a thin nylon strap and I can fool vending machines... nah, still too expensive.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (2, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451638)

Yeah, and that makes my phone a spy-phone too! Cool!

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451808)

Does this mean that there's a new punchline for the old howler "When is a door not a door?"

(When it's ajar, for the uninitiated.)

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451748)

Damn shame considering that there are waaay cooler things than hollow coins on ThinkGeek. I think that KD also meant to provoke discussion about using them for corporate theft or espionage, but don't many confidential environments disable USB ports and card readers anyway? I assume that for an environment which required "spying" that employees would be expected to leave all of their USB toys, cell phones, and everything else in their lockers and any suspicious behavior would be reported.

It's simply a glorified Stash Box [auctiva.com] .

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451760)

AWESOME.
That means if i put a MicroSD in my pocket, I'M THE SPY.

I'll be right back, going to hook up with some random chick who is the daughter / friend / slave worker / slave of some evil drug lord / terrorist / nazi / russian / legitimate business man.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (2, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451882)

No, it just means you have a spy pocket you could sell to sucker for 20 bucks.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452010)

This is just a slashvertisement for hollowed-out coins. I would really consider them "spy coins" as the title is selling them to us. A "spy coin" should actively do some spying, really. I could just as well call my wallet a "spy wallet", as it can hold mico-SD cards too.

I suggest we call them "anti-ACTA coins".

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (2, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452096)

You could put a tiny robot inside that comes out at night, takes pictures and climbs back into the coin before dawn.

It's contact hides in a gumball machine. Codename Bubbles.

Re:Sounds rather disappointing, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452108)

I could just as well call my wallet a "spy wallet", as it can hold mico-SD cards too

Wow, like dude, youve got a spy wallet. That's so kewl.

Great.... (2, Funny)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451476)

Now I have to start running everyone who enters and leaves through a giant EM field?

Sigh... the shareholders aren't going to like the cost of those generators and the shielding...

More than that, how do I sufficiently shield the porn they bring in with them? If that gets damaged there'll be hell to pay.

Re:Great.... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451746)

Good luck with that. The coin is also a Faraday cage.

Re:Great.... (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451884)

I think a actual Faraday cage would need to be grounded. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Great.... (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452038)

Voltage is relative. A hollow coin will prevent anything inside it from being able to perceive any voltage potential difference. It doesn't matter if you plug the thing into a 120kV line as referenced to ground, the microSD card still won't feel a thing. So no, it doesn't need to be grounded.

Re:Great.... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452076)

Also, by the time the metal in a coin gets thin enough on the outer walls to allow a sd card inside would there be enough metal left in those areas to counteract such an EM field?

I meant the GGP as a joke of course but now I'm curious ^_^.

Re:Great.... (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452128)

Grounding will eliminate Electro-Magnetic Radiation being emitted from within the cage... But being grounded does not affect the ability of the cage to block out external sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage [wikipedia.org] So it would block someone from trying to "peer into" the cage, but not block something in the cage from transmitting... So a passive RFID chip placed in the coin would not function at all (since it requires the reception of a "power" signal to operate the transmitter), but a device that has an internal power source would be able to transmit out (one way only)...

Re:Great.... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452154)

An actual Faraday cage only needs to be grounded because if it somehow goes hot, you want it to ground through the one you installed, not you when you touch it.

X-ray? (3, Interesting)

Gorkamecha (948294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451480)

Wouldn't this look bizarre under an x-ray, given change is usually zapped by itself in a little bowl? I'm not sure I risk a full cavity search trying to fly internationally with one of these...

Re:X-ray? (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451656)

Not sure. All x-rays I've seen just show metal as a bright spot, not much relief. And either way, all you have to do is keep the coin in your pocket. I never take my belt, rings or glasses off and have yet to be beeped by the metal detector and I've been flying twice a week lately. A little bit of metal is allowed. Just keep the coin in your pocket and take all other metal off and you'll almost certainly raise no suspicions or alarms.

Re:X-ray? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452124)

Even if it does look weird under an X-ray (which I doubt), the coin in question is more likely shielded by other coins in the purse. Besides, airport securities tend to look at a e.g. jacket as a whole, for knifes, guns and such -- bigger objects; who will ever look for a weird coin in a purse in a jacket?

Slashvertisement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451508)

hey kdawson, if you're going to try to slip in an ad for your sister company in a "news story", at least mark it up as an advertisement.

This is just wrong. kdawson should be fired for such a breach of ethics.

Re:Slashvertisement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452006)

don't worry, he will refund every penny that you paid to read slashdot articles about spy coins.

are they even legal? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451538)

if they look like real money, is it even legal?
or do the hollow coins come from the mint?

Re:are they even legal? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451718)

Since these are machined out of gen-u-ine legal tender, the charge you would be worried about is defacement of currency, rather than counterfeiting.

That said, I've never heard of anybody going after currency defacement operations(even the overt ones. Those "souveneir penny" machines that crush a graphic associated with whatever attraction the machine is located in have been around for decades, and the Secret Service has shown no signs of caring) unless they involve wholesale export of coins for their melt value(I think there was some issue involving the old pure copper pennies during one of the spikes in copper prices fairly recently).

If you somehow got caught, and your hollow nickel contained a microSD card with a copy of secret_leaked_CIA_documents_that_the_illuminati_don't_want_you_to_have.doc, they'd probably throw a defacement of currency charge at you, just for completeness' sake; but, while almost definitely illegal, they aren't exactly a huge legal risk.

Re:are they even legal? (2, Informative)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451880)

The "defacement of currency" charge that people toss around doesn't really apply to tearing up a dollar bill, or crushing a penny. The defacement charge is there as a hedge against people drawing a zero on the end of a five dollar bill and trying to pass it off as a fifty.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452094)

18 U.S.C. 331 says:

"Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened - Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." Now, I'm pretty sure that all the freaking out about "lightening" and "scaling" and whatnot is a holdover from an era when coins were made of metals worth stealing; but I don't see any "but your Honor, .8 grams of nickel shavings are essentially worthless, and the seller knew exactly what he was getting!" defence.

Again, because mutilation of coins is economically viable only as a small scale novelty activity or, on comparatively rare occasions, as a large scale commodities arbitrage thing, I have never heard of anybody caring; but it looks(in my admittedly layman's reading) like they could nail you if they wanted to.

Re:are they even legal? (3, Informative)

kuactet (1017816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452180)

The key word there is 'fraudulently'. That means, to be illegal, you have to try to use the altered coin as real currency.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452208)

Actually, that only criminalizes fraudulent alterations. E.g. milling the edges of silver coins, bleaching money and re-printing higher denominations.

Pressed pennies and hollow coins aren’t intended to be used fraudulently, so I’m pretty sure that statute doesn’t apply.

Re:are they even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451954)

If you somehow got caught, and your hollow nickel contained a microSD card with a copy of secret_leaked_CIA_documents_that_the_illuminati_don't_want_you_to_have.doc, they'd probably throw a defacement of currency charge at you, just for completeness' sake; but, while almost definitely illegal, they aren't exactly a huge legal risk.

Hmm, I am sorry, but knowledge of that filename is classified. Black choppers will descend on your house in 4.. 3...

Re:are they even legal? (3, Informative)

kbonapart (645754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452022)

I thought the illegal action was the "deBASEment" of the currency, not defacement. When coins were made out of precious metals, they could be shaved for bits and slivers of that silver or gold. Since the coins weighed less, but still represented the amount of money it was promised to by the government, the currency was debased. And that was a major crime. It defacement of the currency is illegal, then we would've locked up all those wheresgeorge.com people, who keep stamping one dollar bills.

Re:are they even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452048)

You do know that they don't actually crush a penny? It goes into a different mechanism and is stored while they pop out a "smashed" penny from a different dispenser.

Re:are they even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452146)

It's probably just that they haven't been noticed yet. It took the U.S. Mint a while to notice silver surfer quarters [msn.com] . I don't know if Thinkgeek will be considered a more serious offender because they're selling the quarters rather than giving them away.

Plausible deniability? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452178)

What's with plausible deniability in that case? Like: "I got that as a change from the cafeteria (or other place), no idea whose it is." If a data on the stick is encrypted with TrueCrypt, does that give you a Double Plausible Deniability bonus?

Re:are they even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451720)

in the UK at least it's illegal to deface a coin, or anything carrying the queens image (flame away anti-monarchs) in such a manner, so their either guilty of fraud or vandalism.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451932)

I remember when I was in England back in the early 90's someone showed me that if you folded the £5 note just right it looked like the queen was performing fellatio.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451736)

even if they did come from the mint, doing that to the coin would be considered defacing federal property and is considered a federal offense. Though there may be special situations where such a thing is allowed, IANAL and I don't want to speculate what those situations might be.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451822)

Well, as far as I understand it, defacing money is only an offense if it is done _fraudulently_. Meaning, or at least including, bleaching of lesser denomination bills and reprinting them as larger denominations (make a $1 bill a $100).

Defacing money isn't illegal wholesale as you can walk into nearly any tourist attraction and see those penny squishing machines that make souveniers.

Re:are they even legal? (2, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451758)

Well.. interesting question..

They _are_ made from real coins and they don't purport to be worth anything more than the tender they were milled from.

Now, what happens if you try to pass one off at a store? Well, my guess is you would just be an idiot. At $20+ for a hollow quarter, you're better off just giving them a real quarter. Yes, the store would be out 25 cents, but I'm not sure that would be "counterfeiting" as, again, it was real money and again isn't purporting to be worth more than face value (ie, not a bleached $1 bill being reprinted as a $100).

Really, if you try to pass one of these off, you're _out_ money and it's a mistake you'll be pissed you made.

And no, hollow coins aren't "minted" that way. As far as I can tell, to make a hollow quarter, you take _two_ regular quarters of similar quality and you cut off the back of one and hollow out the center of another then mate the two.

Counterfeit? Maybe on a technicality, but I don't see the Secret Service knocking on your door over it.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452104)

Counterfeit?

No.

Maybe on a technicality

Not even close. It's a real coin. If you hollowed it out entirely, just leaving the outside nickel plate, It would still be worth its face value.

As far as I can tell, to make a hollow quarter, you take _two_ regular quarters of similar quality and you cut off the back of one and hollow out the center of another then mate the two.

You can get a carbide end mill of sufficient size to mill out the center, no problem, without resorting to using two coins. You can also abrasively grind a slot in the coin to do the same thing. As a matter of fact, since it's not steel you're working, a diamond coated end mill or a diamond wheel would make short work of clearing out the slot.

--
BMO

Re:are they even legal? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451762)

if they look like real money, is it even legal?

Can't speak for these in particular, but usually hollow coins start life as real coins.

The cheap ones, they just cut in half, gouge out a little pocket, and add a concealed hinge/pivot. The nicer ones actually unscrew and look almost like a very tiny pill bottle.

And I suppose, for the same reason those penny-squishing trinket-makers don't break the law, neither do these.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451768)

or do the hollow coins come from the mint?

Yes... they’re real; just hollowed out.

I’m still not sure about the legality though; intentionally destroying US currency is illegal, I think.

Re:are they even legal? (1)

Issildur03 (1173487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451770)

They are actually made from real coins, so the real problem would be "defacing currency":

"Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than FIVE YEARS, or both."
relevant law [cornell.edu]

Re:are they even legal? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451892)

Which basically means that you're OK, so long as you don't try and fraudulently pay for something with it as though it were a real unaltered coin...

Coins? (-1, Troll)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451558)

wtf is a "coin" ??

Re:Coins? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451644)

I call bullshit. There's no way you're from a culture that doesn't use any kind of coins at all. They're a little more rare, but they still outnumber electronics in the vending arena. Or does your world not have Coke machines, either? Maybe your bills print in $1.25 increments? Or maybe the machine keeps the change? Do you live and work in a crappy hotel?

Re:Coins? (1)

hanabal (717731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452018)

where I lived the only reason I needed cash was to pay my tab at the office canteen. so once every two weeks I would go to the mall on the way to work, withdraw $20 and pay off the tab. Other than that I never needed cash. It was a huge huge shock when I arrived in the UK. The number of times I was caught needing actual solid cash was shocking and frustrating. I was so used to not ever needing it.

Re:Coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451694)

A coin is a small, flat, typically round piece of metal that serves as a token of monetary value. As such they can be exchanged for goods or services.
Originally coins were made of metal that had value in it self, corresponding to the value of the coin. Which is to say, the coin was not a token of value, but an actual valuable object. Today however, the actual value of the coin in terms of material and manufacturing is typically a lot less than the value the coin represents.

Re:Coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451922)

Today however, the actual value of the coin in terms of material and manufacturing is typically a lot less than the value the coin represents.

Or more!
At the end of the (Dutch) guilder era, 1 ct coins cost more that 1 ct to manufacture. Reason to cancel the 1ct coins.
(payable amounts.
Now we have the euro, again manufacturing (and handling) €0,01 and € 0.02 is considered too expensive.
All payable amounts are rounded to the nearest 0.05

Just wait a while ... (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451572)

... with the federal deficit exploding, the fed is doing a fine job of hollowing out ALL you money, not just the change in your pocket.

Spyfolder (5, Funny)

DeanLearner (1639959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451664)

Give me 20 quid and I will install a SPY FOLDER on your computer, whether it's Windows, Mac or Linux.

You too can store things INSIDE your very own SPY FOLDER. Features include

Store things inside.
Keep things separate from other things that are not inside your SPY FOLDER.
All this and more!

Again, all yours for just 20 quid. Call 555-HAPPYDUDE now.

Watch out! or else.. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451666)

the Defense Department might think these coins are for espionage, just like the foreign Canadian quarters from 2007:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003697628_spycoins08.html

Nothing new (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451670)

I was a amateur magician when I was ten or twelve, and I'll be 58 next month. You could get those coins at any magic shop way back then, or through the mail from catalogs; I owned a couple of them. Also, any machinist can and could make them easily.

Re:Nothing new (1)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451938)

Yes, I agree. These coins have been available in Magic shops for years and years. And the magic ones are usually higher quality and more difficult to detect, because they are designed to be handed to an audience member and examined in detail.

Re:Nothing new (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451948)

It must have been really hard grinding those coins out with a hand drill...

I'm sorry, I'll get off your lawn.

Monty Python Slippers (1, Informative)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451692)

ThinkGeek is pretty neat. I've bought a lot of stuff from them (not much lately though).

I keep The Rabbit of Caerbannog plush toy in my magician's hat.

What's the point (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451724)

You can walk right through security (airport, border, corporate) with a microSD card in your pocket and nobody blinks an eye. Trying to "smuggle" a MicroSD card through is more likely to result in you getting caught and treated badly (even if it isn't even illegal). If the data on the MicroSD card is what you're trying to hide, a better spy device would be a trick card... say, which was internally partitioned into two cards with some very obscure way (SW or HW) of switching between them. Put innocuous data on one side, stick it in your camera, phone, music player, whatever. Even if the goons search the card, that's all they find. Short the right contacts or send the right command, and get access to the "evil" data.

TrueCrypt file named DSC43423.jpg (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451972)

I think you'd be better off with a TrueCrypt file named DSC13423.jpg stored on an SDHC card loaded inside a point and shoot camera. Better if it is surrounded by other images with sequential numbers that make sense too.

Re:What's the point (4, Insightful)

choongiri (840652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452034)

Does anyone really "smuggle" data on physical media any more? You could just gpg encrypt your copy of leaked_top_secret_data.doc using a strong key, put it on a server of your choosing, and retrieve it when you get to where you are going. Just possibly, if you were trying to get data *out* of a very locked down (no electronic devices or memory cards allowed) environment, hiding a memory card might be a necessary part of your plan, but borders and airports? It's just unnecessary. Even in the locked-down corporate / government scenario, if all you can smuggle in/out is the micro-SD card, do you really think they are going to have a card-reader plugged in ready for you to use?

No biggie (2, Interesting)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451738)

If you've got to hide the micro SD card in a coin, you've also got the problem of where to hide the card reader.

Re:No biggie (0)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452044)

In any country with the hardware to hook a card reader to you can probably buy the card reader locally.

No problem (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451818)

I'm still torn: Is this a cheap shot at advertising or is Bruce really so deep in the doo that he has to peddle crap now?

People, microSD cards are what their name suggests: Insanely TINY. They also don't really check on metal scanners that scan your body unless they're set to a level where the hemoglobin in your blood might set them off. Remember that tooth gap where your wisdom tooth used to be? Perfect place to put it while you go through whatever scanners your company might have in place.

So please...

When you see a guy trying to open a coin... (2, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451854)

Picture this: a guy is busy with the little opening ring on a handful of change and NONE of them open. Say bye-bye to your data on that sd card. :D

FBI Hollow-Nickel Story (5, Interesting)

kenh (9056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451874)

Hollow Nickel, Hidden Agent

What’s a nickel worth?

No, it’s not a riddle. It’s a case straight from the pages of FBI history.

It all started in June 1953, when a Brooklyn newspaper boy picked up a nickel he’d just dropped. Almost like magic, the coin split in half. And inside was a tiny photograph, showing a series of numbers too small to read.

Even if the boy kept up with the front page news on the papers he delivered, he probably never would have guessed that this extraordinary coin was the product of one of the most vital national security issues of the day: the growing Cold War between the world’s two nuclear powers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The coin ultimately made its way to the FBI, which opened a counterintelligence case, knowing the coin suggested there was an active spy in New York City. But who?

New York agents quickly began working to trace the hollow nickel. They talked to the ladies who passed the nickel on to the delivery boy, with no success. They talked to local novelty store owners, but none had seen anything like it. A lot of shoe leather was ruined, but no hot leads emerged.

Meanwhile, the coin itself underwent expert examination. FBI Lab scientists in Washington pored over it. They immediately realized the photograph contained a coded message, but they couldn’t crack it. The coin did yield clues, however. The type-print, Lab experts concluded, must have come from a foreign typewriter. Metallurgy showed that the back half was from a coin minted during World War II. Ultimately, the coin was filed away, but not forgotten.

The key break came four years later, when a Russian spy named Reino Hayhanen defected to the United States. Hayhanen—really the American born Eugene Maki—shared all kinds of secrets on Soviet spies. He led FBI agents to one out-of-the-way hiding place, called a “dead drop,” where FBI agents found a hollowed-out bolt with a typewritten message inside. When asked about it, Hayhanen said the Soviets had given him all kinds of hollowed-out objects: pens, screws, batteries, even coins. He turned over one such coin, which instantly reminded agents of the Brooklyn nickel. The link was made.

From there, Hayhanen put investigators on the trail of his case officer, a Soviet spy named “Mark” who was operating without diplomatic cover and under several false identities.

After painstaking detective work, agents figured out that “Mark” was really William Fisher, aka Rudolf Abel, who was arrested on June 21, 1957. Though Abel refused to talk, his hotel room and office revealed an important prize: a treasure trove of modern espionage equipment.

Abel was eventually convicted of espionage and sentenced to a long jail term. In 1962, he was exchanged for American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, who had been shot down over the U.S.S.R. and held prisoner there.

In the end, a nickel was worth a great deal: the capture of a Soviet spy and the protection of a nation.

Link: http://www.fbi.gov/fbihistorybook.htm [fbi.gov]

Loss prevention nightmare (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31451960)

For those who work in an electronics store (or it's distribution centers), this will be a loss prevention nightmare for your tiny chips (like MicroSD).

"Oh, just a wad of change? No problem sir! Go on ahead..."

On the other hand, if I accidentally put it through the Coke machine on the way out of Fry's, I think I'd have what's coming to me. ;-)

These seem like neat toys... (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31452008)

I, for one, would probably waste far too much of my limited lifespan just opening and closing the hollow coin, sounds cooler than your average desk toy.

They seem virtually irrelevant as either a security threat or a tool of asymmetric covert operation, though. MicroSD cards are already small and durable(resistant to liquids, magnetic fields, a number of common solvents, surprising amounts of mechanical strain, etc.). Perhaps more importantly, they are already dirt-cheap and extremely common consumer electronics. Unlike, say, little bits of microfilm, which might not like being stored under your tongue or embedded in the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe, and which are instantly suspicious on discovery(since virtually nobody used tiny pieces of microfilm in the course of ordinary activity. Libraries always used long spools or large cards of the stuff, and hardly anybody else used any at all), a microSD card, even a plainly visible one, arouses no particular suspicion. Virtually every mid-market cellphone comes with one, lots of PMPs use them for storage expansion, you can even get them at pharmacies.

Even in fascist Orwellistan, or some high-security facility, where it would be legal and accepted to inspect people for them, it would be an immensely tedious chore, because they are so common.

If you are running some sort of high-security operation, your computers would(unless you are a terminal incompetent) be configured without any means of transferring data to unapproved storage media(configuring the OS to, say, only load drivers for USB_HID devices with vendor ID matching whoever your vendor is, and load no driver and send an alert with the machine name, logged on user, and lsusb output to IT security is not commonly done; but it is hardly rocket surgery.) Trying to stop secrets from leaving by physically intercepting tiny chunks of flash memory at the door is just stupid.

Is that legal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452030)

Well, apparently.

This may be walking a fine but legal line, since the coins are both real (not counterfeit) and still usable as currency (not defaced). But it's probably up for stimulated debate.

not working with android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31452072)

Their popup javascript window does not work with android's webkit. It will not allow you to select a radio button.

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