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(The Republic)   Russia switching back to typewriters to avoid NSA spying   (therepublic.com) divider line 145
    More: Amusing, NSA, kremlin, President Vladimir Putin, federal protective service, Izvestia, NSA surveillance  
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5564 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Jul 2013 at 12:28 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-12 11:24:38 AM
Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-12 11:30:52 AM
Actually, they are switching back to typewriters to avoid leaks.

The idea that they didn't know that the NSA was spying on them is cute, considering that the NSA was created specifically to spy on them back during the cold war.
 
2013-07-12 11:49:32 AM

vpb: Actually, they are switching back to typewriters to avoid leaks.

The idea that they didn't know that the NSA was spying on them is cute, considering that the NSA was created specifically to spy on them back during the cold war.


So very much this.   I used to do that sort of thing, as my Nom du Fark implies.

And yeah, it's so that if you need to make just one or two copies of a document for security reasons, if you do it on a typewriter you don't have to worry that the file was deleted properly, etc.
 
2013-07-12 12:02:11 PM
i236.photobucket.com

Challenge accepted.
 
2013-07-12 12:21:25 PM
I'm sure the real reason is that they can't afford electricity.
 
2013-07-12 12:30:37 PM
Didn't spy agencies used to read characters off of discarded ribbons?
 
2013-07-12 12:32:58 PM
Behold their new untappable phone:

i144.photobucket.com
 
2013-07-12 12:33:01 PM

dittybopper: No data remanence issues.


As long as you take the spent ribbon with you and burn it.
 
2013-07-12 12:34:10 PM

vpb: Actually, they are switching back to typewriters to avoid leaks.

The idea that they didn't know that the NSA was spying on them is cute, considering that the NSA was created specifically to spy on them back during the cold war.


The Soviets had a big problem when much of their secret stuff was hard-copy. It seems there was always a toilet paper shortage, particularly in East Germany and Berlin. So....

Some of the most valuable intelligence gathered against the Soviets was fished out of the sewers in Berlin.
 
2013-07-12 12:34:21 PM

dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.


They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type
 
2013-07-12 12:34:34 PM
Because that totally kept all the secrets in the USSR when it was all on papers, right?
 
2013-07-12 12:34:45 PM
watch out Buttle! the Russians hate terrorist scum like you.
 
2013-07-12 12:35:23 PM

James!: I'm sure the real reason is that they can't afford electricity.


You know before computers, everyone used electric typewriters.
 
2013-07-12 12:37:08 PM

rev. dave: James!: I'm sure the real reason is that they can't afford electricity.

You know before computers, everyone used electric typewriters.


It's a joke, grandpa.
 
2013-07-12 12:39:06 PM
wouldn't it be easier to just use a computer not connected to any networks and with the USB ports cemented up like the DoD?
 
2013-07-12 12:40:14 PM

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type


The use the Cone of Silence in the Kremlin
 
2013-07-12 12:40:46 PM

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type


I think it was in "Spycatcher" he talked about listening to typewriters to try and pick out the unique sounds of each key. Also on electric typewriters give off EM radiation that can be analyzed as well.
 
2013-07-12 12:40:54 PM
no problem. we'll just tap into the copiers again.
 
2013-07-12 12:42:58 PM
My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.
 
2013-07-12 12:43:11 PM

Lawnchair: dittybopper: No data remanence issues.

As long as you take the spent ribbon with you and burn it.


And the platen. Destroy it too. Unless you're using one of those unreadable kind invented by a Russian serf during the Battle of Borodino.

Surely, Sherman my dear boy, you've heard of...the Platen Karataev.
 
2013-07-12 12:44:20 PM

gfid: FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type

The use the Cone of Silence in the Kremlin


Or AK-47 as they call it
 
2013-07-12 12:44:37 PM

Lawnchair: dittybopper: No data remanence issues.

As long as you take the spent ribbon with you and burn it.


Spent Ribbon is the name of my U2 tribute band.
 
2013-07-12 12:47:46 PM
www2.bc.edu

Ultrafiche making a comeback!
 
2013-07-12 12:49:44 PM

zenobia: My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.


Snopes.
 
2013-07-12 12:50:52 PM

zenobia: My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.


Monitor this b*tches:

www.photo-dictionary.com
 
2013-07-12 12:51:22 PM

rev. dave: James!: I'm sure the real reason is that they can't afford electricity.

You know before computers, everyone used electric typewriters.


Or manual typewriters. Shiatloads of college students did that into what, the 60s at least? If there's a low-budget solution, college-students will find it.
 
2013-07-12 12:51:31 PM
They can probably listen to a typewriter and tell what is being typed on it by listening to the different sounds of the key presses.  If they can do it with computer keyboards that can do it with typewriters.
 
2013-07-12 12:54:46 PM
images.tvrage.com
 
2013-07-12 12:56:20 PM

Psycoholic_Slag: zenobia: My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.

Monitor this b*tches:

[www.photo-dictionary.com image 700x466]


cuboidal.org
 
2013-07-12 12:56:51 PM

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type


Every key has a distinct tone.  Like a piano.
 
2013-07-12 12:56:52 PM
My dad emailed me a link to this story a few minutes before it went green.

Sadly, his source was the Daily Caller. So now I has a sad.
 
2013-07-12 12:57:29 PM
Also, the USA Today story points out that they bought 20 typewriters, and it's mostly to integrate with departments that never went digital in the first place.
 
2013-07-12 12:57:33 PM

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type


No, not on your smart phone listening to the touch tone beeps. Older than that. Way older. It was this device that had things called "Keys" with levers and all kinds of metal-y looking stuff. Besides, is there anyone alive that actually knows how to "listen" to keys on an old mechanical, non electrified typewriter?
 
2013-07-12 12:58:09 PM

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type


1. I doubt that.  Too much variation in the strike of a single character with a manual typewriter based upon how you hit the key.  You might be able to do it with electric typewriters, but I suspect that you need to put the microphone actually *IN* the typewriter for it to work.  Recording the sound from across the room isn't going to

2. Even *IF* you can, you need access to the room where the document is being typed.  Bugging a SCIF (or it's Russian equivalent) is a neat trick if you can manage it, which you almost certainly can't.  Even if you put a bug in a typewriter, those sorts of areas are specifically designed to block electromagnetic radiation from leaking out, so a wireless bug isn't going to work, and a wired one would be too easily found.


In fact, the Russians were able to bug IBM Selectric typewriters used by US Embassy personnel back in the 1970's, so rest assured, they probably know what is necessary to secure them.
 
2013-07-12 12:59:22 PM

whither_apophis: FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type

I think it was in "Spycatcher" he talked about listening to typewriters to try and pick out the unique sounds of each key. Also on electric typewriters give off EM radiation that can be analyzed as well.


While the keystroke analysis sounds kind of absurd, grabbing the em radiation is called Van Eck phreaking. I have never got around to building an eckbox to try it but the have been proof of concepts done to make it a real security issue.
 
2013-07-12 01:03:30 PM

Gunny Highway: Psycoholic_Slag: zenobia: My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.

Monitor this b*tches:

[www.photo-dictionary.com image 700x466]

[cuboidal.org image 358x200]


The countermeasure for that is simple:  Place some hard material behind the piece of paper being written on.  Like a piece of plastic or sheet metal.  Or just remove the paper and *THEN* write on it with it being on a hard surface.
 
2013-07-12 01:03:45 PM
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2013-07-12 01:10:06 PM
To avoid NSA spying I only communicate via homeopathic quartz crystals. They're unhackable because Big Pharma won't allow the government believe in them. It's either that or use the Smellogram.
 
2013-07-12 01:10:22 PM

dv-ous: Also, the USA Today story points out that they bought 20 typewriters, and it's mostly to integrate with departments that never went digital in the first place.


Yeah, kinda boring.

Lets just make something up so we can get our article written!
 
2013-07-12 01:11:57 PM
fanbladesaresharp

FullMetalPanda: dittybopper
: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads: No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type

No, not on your smart phone listening to the touch tone beeps. Older than that. Way older. It was this device that had things called "Keys" with levers and all kinds of metal-y looking stuff. Besides, is there anyone alive that actually knows how to "listen" to keys on an old mechanical, non electrified typewriter?


I used to know when the editor was finished with his copy because his typing sped up and sounded 'happier'. Yeah. there is a 'happy' sound to typing. Also, he made fewer spelling errors at the end of his copy.
tappity tap tap tap...tappitytappitytappitytappitytap, zip. "Freakstorm! Proof this and get it down to composing!"

(Editing) It was an knight to remember at the balllpark last nighte. Mike ^m^antle, the power hitter for the Mud Sliders stepped up the the plate with the bases loadede "It's true," I thought to myself as I sat in the stands watching, "Great moments are made ^I like penises^."
 
2013-07-12 01:13:31 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-07-12 01:13:46 PM
Silly. Computers are capable of more than 12,000,000 different colors. That's enough for a single color to correspond to a whole word, rather than a single letter. Imagine a picture, comprised of only the green part of the spectrum (2,000,000+ possibilities). Now imagine a picture that looks like nothing more than green "snow", similar to an old-style TV not tuned to a particular station. That one picture could contain an entire Stephen King novel. And, it doesn't even have to be sent anywhere, merely posted to an obscure server somewhere, for "on-demand" access. Hell, imgur or tumblr could be an espionage forum. And the NSA would be none the wiser.
 
2013-07-12 01:14:20 PM

dittybopper: Gunny Highway: Psycoholic_Slag: zenobia: My dad tells a story from the Space Race where NASA scientists were trying to come up with a pen that writes in zero gravity. The Russians used a pencil.

Monitor this b*tches:

[www.photo-dictionary.com image 700x466]

[cuboidal.org image 358x200]

The countermeasure for that is simple:  Place some hard material behind the piece of paper being written on.  Like a piece of plastic or sheet metal.  Or just remove the paper and *THEN* write on it with it being on a hard surface.


Somebody please cut off this guy's johnson.
 
2013-07-12 01:18:00 PM

Lawnchair: dittybopper: No data remanence issues.

As long as you take the spent ribbon with you and burn it.


You don't even really have to do that, necessarily.

If it's a well-worn cloth ribbon, I doubt they'd get anything from it, but again that requires physical access, and it's a hell of a lot harder to smuggle a typewriter ribbon out of a secure area than, say, a thumb drive.

In any case, destroying a typewriter ribbon is a lot cheaper and easier than destroying a hard drive.

Again, this is a good, low-tech solution to what has become a significant high-tech headache.  If you only need to create 1, 2, or 3 copies of a document for security reasons,  it's better to do it on a typewriter because it doesn't leave those documents lying around on a computer system for the Bradley Manning's and Edward Snowden's of the world to find.
 
2013-07-12 01:21:29 PM

dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.


Speaking of which, when are you going to send me that 3 megabyte file you promised me in 1997?
 
2013-07-12 01:24:24 PM

Xcott: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

Speaking of which, when are you going to send me that 3 megabyte file you promised me in 1997?


upload.wikimedia.org

I told you once.
 
2013-07-12 01:25:52 PM

dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.


You've been able to recover what has been typed from old typewriter ribbons fairly reliably for a long time.  You don't think the NSA handled this problem a few generations ago?

/ Didn't mean this to be snarky.
//  Pissy mood.
 
2013-07-12 01:27:16 PM

hork_monkey: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

You've been able to recover what has been typed from old typewriter ribbons fairly reliably for a long time.  You don't think the NSA handled this problem a few generations ago?

/ Didn't mean this to be snarky.
//  Pissy mood.


OK, now get access to those ribbons.

/Even pissier.
//And I used to work for the NSA.
///Typewriter ribbons aren't their bailiwick.  That's the CIA.
 
2013-07-12 01:27:43 PM

StaleCoffee: whither_apophis: FullMetalPanda: dittybopper: Actually makes sense, and it's why I use a manual typewriter to make one time pads:  No data remanence issues.

They can tell exactly what you're typing by just hearing you type

I think it was in "Spycatcher" he talked about listening to typewriters to try and pick out the unique sounds of each key. Also on electric typewriters give off EM radiation that can be analyzed as well.

While the keystroke analysis sounds kind of absurd, grabbing the em radiation is called Van Eck phreaking. I have never got around to building an eckbox to try it but the have been proof of concepts done to make it a real security issue.


The keystroke analysis could be based on the idea that every hammer travels a different distance from its resting point to the point of impact, and then returns the same distance. That doesn't seem trivial to analyze when someone is typing quickly; you have three sounds for each key, and you need to sort them all out. But it definitely doesn't seem impossible.
 
2013-07-12 01:30:26 PM

naz-drala: wouldn't it be easier to just use a computer not connected to any networks and with the USB ports cemented up like the DoD?


Yeah, 'cause that's worked *SO* well for them.
 
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