Numbers Broadcast

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Pontius Navigator
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Numbers Broadcast

#1 Post by Pontius Navigator » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:27 am

There is a diverting thread on TOP about Cold War spy radios etc. I recalled these broadcasts and predictably found an entry in wiki. For your interest:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_station

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#2 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:28 am

I wonder how many intelligence agencies play the numbers game midst the white noise on the internet in JPEG images and the like on innocuous sites, like this one even?

01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100101 01101110 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101100 01101001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101001 01101110 00101110 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01110101 01110011 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100101 01101110
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#3 Post by Capetonian » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:35 am

When I used to play around with radios, short wave, etc, there were a few stations that did USB (Upper Side Band) voice broadcasts of strings of numbers, single digits, in German read out by a woman with a monotonous voice.

SIEBEN ACHT ZWO NULL VIER EINS SECHS NEUN DREI FUNF DREI DREI NULL ACHT .......

Apparently it was something to do with met reports.
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#4 Post by Boac » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:54 am

No, Cape - they were trying to activate you.

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#5 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:31 am

Boac wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:54 am
No, Cape - they were trying to activate you.
As so now we know who the infamous "Kaapse Klong" agent was!

Famous for this cryptic message.. Ease Mojo Pus. Only Kaapse Klong and Capetonian will know what that message means. :))
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#6 Post by Pontius Navigator » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:19 pm

Caoer, that's t he one, see the wiki link. Seems several KGB radios have been unearthed including one in Switzerland t hat was booby trapped.

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#7 Post by ricardian » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:38 pm

TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:28 am
I wonder how many intelligence agencies play the numbers game midst the white noise on the internet in JPEG images and the like on innocuous sites, like this one even?

01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100101 01101110 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101100 01101001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101001 01101110 00101110 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01110101 01110011 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100101 01101110
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#8 Post by ian16th » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:48 pm

Wine improves with age
I improve with wine :YMPARTY:

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#9 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:03 pm

ian16th wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:48 pm
Does this help?
EBCDIC, last worked with that IBM format on the AS400.
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#10 Post by ian16th » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:00 pm

TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:03 pm
ian16th wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:48 pm
Does this help?
EBCDIC, last worked with that IBM format on the AS400.
I was introduced to it in 1965!

Thought that this 8 bit byte thingy was slick.

In 1967 I realised that a 16 bit word was better.
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#11 Post by AtomKraft » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:31 pm

More usually known as "number stations".
Check out, on YouTube maybe.
1. The buzzer.
2. Gongs or chimes.
3. The Lincolnshire Poacher- a British one that!

There is a certain fascination about them, for those fascinated by such stuff.

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#12 Post by G~Man » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:07 pm

TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:28 am
I wonder how many intelligence agencies play the numbers game midst the white noise on the internet in JPEG images and the like on innocuous sites, like this one even?

01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100101 01101110 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101100 01101001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101001 01101110 00101110 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01110101 01110011 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100101 01101110
Decoded:

"This is to all agents listening in. Status green"
B-) Life may not be the party you hoped for, but while you're here, you may as well dance. B-)

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#13 Post by boing » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:43 am

The neat thing about a numbers broadcast is that 99.9% of its transmissions can be total garbage with the "one in a thousand" being useful. This means that a rival decryption facility has to decode the whole thousand transmissions to find the one that may be interesting and then they must break the second level of code to read the contents. The actual intended receiving party can use a "one time pad" as simple as a yesterday's local newspaper for decoding.

The system is cheap to operate requiring basically one operator and a transmitter and it creates its own obfuscation while an unintended receiving party needs to make a considerable effort to decode the signals.

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#14 Post by AtomKraft » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:37 am

Here's 'The buzzer' with a proper look at the station.



Many more out there....

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#15 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:01 am

G~Man wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:07 pm
TheGreenGoblin wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:28 am
I wonder how many intelligence agencies play the numbers game midst the white noise on the internet in JPEG images and the like on innocuous sites, like this one even?

01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100001 01100111 01100101 01101110 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101100 01101001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101001 01101110 00101110 00100000 01010011 01110100 01100001 01110100 01110101 01110011 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100101 01101110
Decoded:

"This is to all agents listening in. Status green"
:-bd

You are a pukka ELINT operator! ;)))
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#16 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:06 am

For those that like this sort of thing there are some very good simulation tools out there...

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#17 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:14 am

boing wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:43 am
The neat thing about a numbers broadcast is that 99.9% of its transmissions can be total garbage with the "one in a thousand" being useful. This means that a rival decryption facility has to decode the whole thousand transmissions to find the one that may be interesting and then they must break the second level of code to read the contents. The actual intended receiving party can use a "one time pad" as simple as a yesterday's local newspaper for decoding.

The system is cheap to operate requiring basically one operator and a transmitter and it creates its own obfuscation while an unintended receiving party needs to make a considerable effort to decode the signals.

.
Really good synopsis of the pro's of the system and, as you say, the message can be further encoded using 128 or, better, AES 256 bit encryption (for example) to slow the would be eavesdropper down some more.

AES Encryption Standard - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance ... n_Standard

Use phase shifting, frequency hopping etc. and the would-be decoders task has just got a lot more difficult...

Signals that look like natural static or noise are great places to hide in plain sight... faux entropy being the best disguise....
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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#18 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:37 am

As a kid I found radio fascinating and used to tinker around with old valve radios and build antennae to pick up signals in both the short and long range frequencies ranges, my ambition in the latter frequency range being thwarted by my father who objected to me stringing the antenna cable through his grape vines in the back garden.

However some of the most interesting signals coming in from the Russian radars and often a whole block of the shortwave band would be be obliterated by the Russian Woodpecker, irritating the local radio hams who were unable to transmit or receive with fellow amateurs around the world. The Russians were completely insouciant about this disruption in their defiance of international regulations and norms and persisted in their provocations, blocking multiple frequency ranges in their pursuit of long range over the horizon radars and communications systems as well, right up to the late 80's...

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#19 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:03 am

For sheer majesty and awe in strange and exotic radio frequencies nothing can beat mother nature and the cosmos itself...

Maybe an advanced alien civilisation will attenuate a pulsar's signal to transmit the meaning of life , the universe and everything.

I must admit I can listen to the sounds of these signals stepped into audio frequency ranges for hours. Perhaps I need help... :)

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Re: Numbers Broadcast

#20 Post by Boac » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:42 am

Here's hoping they are intelligent enough not to attenuate it............ :))

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