8 Espionage Hacks To Outsmart The Masters Of Miscommunication

Authored by Nicole James via The Epoch Times,

In the era of pervasive surveillance reminiscent of Orwellian nightmares, old-school Cold War hacks have staged a comeback, offering a clandestine refuge for the exchange of information.

As Big Brother looms large on every screen, the savvy practitioner must resurrect time-tested techniques to outsmart the puppeteers of miscommunication particularly in the face of impending legal consequences for government-designated purveyors of deceit.

Here, in the spirit of cloak-and-dagger intrigue, are eight tried-and-true methods to outwit the masters of miscommunication:

1. Auslan, Elvish, Klingon

Elevate your discourse to heights beyond the reach of prying bureaucrats. There are many mythical languages you can learn that government agents and their goons are unlikely to master, such as conversational Klingon.

Start with simple phrases but be careful as a seemingly anodyne statement such as “xɑb ʂoʂ.ˈlɪʔ q͡χut͡ʃ” which is pronounced “Hab SoSlI’ Quch” and means “Your mother has a smooth forehead” is, as Star Trek fans know, a grave insult.

It may be worth memorising, “mIpHa’wI’ vIVumlaH?” (Where can I get a fake vaccine passport?) which is bound to be useful.

Traditionalists might favour Elvish, while those with a penchant for hand movements could find sanctuary in the sign language Auslan’s silent eloquence when under surveillance of eavesdropping adversaries.

2. Combustible Notepaper

Add a combustible notebook to your shopping list.

This was used in World War II and contained film that, when triggered by a pencil, would go up in smoke, disappearing in seconds.

The CIA, masters of subterfuge, employed water-soluble paper for note-taking—an item easily disposed of, whether discreetly in a toilet sans flushing, or employed for the mundane task of nose-blowing (albeit with a potential mess).

3. Cryptography

In the realm of artful communication, classical codes emerge as the silent orchestrators of secrecy. The art of rearranging letters or substituting one for another stands as an age-old technique.

Consider the transformation of “The solar panel is booby-trapped” into “Uif tpmbs qbofm jt cppcz usbqqfe,” achieved by a simple letter-by-letter shift.

Julius Caesar used it with a shift of three to communicate with his generals, although messages such as “lchmy nby vfiix izz gs niau” or “rinse the blood off my toga” may have been meant for the local laundromat.

Cryptographic history traces back to ancient Egypt, where the first known code was etched in stone around 1,900 BC. Even the ancient Israelites engaged in the art of Atbash, an early Hebrew code.

For an added layer of protection in these trying times, consider translating conversational Klingon into Abash.

The Enigma coding machine that was used by the Germans in WWII on display at Bletchley Park National Code Centre in Bletchley, England, on Nov. 25, 2004. (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

4. The Dead Drop

The dead drop involves putting a message (usually in code) in seemingly innocuous items.

Picture hollow coins or, for a touch of Dutch—or is it French?—bravery, a bottle of Bolly.

Coins have limited space but can hold messages in microdots, a writing system developed during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War to lighten the load of carrier pigeons. Even the future Queen Elizabeth found solace in these pigeons for her missives.

The most famous case of a hollow coin being intercepted was when a Russian spy accidentally gave his hollow coin to a newspaper boy.

When the boy dropped the coin, the microdot photo fell out, but the secret message was still safe for four years because that’s how long it took the FBI to crack its code.

5. Poetry

Ever thought poetry could be a covert tool? The French Resistance certainly did. They turned verses into codes, using them not just to convey messages but also to spot fellow rebels.

One standout piece was “The Life that I Have,” penned by Leo Marks.

Chelsea Clinton even had it recited at her wedding to Marc Mezvinsky. Was it a subtle nod to some family secret? Maybe in Klingon? We’re not ruling anything out.

6. Pyramid Power

The French Resistance had another trick up its sleeve: the Pyramid structure. This furtive pyramid was built on the notion that members only engaged with one or two comrades.

A shroud of secrecy enveloped the organization as no official records of membership were maintained, and messages traversed only through the sacred conduit of whispered exchanges.

The brilliance lay in limiting exposure; enemy infiltrators, at best, could unmask merely two resistance members, leaving the remainder of the organization veiled in safety.

It worked until it didn’t, with the Gestapo insinuating themselves into the command echelons of select resistance groups.

Trust, a rare commodity in these precarious times, may find a shaky foundation, but discovering someone with a lifetime subscription to The Epoch Times could be a promising initiation.

7. Tying Your Shoelaces

Behold the mystique within the magicians’ code, where the simple act of tying shoelaces transcends its pedestrian facade.

A boy ties his shoelace as he takes an evacuation train with her mother and sister in Pokrovsk amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on Feb. 25, 2023. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images)

Variations in knots carry a covert language, from the ominous “I am going to blow up the wind turbine” to the whimsically perplexing, “The woman standing next to you, I think she likes you.”

Concealing messages in the mundane theatre of daily life remains a timeless strategy.

Proceed with caution, however—tying both shoes together risks not only revealing your covert semaphore but also the perilous pratfall of a well-executed trip.

8. Jack-in-the-Box

In the arsenal of evasive tactics, the Jack-in-the-Box emerges as an unconventional ally, though not necessarily in the realm of communication.

A Jack-in-a-Box was used in 1982 by a CIA agent to evade KGB surveillance.

It is a suitcase that hides a dummy that looks like you from the shoulders up.

If you’re in a car chase, just wait for a sharp turn, open the Jack-in-the-Box, and roll out the passenger door. (Once cars are banned, this may not work as well on a bicycle.)

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