The NSA has started a bit of a Tweet-storm, this morning the followers of the NSACareers Twitter account noticed a curious cryptic message sent from the careers account of the Agency.
Coincidentally, just this morning I published a blog post on the use of steganography through twitter, so once again we are talking about the exploitation of social media, this time focusing on encryption of the messages.
To the layman the tweet appeared as a bad pocket tweet, the conspiracy theorists were alarmed by the secret code that was interpreted as a mysterious message to a dark fringe of the Intelligence.
The text of the tweet is:
Is the message the last blatant way used by the Agency to code a secret message message containing national secrets or spy instructions?
Wake up … this is not a movie!
As explained by Daniel Shealey in a Tweet sent to The Washington Post, the mysterious text in teality is a simple substitution cipher.
On the Internet there are numerous decoders that allow the rapid resolution of the text.
“Its just a simple substitution cipher. There are tonnes of decoders out there. http://www.quipqiup.com/index.php Just paste+solve.” tweeted Shealey.
The original clear message is:
want to know what it takes to work at nsa? check back each monday as we explore careers essential to protecting your nation.
An NSA spokeswoman explained to the Daily Dot, the agency is known for its “code markers and code breakers,” and that the tweet was “part of our recruitment efforts to attract the best and the brightest.”
The initiative has provoked much controversy, many security experts are convinced that this is not the correct way to operate. I think that is too early to make judgments, whatever they have in mind are those at the NSA, they were able to catalyze great attention to the initiative, so for now congratulations to their communication department.
According the tweet we have to wait until next Monday, maybe for another encoded tweet.
In this days, another curious phenomenon is focusing the attention of the media, a series of mysterious videos was published on a YouTube channel since Septemper 2013. Who posted them and what is their meaning? Aliens, intelligence … or is it just another marketing operation?
The Washington Post described it with following statement:
“Webdriver is a YouTube channel with a simple, impenetrable premise. Every hour or so, the channel posts a new 11-second sequence of red and blue boxes moving around the screen. The account ran from September 2013 until mid-April, when it mysteriously stopped; recently, the uploads have begun again. According to one theory, the channel could be a modern “numbers station” – cryptic radio signals used during the Cold War to send messages to spies. According to another, the videos are communications from aliens.”
Intrigued … disturbed? This is another face of social media exploitation.
(Security Affairs – social media, NSA)