The hidden messages

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"Tell me another story."

The police officer looked up from his papers.

"Have I mentioned the public, hidden messages?"

He smiled.

"No, tell me about it."




The hidden messages

”Many years ago I had to find some people who had sending me threat mails. I had lost my e-mail, when I quitted the job, so I figured that I could find the people only if I got into their mailboxes.

I found a group that could help me. But as with all subversive groups, the members are suspicious. It took me three years to get enough cred to make them crack people’s mailboxes for me. Finally I got into the three main suspects’ mailboxes. What I didn’t think about, was that people change computers so all traces were gone.”

He laughed and continued.

“The interesting part with the story is how I earned enough cred. I was not a programmer or a hacker, but I showed enough creativity when it came to how we could distribute commands to the group.

As true hackers, they wanted to be hidden. And it is relatively simple to hide for most people using PGP and other cryptation software for messages and so called safe lines for chats. Remember, this was some years ago. But you recognize a crypted message directly, and with enough data power, you can crack it. So how did we go about sending our messages?

Everyone was connected 24/7 and the only thing we had to agree upon, was the time for our contacts. And since everyone had several e-mail addresses, I thought of using spam as the motor for distributing messages. Depending on the size of the message, we could use the first letter in the header of a series of mails or the first word.

When using spam, the mail no one wants to read, we could act public and still be a secret. And if you did not receive all spams, you could never figure out the message. Some of the guys found a couple of hundred thousand e-mail addresses and domain names we could bomb, and based on those we created a couple of hundred mailing lists for enough variety.  Of course, we made sure that the members in our group received all spams, but the other hundred thousand people only got a fraction of the message.  Some got a word, others got a letter. Decrypt that.”

“It sounds way too complicated.”

“Maybe, but it was effective. The last time I saw it being used was a couple of years ago. I had requested to leave the group, and at 12 o’clock on a Saturday in October, I received my last messages in three spams:

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 "I do not know you anymore."