Author Topic: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw  (Read 6494 times)

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Offline sarepairman2

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coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« on: February 16, 2016, 07:06:10 am »
?
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 07:19:43 am »
Without a doubt the PASSIVE bug inside the Great Seal given as a gift to the US Embassy in Moscow by the USSR government.

It was undetectable by normal countermeasures because it never emitted anything and required no power.  But the condenser microphone would change the resonant frequency of the antenna which reportedly would frequency-modulate a microwave beam REFLECTED off the antenna.  Brilliant back in the day, and not bad even today.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_(listening_device)
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 07:33:44 am »
I lurk at cryptomuseum way longer than I should. Highly recommended.

Here is one of my favorites. Russian R-353 spy radio set complete with One Time Pad and Burst Encoder, captured by the Dutch intelligence.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 10:09:54 pm by HAL-42b »
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 10:44:12 am »
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 09:23:39 pm »
Richard Crowley's nomination is a good one. A few months ago (maybe here?) i saw a link to the story as written up by one of the diplomats who was there. It was fascinating to read that story first hand.







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Offline calexanian

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 09:40:34 pm »
+1 for that soviet passive bug. Still pretty damn cool.
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Offline XOIIO

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 09:50:19 pm »
That passive bug is incredibly cool, I wonder how they even found it.

Offline crispy_tofu

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 10:09:33 pm »
Windows 10, but it's not very cool...  :-DD
 

Offline NivagSwerdna

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 10:27:28 pm »
That passive bug is just awesome.  Thanks for sharing.  :-+
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 10:38:36 pm »
I wonder how they even found it.
The Wikipedia article says that it was discovered accidentally by British technicians just tuning around listening for things.
It also says it was devised by Leo Theremin (the same guy who invented the first electronic musical instrument that bears his name).
But it was based on a US published patent(!)
 

Offline PointyOintment

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 10:48:40 pm »
Here is one of my favorites. Russian R-353 spy radio set complete with One Time Pad and Burst Encoder, captured by the Dutch intelligence.

Why is the front panel labeled in English only?

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 11:07:13 pm »
Here is one of my favorites. Russian R-353 spy radio set complete with One Time Pad and Burst Encoder, captured by the Dutch intelligence.

Why is the front panel labeled in English only?

Presumably because people spying for Russia in the West weren't Russians. Probably American spy sets are labeled in Russian, who knows.
 

Offline Artlav

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2016, 12:14:38 am »
Why is the front panel labeled in English only?
Maybe because it's a bad idea to get caught with a radio-looking thing labelled in russian?
At least if it's in a local or generic language, then you can talk yourself out of the trouble by just saying that it's some sort of a broken radio you picked up on a garage sale or something.
Hacking the universe since 2008
Having a life since 2013
 

Offline calexanian

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2016, 12:23:12 am »
They probably tried to make it look like a piece of Ham radio rear or something like that so if they got caught with it nobody would care.
Charles Alexanian
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2016, 12:38:37 am »
They probably tried to make it look like a piece of Ham radio rear or something like that so if they got caught with it nobody would care.
Those paper tape cartridges for the burst messages, and especially the one-time pads would rather give it away!
Of course, you would hide the one-time pad behind canned peas in the pantry or something.

At least here in the US, my understanding was that they suspended amateur radio activity during war-time.
So there was no legitimate excuse to be transmitting RF from your flat.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2016, 12:59:20 am »
They probably tried to make it look like a piece of Ham radio rear or something like that so if they got caught with it nobody would care.
Those paper tape cartridges for the burst messages, and especially the one-time pads would rather give it away!
Of course, you would hide the one-time pad behind canned peas in the pantry or something.

At least here in the US, my understanding was that they suspended amateur radio activity during war-time.
So there was no legitimate excuse to be transmitting RF from your flat.


These days all that secret communication equipment is moot. We exchange encrypted messages in fake political debates on eevblog (that's why there are so many of them).

eevblog is the new number station.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 01:49:22 am by zapta »
Drain the swamp.
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 01:29:10 am »
The capacitor has discharged, over.

Offline Halcyon

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2016, 08:07:14 am »
We have a bunch of old kit sitting in a glass cabinet at work which by today's standards is old and obsolete but still manages to impress me the kind of stuff Governments used (Although I'm still not allowed to take a photo of it to show you).

Without giving away any methodology or asserting that I'm in the "spy business" myself, I'd have to say the thing that still surprises me is how "weak", gullible and easily manipulated people are. There are some matters I've had the (dis)pleasure of being involved in which despite all the encryption and technology in the world, have came apart due to human action, carelessness and error.

A good example of such carelessness and I guess to a degree, complacency, is the whole cracking of the Enigma code. Some of it came down to luck but some of the codes were broken by observing and studying human behaviour and routine, rather than mere brute-force of the cipher itself. Of course there were weaknesses in the Enigma machine and cipher, but still, pretty amazing stuff.

Without a doubt the PASSIVE bug inside the Great Seal given as a gift to the US Embassy in Moscow by the USSR government.

I wonder if it was discovered much earlier than public (unclassified/declassified) records indicated. Perhaps to feed false or misleading information to the Soviets? I don't know about you but one dead giveaway to me would be the hinge and seam that separated the two pieces? Then again it could have simply been placed in an un-important room (outside the toilet maybe?)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 08:15:17 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline babysitter

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2016, 08:11:52 am »
Resistor is ready to discharge capacitor, i repeat: Resistor is ready to discharge capacitor!
I'm not a feature, I'm a bug! ARC DG3HDA
 

Online BravoV

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2016, 08:24:23 am »
The capacitor has discharged, over.

Resistor is ready to discharge capacitor, i repeat: Resistor is ready to discharge capacitor!


Abort !! Abort !! The cap is leaking ! Capxon !!! ... I repeat ... its CAPXON !!!

 :palm:

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2016, 08:36:08 am »
I wonder if it was discovered much earlier than public (unclassified/declassified) records indicated. Perhaps to feed false or misleading information to the Soviets? I don't know about you but one dead giveaway to me would be the hinge and seam that separated the two pieces? Then again it could have simply been placed in an un-important room (outside the toilet maybe?)

Almost certainly the case. "We know, but we don't want them to know that we know."

It stood right behind the desk of the Moscow Ambassador for several years. Those kind of official desks are almost entirely ceremonial and the ambassador probably never sits there.
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2016, 08:37:27 am »
The cap is leaking.. damn, I'm bringing in the inductor
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2016, 08:55:39 am »

Hogaaaan!!!
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2016, 12:07:10 pm »
I wonder if it was discovered much earlier than public (unclassified/declassified) records indicated. Perhaps to feed false or misleading information to the Soviets? I don't know about you but one dead giveaway to me would be the hinge and seam that separated the two pieces? Then again it could have simply been placed in an un-important room (outside the toilet maybe?)
As you say, people were pretty gullible and/or ignorant of such sophisticated techniques back then. I believe that what we see in the photo now is a re-work of the original so that it can be opened for demonstration. 

It wouldn't be the first time that something that devious was discovered by accident.  The story was that it was hung in the ambassador's residence, "Spaso House" in his private study.  There is a rather colorful story in Wikipedia of the house which was the embassy chancery for a while as well as the ambassador's residence. Including some wild parties with "seals galloping through the house" and other extravaganzas like...

Quote
The festival lasted until the early hours of the morning. The bear became drunk on champagne given to him by Karl Radek, and in the early morning hours the zebra finches escaped from the aviary and perched below the ceilings around the house, but other than that the party was considered a great success.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaso_House

 

Offline dannyf

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2016, 12:16:12 pm »
Quote
how "weak", gullible and easily manipulated people are.

Yeah. End of the day, intelligence is handled by people and if you hack the people, you can get anything. Exhibit 1 in that is the Hillary email scandal. and I am sure if you hack personal emails of all the government officials, you can get lots of things you are not supposed to have.
================================
https://dannyelectronics.wordpress.com/
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2016, 03:25:44 pm »
The inductor can't be trusted, switch to rectifier.

Online rrinker

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2016, 04:14:28 pm »
 Going to active. Transistor is saturated. Repeat, transistor is saturated.
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2016, 08:28:01 pm »
*puts on aluminum foil hat*
The smartphone.
Basically, three vendors own the market.
- Google. Mountain View, California, USA.
- Apple. Cupertino, California, USA.
- Microsoft. Redmond, Washington, USA.
If not for the POI to use one of them, someone near them will.
*takes off aluminum foil hat, and unlocks iPhone with fingerprint*

 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2016, 09:01:54 pm »

*takes off aluminum foil hat, and unlocks iPhone with fingerprint*

I heard the next iphone will use blood verification.

Online rrinker

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Re: coolest bit of spy gear you ever saw
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2016, 09:56:52 pm »

*takes off aluminum foil hat, and unlocks iPhone with fingerprint*

I heard the next iphone will use blood verification.

If it can give be a blood glucose reading at the same time, I'm all for it.
 


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