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151493.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:09 am Reply with quote

One of the earliest historic uses of “steganography” (as opposed to cryptography, which hides the meaning of a message, steganography hides the existence of the message) comes from Herodotus.

A noble, named Harpagus, sought revenge on a king who had “previously tricked him into eating his own son.” (Isn’t that a wonderful line?) To communicate secretly with an ally, Harpagus put his message inside a dead hare and sent a messenger disguised as a hunter to deliver it. (It got through, and the bad king was overthrown.)

S: Code breaker by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary (Random House, 2007).

151494.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:10 am Reply with quote

Number 41 on the list of essential womanly skills, as set out in the Kama Sutra, is the ability to solve riddles and enigmas and use covert speech. The art of understanding cipher is also much prized.

S: Code breaker by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary (Random House, 2007).

151496.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:15 am Reply with quote

The original “agony columns” were the personal ads in Victorian newspapers, where young lovers would communicate in code. Amateur cryptanalysts used to delight in cracking the codes, and chuckling over the naughty contents of the secret messages. Two codebreakers in particular, Charles Wheatstone and Lyon Playfair, first Baron Playfair of St Andrews, enjoyed this somewhat cruel hobby.

One correspondence that they hacked into was between an Oxford student and his beloved, in the Times. The point came when the student suggested elopement. Wheatstone placed his own advertisement in the paper, telling them not to be so silly. The final message in the series duly appeared: “Dear Charlie: Write no more. Our cipher is discovered!”

S: Code breaker by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary (Random House, 2007).

151497.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:16 am Reply with quote

In the 1850s, Wheatstone invented a new kind of cipher. He and Playfair took it to the Foreign Office, hoping it could be used in the national interest, but the Undersecretary there reckoned it was too complex. Not at all, said Wheatstone, give me fifteen minutes and I could teach it to three out of four boys at the local elementary school. “That is very possible,” replied the Undersecretary, “but you could never teach it to attaches.”
(The code was eventually taken up by the War Office; it was named the Playfair Cipher, because he had led the lobbying for it.)

S: Code breaker by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary (Random House, 2007).

151707.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:07 pm Reply with quote

The FBI use Manet, Monet and Renoir to hide steganographical messages.

Terrorists use porn.

151711.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:23 pm Reply with quote

What, really?

151720.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:58 pm Reply with quote

Aye, it's mentioned here but I came across it in "some book" which I either read, or read a review of, last year.

That article says that Monet, Renoir or Rembrandt are used.


This was the book

Frederick The Monk
151815.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:41 am Reply with quote

I suppose you could argue that the communication method used in the Babbington Plot was steganography. Mary Queen of Scots received letters hidden in the hollowed out bungs of beer barrels. The official message was "here is some beer", the real message was "smash the state".

Sadly the brewer was working for Walsingham (who may have engineered the entire plot) and mary was caught red-handed.

151842.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:38 am Reply with quote

Messages carried in the ale do get confused, though, don't they? I find that a lot.

160871.  Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:38 pm Reply with quote

This is nothing to do with Encryption, but I’m hoping no-one will notice. I have here a Royal Mail pricing guide, which says, in the small print, “Royal Mail, the Cruciform and the colour red are registered trademarks of Royal Mail Group plc.”

The colour red ... ?

160878.  Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:20 pm Reply with quote

Never mind the colour red, what about the Cruciform?

160975.  Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:21 am Reply with quote

This is more common than you might think Mat, but it will almost certainly a specific shade of red. IIRC Orange, Cadburys, Heinz and BP all have specific shades registered as trade marks.

161018.  Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:59 am Reply with quote

Ah, so what they meant was "This colour red," not "The colour red."

173034.  Wed May 09, 2007 9:39 am Reply with quote

further to trademarking colour, asda have done the same for slapping your arse.

(which will mean nothing to you unless you've seen the adverts)



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