Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Numbers Stations Move From Shortwave To VoIP

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the something-to-puzzle-over dept.

228

IO ERROR writes "For decades, intelligence agencies have been sending secret messages to their agents in the field using shortwave numbers stations broadcasting encrypted messages for all to hear and puzzle over. Now someone is putting numbers stations on VoIP telephone numbers for anyone to call, and posting messages to Craigslist to alert the recipients to the existence of their messages. One of them went up last month and now a second one has appeared. Will there be a third? Who's behind them? And can you crack the code?"

cancel ×

228 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (5, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450541)

I'm sure a lot of us have noticed the stange messages like this:

OUTGOING
(Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on 21:04 1st August, 2005 (#13217474)
HELLO WORLD
38836 38836
HELLO WORLD
98481 98481 14101 14101 27700 27700 35003 35003 78743 78743
55984 55984 36482 36482 48376 48376 17577 17577 25568 25568
41432 41432 33120 33120 71600 71600 37482 37482 72016 72016
18165 18165 97172 97172 06235 06235 09179 09179 66815 66815
39131 39131 02234 02234 37138 37138 05015 05015 18609 18609
15481 15481 26568 26568 76909 76909 14869 14869 84844 84844
98467 98467 15173 15173 91438 91438 01957 01957 83393 83393
55263 55263 02335 02335 39565 39565 33152 33152 48263 48263
85656 85656 69752 69752 84232 84232 87361 87361 24560 24560
98390 98390 28772 28772 59461 59461 31312 31312 14942 14942
68574 68574 70946 70946 49109 49109 19694 19694 45323 45323
65157 65157 98866 98866 64012 64012 72983 72983
K-BYE

They have been an oddity until now, but hearing about these numbers stations makes me think our very own slashdot is being used as a covert channel.

Certainly piqued my curiosity more than once, it would be good to get to the bottom of it.

Couple of examples here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] , I've seen a few more, but they get lost quickly due to moderation.
The second one I posted has a bit of info about its origins here and links to a user and an apparent initial source of the messages.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (5, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450604)

My guess as to what the messages say?

Dearest Love,

Meet me behind the abandoned warehouse. Don't wear underwear.
Just a hunch.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450717)

Surely you mean, "Just a haunch."

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450807)

And there was me thinking you were just round-shouldered.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450857)

On Slashdot?

I seriously doubt it.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450656)

If you turn your monitor upside down, it spells out "BOOBS"

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450682)

Info @ Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_trolling_phe nomena#HELLO_WORLD [wikipedia.org]

The person who originally added that to Wikipedia also added info to the "Islamic extremist terrorism" entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special: Contributions&target=85.226.168.107 [wikipedia.org]

or it's just a creative troll... (3, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450759)

They have been an oddity until now, but hearing about these numbers stations makes me think our very own slashdot is being used as a covert channel.

Or it's just a creative troll, hoping someone will spend hours or days trying to figure out meaning behind what's really just the numeric output of /dev/random or something.

I've honestly always though "number stations" were pretty much the same thing...someone having their jollies. Has anyone actually tried to get a fix on them? I thought HAMs loved doing "hunts"...why don't they do a "hunt" on some number stations some time?

Re:or it's just a creative troll... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450780)

Someone tracked down the Lincolnshire Poacher: http://home.luna.nl/~ary/lp.htm [home.luna.nl]

I also thought someone used radio direction finding to follow one of the CIA stations to, well, the CIA.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450778)

I don't think it counts as a covert channel if you're doing it in clear text on a site like slashdot.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (2, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450821)

Its not clear text if you put up an ascii-formatted encoded message.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451099)

Look up "covert channel" [wikipedia.org] , there's a good boy.

That message is EASY to decode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450779)

It says:

In former Soviet Russia, frisT posT PROFITS from YOU!

Got any more?

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (2, Interesting)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451195)


HELLO WORLD
98481 98481 14101 14101 27700 27700 35003 35003 78743 78743
55984 55984 36482 36482 48376 48376 17577 17577 25568 25568


There's something fishy about these messages.
Have you noticed that every group is sent twice? That would make a lot of sense if you were transmitting over the radio, because a group might arrive garbled. Posting each group twice on slashdot, however, makes no sense. The message will arrive correctly every time.

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (2, Funny)

qray (805206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451204)

Looks like one of those number sequences Compute magazine would publish for Commodore 64 programs and such. I remember typing in all those data statements and then having to double check all the numbers when something didn't work. Maybe those programs in Compute weren't really programs at all but contained secret communications that just happen to double as programs.

--
Q

This is fun! (2, Interesting)

pyite (140350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451232)

Could this Be Cracked?
94 157 104 124 13 151 120 1 253 205 127 56 199 201 76 133
185 181 249 47 148 107 23 57 75 118 242 196 29 8 244 141
31 84 4 166 11 111 7 219 140 217 209 153 76 136 104 16
105 92 134 252 57 22 21 189 108 136 203 159 225 87 61 166
196 140 13 38 192 153 41 195 163 18 32 253 207 115 156 114
Very easily ;-)

Re:Numbers Station here on slashdot - OUTGOING! (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451440)

It's either an ARG, or we're all in Lost.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

I deciphered it! (4, Funny)

ScaryMonkey (886119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450555)

Always... drink... your... Ovaltine?

Re:I deciphered it! (1)

Quantum Fizz (860218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450699)

You incorrectly deciphered the first word, it's really "Be sure to" instead of "Always". The message made absolutely no sense the way you deciphered it ;-)

And yes, I can't believe I actually have neurons somewhere that retain this useless information.

Re:I deciphered it! (1)

qray (805206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451192)

I'm glad you corrected him, I was just about to before I saw your reply. I can remember that, but I still leave for work without my lunch ;-)
--
Q

Re:I deciphered it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451349)

The little orphan annie decoder pen needs to be set to B2...

Re:I deciphered it!, Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450873)

I used my super secret , very expensive DNA computer prototype.

It says:

gatactcca gtcaac ctga ggtca attccga tcga
actgaa ctga ggtca attccga gatactcca gtcaac
tcga actgaa ctga ggtca attccga!!!! gtcaa atcg

tcga actgaa ctga ggtca attccga actgaa ctga
ggtca attccga tcga actgaa ctga tttacgctag
actgaa ctga ggtca attccga gatactcca gtcaac

I just checked and (-1, Flamebait)

timecop (16217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450562)

If you add all the non-zero numbers inverting the bits mod 0x80 not including the last (which is a check digit), the message reads:

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA [www.gnaa.us]

Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (4, Insightful)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450565)

I know it's the first thing that comes to mind but I'm sure They can monitor who calls ("tunes into") that phone number regularily. Broadcasts are anonymous and many people own shortwave radios, VOIP can be traced to a subscriber so what gives?

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (4, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450668)

I know it's the first thing that comes to mind but I'm sure They can monitor who calls ("tunes into") that phone number regularily. Broadcasts are anonymous and many people own shortwave radios, VOIP can be traced to a subscriber so what gives?

You are thinging traditional VOIP subscriber. Buy an adaptor at ______ with cash. Activate it with a stolen card and ID. Hook it directly to a wireless access point in client mode. Wardrive near hotels. Park nearby for a couple days.

It's much harder to pinpoint the source than a radio signal. RF Direction equipment can triangulate a HF signal quite quickly.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (5, Interesting)

daranz (914716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450747)

Still, number stations are pretty much a one way means of communication. The whole idea behind them is that they can be broadcast from a secure location (ie, from the territory of the state running the agents), and received by any number of recipients, without anyone being able to detect the fact that the transmission was received. In case of voip, both sides are detectable - even if not eaisly traceable.

Also, the VoIP method is missing another point of the stations: with a radio station, you can remain tuned for as long as you wish, without the risk of detection increasing. Staying connected to a "number station" via VoIP means that you have to stay connected for prolonged amounts of time, increasing chances of detection, if only by a hotel employee who notes that someone was sitting on the hotel's wifi network for 24 hours. Besides, if one wants to use "number stations" over the Internet, one can simply post the numbers in any amount of places. It is easier and probably also safer to grab one text file off some FTP server, than it is to stay connected somewhere for a longer time. You might not get the message as fast then, but at least you're not sitting in a van next to your local Motel 6 for 3 days.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450938)

You're right. I should have thought of that. The number man could be sitting outside a hotel with a laptop on his knees recording the numbers for later decryption in a more secure place. But still, there's two way communication going on between the laptop and the internet numbers station and chances are vastly improved of apprehending him. Even more so if he regularily goes online through the major wireless providers they have at hotels and with all the cameras around nowadays. Personally as an ELODUM (Expendable Letters Organization Drugtrafficking Underling Minion) I would be really upset having to use this, I would want to get my orders on shortwave where I can sit at home with my earphones on.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451151)

I would be really upset having to use this, I would want to get my orders on shortwave where I can sit at home with my earphones on.

You may be safe but the location of the transmitter will be known within a short distance in just a few seconds.

A new VOIP phone doesn't announce itself to the world like a new broadcast on shortwave. Fewer people would notice a posting of the number on a website and understand it than those interested in a new shortwave station transmitting numbers.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (1)

tomlouie (264519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451206)

It doesn't matter if "they" can pinpoint the source transmitter. The CIA can put it atop the Pentagon.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (3, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450965)

You are thinging traditional VOIP subscriber. Buy an adaptor at ______ with cash. Activate it with a stolen card and ID. Hook it directly to a wireless access point in client mode. Wardrive near hotels. Park nearby for a couple days.

So, basically, instead of using a fairly innocuous radio, which is easy to explain away if apprehended, you propose that the secret agent go around carrying stolen cards and stolen ID and wardrive? I think the general idea is for spies to not call attention to themselves, and engaging in two or three activities that might be illegal even if not connected with spying is probably not the best procedure!

It's much harder to pinpoint the source than a radio signal. RF Direction equipment can triangulate a HF signal quite quickly.

The numbers stations broadcast on shortwave frequencies whose signals carry very far, with plenty of bounces off the ionosphere. You can triangulate them to approximately what quarter-hemisphere they come from. And even if the exact location were found, it wouldn't help catch the spy receiving the signal, nor even give any indication that the signal is for a spy in your country.

Re:Doesn't that defeat secrecy? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451434)

Actually, these ones are accessable via POTS. It made Off the Hook last week or the week before if I remember correctly.

No need to pack around a laptop, voip equipment, etc. Just find a phone, dial in, and act like you're having a conversation while you write down the numbers.

Eh, ok (4, Insightful)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450570)

The point of shortwave is that you can listen from anywhere, undetected.
Calling a phone leaves a bunch of traces. There is really no discreet way for our man in Havana to call longdistance and listening to numbers for a few minutes.
You could just put the numbers on a free website somewhere, or use email..

Re:Eh, ok (2, Interesting)

kognate (322256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450599)

True enough, but I can steal your mobile and call that number. Then when the Suede Denim Secret Police come knocking they sure won't be knocking on my door.

The other problem is that shortwave radio recievers are incriminating devices in some dark places that you would want to have spies in. Cell phones pretty much universally are not.

Re:Eh, ok (0)

buck_wild (447801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450638)

"HooooGAN! Vat is zee meaning of zis??"

Re:Eh, ok (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450801)

Why would it have to be a stolen telephone? What about one purchased with false ID meant to be trashed after usage? Or more likely a VOIP phone (or soft phone). Not to mention the (admittedly increasingly rare) pay phone.

Re:Eh, ok (2, Funny)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450889)

Then when the Suede Denim Secret Police come knocking they sure won't be knocking on my door.

But they will be coming for your uncool niece.

Not Havana, but New York? (2, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451306)

The first message was was listed in the the New York classifieds. Now it is possible the author simply placed it there for obscurity reasons, but it could also be that he/she was targetting someone who resides specifically in New York. Also, area code 212 is in New York City, which could be so their contact in New York wouldn't have to dial long distance to reach it.

The second message was in the San Francisco classifieds, and there too the area code, 415, of the number matches with the city. It could be that the author of the message is trying to make it easier on their contacts in those specific areas, as dialing local does not leave nearly as much of a trace as dialing long distance.

I've seen this somewhere before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450582)

Papa November's [papajohns.com] ?

Cryptanalysts in love (2, Interesting)

Sentri (910293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450590)

From one of the articles: "Update: Ryan Singel (of Wired) thinks it's just two young cryptanalysts in love, "sending love notes and taunting Mossad, the NSA and the phone phreakers at the same time." He also points to some links indicating those shortwave numbers stations are still around. Go take a listen."

Cool. Not everyday you learn about an international conspiracy to broadcast numbers. If it were me, I would set up one of these to broadcast from SEALAND!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealand [wikipedia.org]

01010010 01101111 01110011 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110110 01101001 01101111 01101100 01100101 01110100 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110000 01110010 01100101 01110100 01110100 01111001 00001101 00001010 01110011 01101111 01101101 01100101 01110100 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111 01110011 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100100 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100110 01100001 01101001 01110010 00100000 01100011 01101001 01110100 01111001 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01000011 01110010 01111001 01110000 01110100 01100001 01101110 01100001 01101100 01111001 01110011 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00111111 00100000 01101000 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100011 01110101 01110100 01100101 00101110 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01001001 01101101 00100000 01101001 01101110 01110100 01110010 01101001 01100111 01110101 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100010 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101111 01110010 01110100 01110111 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101110 01110101 01101101 01100010 01100101 01110010 01110011 00100000 01110011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 00101100 00100000 01110110 01100101 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101111 01101100 00101110

(for some help with the above: http://nickciske.com/tools/binary.php [nickciske.com] )

Re:Cryptanalysts in love (1)

mqj (949877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451095)

"Roses are red, violets are pretty somethings going down in this fair city Cryptanalysts in love? how cute. Im intrigued by this shortwave numbers station though, very cool."

Or use a firefox extention Leet Key 1.3.1 [mozilla.org]

The links worked the first time... (1)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450606)

Is anyone else getting database errors on the links now? The links worked the first time, but I can't get to either of them now.

Silly (2, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450608)

Code or no code, VOIP is an awful lot easier to block and censor than short wave.

Cheers,
Ian

Double Silly (1)

jspoon (585173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450741)

It's also easier to let through and trace. Heck, with short wave there's no way to tell the location of receivers so it can't be leaked, intentionally or unintentionally. With web pages, a group like the NSA might conceivably even be able to track a connection through proxies-they wouldn't need to know the content of the message because it's not secured on the server end.

If I were a spy, I'd lean more toward the use of stegonography so at least it isn't totally obvious that a code is being used. Might as well wear a hat that says 'I am a Spy." Stegonography is less likely to be human readable though. I suppose you could put in a sequence of numbers into a data file like a picture at a set index so someone opening it with a hex editor could read them off but a clumsy technique like that would introduce glaring artifacts to the picture, if it was even still valid at all.

Re:Silly (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450777)

I'm not sure about that. VoIP has an unrelated and legitimate commercial interest behind it to support it not being blocked solely based on the virtue of it being VoIP, and thus anybody wanting to jam/block particular VoIP calls would have to know ahead of time at what phone number the message was going to appear. And there are a lot of phone numbers ;)

On the other hand, the various intelligence services have some pretty powerful jamming equipment that can render shortwave transmissions at least partially unintelligible. Numbers stations often work based on a schedule (in terms of both time and radio frequency), and once an intelligence service determines this schedule, they can wash out the frequency with crap at the appropriate time. Since the whole reason for numbers stations are that spies in the field are relatively incommunicado with their handlers, figuring out the schedule can have a fairly long-term impact on the spy being able to receive information and orders. In fact, the biggest question is likely where the jammer antenna should be positioned to ensure that the transmission will be jammed.

it's a joke (0)

ezh (707373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450611)

there are a lot more sophisticated ways of hiding and transferring secret information. including texts, images, video and audio streams, ssl, gpg, tunneling, etc. why would anyone bother with a child games like that?

Re:it's a joke (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450646)

Haven't you heard? No one wants to be a computer scientist these days to figure out hard-to-crack computer codes. The CIA is hiring high school students with Microsoft certifications to create their secret codes. The fact that they got VOIP to work was a miracle in itself.

Re:it's a joke (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451129)

You might be on to something, because the length of the numbers is the same as the length of a Microsoft registration number.

Re:it's a joke (2, Insightful)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450658)

Maybe just to get our knickers in a knot.

Re:it's a joke (3, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450663)

there are a lot more sophisticated ways of hiding and transferring secret information. including texts, images, video and audio streams, ssl, gpg, tunneling, etc. why would anyone bother with a child games like that?

Because the publicity and simplicity of the cipher makes it very difficult to determine the intended recipent. Also, it may not be AES, but if it's a one-time-pad it's pretty damn secure.

Re:it's a joke (1)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451674)

Also, it may not be AES, but if it's a one-time-pad it's pretty damn secure.

A one time pad is not just "pretty damn secure," it's provably unbreakable (assuming, of course, that the pad is truly random and is never reused).

It is a joke (1)

Sentri (910293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450715)

there are a lot more sophisticated ways of hiding and transferring secret information. including texts, images, video and audio streams, ssl, gpg, tunneling, etc. why would anyone bother with a child games like that?

Maybe if they were a child?

Or one of those people with one of those things, you know...
A sense of humour.

Yeah

Can you crack the code? (1)

Cainjustcain (782020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450627)

And how long does it take for black helicopters arrive at your house?

hmmm.... (1)

pretorious (905586) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450648)

The code starts by identifying a group, could this be a use of a one time pad method of encryption ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_time_pads [wikipedia.org] )? that would also account for the insecure transmission, as even if it were intercepted, there would be no way to crack it. the only important thing is making it easily accessible.

Re:hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450687)

The groups mentioned in the two messages are 415 and 617--the first "fraulein" message is a 212 number from "group 415", the second is a 415 number from "group 617." This leads me to believe there's some sort of San Fran versus Boston thing going on based on area codes with someone from NY in the middle.

Re:hmmm.... (5, Interesting)

Sentri (910293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450696)

Thats why the choice of VOIP is so odd, because although it does provide easy access, the prepaid account was emptied, meaning that its no longer accessible.

So its not the best way of doing it if you are really trying ot create a secure comms network. What would be better (though just as traceable) would be posting here, like first post said.

but the shortwave system still trumps it.

Lets analyse it:
What do you want from a secure comms network aimed (as these are supposedly meant to be) at undercover agents
1. Untraceable to the sender
2. Untraceable to the reciever
3. Universally Accessible
4. Undecodable

So we need something that is hard to find, easy to access and secure but hard to trace. Using something as logged and monitored as the internet would probably be a bad decision unless you use something like a coin operated internet kiosk to post and to retrieve, making it less accessible (in the here and now sense, a radio can arguably recieve information anywhere).

So why leave shortwave?
You wouldnt.

Thus this is probably a hobbyist, or a practical joker, or a viral marketing meme, or an elaborate hoax.

Re:hmmm.... (1)

pretorious (905586) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450894)

let me try to elaborate, if it was pad type encryption, done peoperly, there would be no way that the code could be broken. the only issue now is to get the code to the agent you need. with shortwave, your agent would need a receiver which may not be so covert. also, what if the agent is on the other side of the globe? I am not to familiar with shortwave, but I am fairly sure that the transmitter needs to have an huge (like mounted on a house huge) antenna to transmit large distances, that type of setup would not be anywhere near as portable as a laptop with a wifi card. the agent can easily use a laptop over some free wifi and hear the VOIP message, and if wearing headphones, arouse no suspicion. we also have to consider that this person is not so smart, and thinks that voip is secure. recently an ex-mafia member was convicted when his email encryption was cracked. the program he used was poorly made freeware, as he lacked the knowlege to use somthing like GPG. These people might also be small time, and not have the funds for shortwave comunication.

Re:hmmm.... (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451619)

It would be appropriate for transmissions to an agent in the field. He can work out a way to smuggle information out, but you might need to tell him a time and place to meet a contact or something. Secure transmissions in either direction help you.

You can still track down the source pretty easily, but there is no doubt a station in Nevada that transmits exactly 200 characters at the same time every day whether or not they need to send anything out, or something similar to this. Knowing where it is does you no good.

Re:hmmm.... (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451646)

Strictly speaking, shortwave's point of origin is traceable. Certain number stations are known to originate from specific locations, including Havana, the Yugoslav embassy in Washington DC, Albuquerque, and the CIA spy school. Origin doesn't matter though, it's the receiver that's clandestine.

BoingBoing posted about strange 5 digit spam last week [boingboing.net] .

The Numbers? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450652)

4 8 15 16 23 42

Re:The Numbers? (2, Interesting)

Sentri (910293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450749)

Has anyone else been made to pause by this post for more than just a laugh?

Could it be that on Lost the radio broadcast is a play on the Number Stations stuff?

I am a bit behind on Lost because I live in Australia so I may be behind on the current theories.

Re:The Numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451336)

I'm from Australia too. Hopefully we can both speed the swarm and get the episodes earlier. www.torrentspy.com

Re:The Numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451634)

Someone at Wired made that connection, as well. Check it out: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,69900-1.htm l [wired.com] grep for "Lost opens the hatch, finds an Apple II".

NC, u haven't called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450666)

0x42 0x53 0x44 0x20 0x49 0x53 0x20 0x44 0x45 0x41 0x44

Meanwhile, American intelligence operations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450701)

are brought to their knees by the slashdotting of the center of a new covert communication system.

blog comment spam (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450719)

Such messages also appear to be manifesting themselves as blog comment spam [boingboing.net] .

The numbers are always in 5 digit blocks too, just like the ones that another poster observed occuring here on slashdot [slashdot.org] .

This is either genuinely weird, or just someone playing an elaborate prank.

I for one am intrigued, as I've seen the link-free spam messages crop up in all sorts of weird places...

Re:blog comment spam (2, Insightful)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450888)

Five number/letter blocks are pretty much the traditional way to break up enciphered messages. That does not mean they must be from the same source.

Waste of time (3, Funny)

caller9 (764851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450724)

So some ham radio freaks or cryptologists are playing tricks. Who gives half a crap?

Want something really secure? Use one of those messages that self destruct like inspector gadget. As a bonus, it could really jack somebody up if thrown into their face. Also, they can be easily delivered by any method of transportation no matter how impossible, as evidenced by numerous Inspector Gadget episodes, where "the chief" maneuvers into some unthinkable situation only to have the tossed, usually over the shoulder, crumpled message end up giving him severe burns to his face and uppper body upon detination. Even when you go phew! because it totally missed you, guess what, you were wrong and you blow up anyway. Try and get with that hype shit NSA!

I think this is obvious. (3, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450740)

It's the promo for Dan Brown's new book. All of the fashionable Masons are using VoIP for their rituals and world control these days.

Re:I think this is obvious. (2, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450781)

It's true! The V is the Masonic Square, with the I and P forming the compass. The "o" is meant to stand in for the "G" in the center. It's OBVIOUS PEOPLE.

(the preceeding may have been sarcasm)

Re:I think this is obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450797)

Yeah, I bet this is some sort of Da Vinci code tie in. The ads on the NY subways have things telling people to go to web sites and hint there's some sort of internet scavanger hunt going on.

4 8 15 16 23 42 (1)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450744)

Hike!

Conet Project (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450745)

Wow! 30 comments and no mention of the Conet Project. [archive.org] There's lots of great sound files there to make your officemates wonder what the hell you're up to...

Re:Conet Project (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450755)

Probably should've also included a link to the official page. [irdial.com]

This is actually something that is not to old (1)

shakaru (874643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450754)

Im not going to say as to what is beign transmited or the reason for existance of an organization that a few fellows of mine have created a few years back, but this is really not an new thing. For a few years (sometime pre 1996) we have been passing encrypted messages ove the net through means such as Craiglist and more so any ad service. Except while we knew we were not the first ones to do this, it was about some time in 1998 that one of us recived an reply with a message of the same formating of "Hello world". Now because non of us knew anything of Hello World beyond that of the programing world, we thought nothing of it. Damn wish we held onto it. P.S. take five and run

eh (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450760)

Well, either we decrypt the code and find out if it's an intelligence agency or we can do it the easy way... and just wait for them to sell one of the hard drives with the decrypter at a local flea market.

Conet Project (2, Interesting)

JMZorko (150414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450775)

I bought a 4 (or maybe 6?) CD set of numbers stations recordings several years ago, call The Conet Project. Since i'm big into experimental music, the idea intrigued me. While some of the recordings were downright spooky and disturbing (not necessarily a bad thing), I found it mostly to be soothing in a weird way (though after listening to 2 or 3 CDs of these recordings non-stop, it started getting a bit ... too weird).

Regards,

John

Re:Conet Project (1)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450900)

I bought Philip Glass's "Einstein on the Beach" instead.

No worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450784)

Robert Langdon had been dispatched.
It's a coded message from G_d, the rough translation: "I invented evolution, stupid apes... Respect..."

It's a *code* not a cipher (5, Insightful)

crmartin (98227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450798)

Very likely you can't easily crack the code. reason: it's a true code, not a cipher. A real code assigns a symbol like '34187' to a word or phrase arbitrarily. Unlike ciphers, true codes are very difficult to crack without getting the key somehow, because there is very little redundancy to exploit statistically.

Re:It's a *code* not a cipher (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450868)

You are retarded.

Whenever you have data set A that is ciphertext that can be mapped to a plaintext data set B, convertible through a discrete and reversible transform, you have a cipher by definition. Whether it is a one-time pad or a key-based algorithm or whatever, altering data so that only a specific audience can obtain the plaintext is cryptography and therefore involves ciphers.

Re:It's a *code* not a cipher (1)

LurkingStranger (796079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450960)

You might consider wandering past wikipedia to read about ciphers, before the arguing commences...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cipher.

Code, Cipher, or is it the Key? (1)

blavallee (729704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450993)

Perhaps it is the key used to decode a message that uses more sophisticated ways of hiding the secret information.

Could it be:
212 = NY Times, Post, or The Village Voice
617 = Boston Globe, Herald, or Metro

Craigslist Date = Print Date??


Find a house and you can break a window to get inside! Find a key and may never find the door it unlocks!

1337 (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450804)

Godammit. It's just a bunch of geeks.

Google PR? (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450837)

Last time secret messages were popping up in different places, google was involved...

Re:Google PR? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450882)

Nah, this stuff is getting pretty common. Look at stuff like hansofoundation.org lots of advertising is being done with strange internet based stuff. Remember MS's Origami stuff? So Google isn't alone in that.

why not use png texting? (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450841)

there is a flaw in the png format which allows you to embed random crap in png files.

the particular application i've seen commonly practiced was mp3 pngs, you download the file, rename it .mp3, and can load it straight into winamp.

why not embed a special encrypted text format into a png file, and build a special app specifically for viewing the format.

unlike mp3 pngs, it would be very hard to detect, especially on huge imageboard sites like 4chan's /b/ board Oo.

Re:why not use png texting? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451165)

That app would end up on bit torrent

Call Mr. Lee (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450860)

Dial 45... 41.... oh oh oh
Call Mr Lee,
He'll know the code is broken,
Tell him the dog is turning red.

Google Recruiting... (1)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15450899)

Crack em' and get a job everyone!

Codes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15450941)

Damn, my username has been compromised.

/.ed, now back up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451004)

The time to do apache and mysql performance tuning is NOT AFTER you've been posted to slashdot, but BEFORE. Wow that was a hairy two hours.

Can't crack it: One Time Pad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451133)

You'll need the one-time pad and start time to have a chance of understanding what's going on.

i dun figured it up (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451188)

HELLO WORLD
84635 84635
HELLO WORLD
55239 55239 17659 17659 42773 42773 37557 37557 35760 35760
63392 63392 28670 28670 19315 19315 32133 32133 59959 59959
49788 49788 78823 78823 00000 00000 18139 18139 07715 07715
60141 60141 91853 91853 17108 17108 45205 45205 09378 09378
68757 68757 09996 09996 62078 62078 95257 95257 69473 69473
39901 39901 93427 93427 47135 47135 33306 33306 77578 77578
86981 86981 65940 65940 54059 54059 05385 05385 56218 56218
53795 53795 10048 10048 16950 16950 68668 68668 85556 85556
79589 79589 81720 81720 81394 81394 04904 04904 54722 54722
83585 83585 20590 20590 34103 34103 18710 18710 18111 18111
90592 90592 61950 61950 77647 77647 27033 27033 36596 36596
14300 14300 34260 34260 10965 10965 12644 12644 12457 12457
09713 09713 73912 73912 48354 48354 25269 25269 32224 32224
11961 11961 16120 16120 60354 60354 96249 96249 77038 77038
91210 91210 01513 01513 70865 70865 96846 96846 93310 93310
42662 42662 12155 12155 87912 87912 63723 63723 72208 72208
50750 50750 18360 18360 73083 73083 04449 04449 68730 68730
83488 83488 41188 41188 22883 22883 87192 87192 11613 11613
86664 86664 73349 73349 09145 09145 29887 29887 77537 77537
68013 68013 92513 92513 29149 29149 62238 62238 82161 82161
63015 63015 54947 54947 81323 81323 31400 31400 67025 67025
71072 71072 94891 94891 32047 32047 82667 82667 08699 08699
75573 75573 24408 24408 80140 80140 87180 87180 41636 41636
31495 31495 31153 31153 07866 07866 98568 98568 11359 11359
43497 43497 95520 95520 41816 41816 87633 87633 99937 99937
00531 00531 41136 41136 47099 47099 72592 72592 88941 88941
35041 35041 82063 82063 58426 58426 95934 95934 50578 50578
77239 77239 65303 65303 27909 27909 74415 74415 87391 87391
43787 43787 91391 91391 02509 02509 29157 29157 63214 63214
60937 60937 28220 28220 64794 64794 21356 21356 14748 14748
05542 05542 27738 27738 70376 70376 39801 39801 50983 50983
87009 87009 36795 36795 46952 46952 50213 50213 17461 17461
73838 73838
K-BYE

translates to:

kill the prime minister of malaysia!

Ummmmm...no. (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451292)

You can't crack them. Unless, of course, you or a cohort has devised a way to crack a one time pad short of stealing the mat.

Way 2 make money? (1)

lon3st4r (973469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451305)

What if a you-call-you-pay-a-ton phone number is posted anonymously like this?

People could make a lot of money like this.^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^ H^H^H^H

forget you ever heard that. mental note: TODO: money for nothing! ;)

* lon3st4r *

here's one I found... near a navy base in seattle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15451351)

+1-360-515-2976

Obvious first step, and some frequency analysis... (2, Insightful)

Jurph (16396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451355)

Nobody seems to have pointed out anywhere that these codes, while broken into the canonical 5-digit groupings, are almost certainly composed of three-digit numbers padded with zeroes. The first one, when you strip out the annoying five-character spacing, becomes:

Group 415
13 56 51 12 79 46 65 10 93 00
82 39 13 94 69 12 78 108 17 28 17
69 22 73 38 14 17 15 15 73 04 20
68 12 13 12 51 00 54 04 91 14 13
15 86 22 96 81 66 02 82 55 70 02
00 22 83 29 08 22 12 12 04 71 13
65 27 94 19 29 14 22 08 02 11 83
73 03 26 19 07 86 86

and the second one becomes

Group 617
61 78 02 21 85 06 13 69 06
79 12 15 24 07 06 16 17 69
95 00 17 24 05 14 24 09 87
22 67 89 74 10 82 10 86 78
13 24 04 16 27 73 13 15 06
93 69 112 20 84 00 00 21 03
70 31 76 49 65 23 27 67 00 07 16
12 17

Each one just barely scratches into the low hundreds (once each), and uses "00" several times, occasionally doubled. The first one uses 45 unique numbers ranging as high as 108 with the most common characters in the teens; I haven't done any frequency analysis on the second grouping yet but the teens look popular again. I just happened to start reading David Kahn's "The Codebreakers" this week, so I've got lots of places to start, but I wouldn't mind a little help with this. Holler if you think of something!

Cyberpunk (1)

Goodbyte (539941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451383)

Anyone else that sees a connection to Pattern Recognition by William Gibson?

The next one should be in Boston (5, Interesting)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15451631)

I am a huge Numbers Station geek, and I've been known to listen to the Conet Project just for fun at parties, shortly before I'm asked to leave. So I've been following this story on the Spy Numbers mailing list for at least two weeks, now. If you're intrigued by this mystery, you will probably love the resources at SpyNumbers.com, or the Enigma2000 group at Yahoo.

Anyway, my prediction: The next message will be posted on Craigslist for Boston. The first message announced Group 415, and the second message was posted on Craigslist for San Francisco.

The second message announces group 617, which means the next message will probably show up on Craigslist for Boston. If that proves to be true, it is 99% certain that this is just a prank, or something being done by amateurs having a bit of fun. There's no way a real spook or someone sending messages of any importance would use a scheme that some piker like me can figure out.

So what's going on here? Eh. If there's anything really in there, now that it's been on Slashdot and boingboing, it's quite likely to be cracked within a few days, unless it's encrypted with a one time pad. Whatever it is, part of me is afraid that it's part of that stupid DaVinci Code promotion, and the same part of me hopes that it's somehow related to the Hanso Foundation.

Or maybe Publius has finally returned . . . are there any Pink Floyd albums coming out soon?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>