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> When nerds go bad (and encrypt communications)., inspired by a real life incident
hyzmarca
post Feb 8 2008, 12:42 AM
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Okay, I'm listening to the local news as I'm surfing and I just heard a story of a 14-year-old girl who was arrested after writing a detailed assasination plan, specifically detailing fellow high school students she was going to kill and how she was going to do it, in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. It took the FBI 24 hours to translate the document, after which she was promptly arrested. Now, I don't want to speculate at what would prompt school officials to send a student's writings in a dead pictographic language to the FBI or how many Egyptologists the FBI employees for translating such documents, though both would be interesting. I find it cooler that a student who was planning the elaborate assassinations of people whom she dislikes (already scores points with me because she didn't just go for the suicidal rampage that most school-shooters use; she actually intended to get away with it) wrote down those plans in a dead pictographic language.

If not for whatever bizarre turn of events that brought the document to the FBI's attention, her plans would have been untranslatable and they would have gone undiscovered until they were brought to fruition.



This, of course, brings us to the greatest idea for Shadowrun, communicating in languages that the opposition is unlikely to know and probably won't have linguasofts for. Encrypted communications can be decrypted fairly easily but does it matter how good the opposition's decryption program is if all of your communications are in Klingon? How much fun would it be to have a Red Samurai overwatch rigger hunting though his chipbox for a Sperethiel linguasoft only to hear total gibberish because that all-elf attack squad is actually speaking Quenya (one of Tolkien's Elf languages)?
The ability to totally defeat any decryption software and the best communication interception techniques simply by communicating in a language of obscure that the people doing to intercepting will not know it is an amazingly useful technique, one that should be used more often. The standard languages are useful for expanding communication, but they have nothing on the more obscure languages for making your communication more obscure. It doesn't even have to be a fictional or dead language. When was the last time you met someone who could speak Basque?
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Malicant
post Feb 8 2008, 01:09 AM
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Navajo, anyone? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Also, that girl is my hero of the day. Plain awesome.
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Lionhearted
post Feb 8 2008, 01:21 AM
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Mwhaha, im fluid in quenyan writing!
btw didnt US use Native Americans to send coded messages during the vietnam war?
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Malicant
post Feb 8 2008, 01:28 AM
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Funny you should say that... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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hyzmarca
post Feb 8 2008, 01:33 AM
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Further research shows that it was a boy with a girl's name and long hair who could probably make a pretty decent Trap if he tried. I don't think that there is any reason to wonder why he'd want to kill a bunch of his classmates. It would have been so much cooler if he was a girl.

Yeah, they used a code based on the Navajo language, which was apparently a simple word-substitution. A tank was called a tortoise, and so on. It was the only code that the Japanese cryptographers couldn't break.
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Naysayer
post Feb 8 2008, 01:37 AM
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@Lionhearted: Navajo were volunteered during WW2 for that. By the time of the Vietnam War, the three remaining Native Americans in the US had been excluded from serving in the forces due to a) business obligatons in casinos, b) unhealthy drinking habits and c) severe fear that they might actually and justifiably defect to Charlie.
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I do take full responsibility for any backlash because of political incorrectness of this statement. If any Native Americans, Viet-Cong or US-Americans feel insulted by this post, I apologize... it is rather late and I am a bad person.


[edit: even worse, hyzmarca beat me to it. AND found out that our perp was obviously an Elf-Assassin.]
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Malicant
post Feb 8 2008, 01:38 AM
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Damn. But still, ancient dead language. Awesome.
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Lionhearted
post Feb 8 2008, 01:40 AM
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QUOTE
@Lionhearted: Navajo were volunteered during WW2 for that. By the time of the Vietnam War

Got the Native american and war part right atleast ^^
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Spike
post Feb 8 2008, 01:58 AM
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So: Chalk me up as the one person who REALLY wants to know how the hell the FBI got onto this... um... girl.

Because, that was virtually dead certain how I was planning to hide the seriously evil shit I had planned for my school back in the day... before I realized I hated doing homework, why the hell was I gonna plan anything, and... I didn't want to study sanskrit (my language of choice...)...
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Lionhearted
post Feb 8 2008, 02:00 AM
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Seen the Bourne Supremacy?
Obviously they can pick you up as soon as a keyword is spoken anywhere in the world
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Naysayer
post Feb 8 2008, 02:04 AM
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Oklahoma.


(nap time. now.)
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hyzmarca
post Feb 8 2008, 02:14 AM
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QUOTE (Spike @ Feb 7 2008, 09:58 PM) *
So: Chalk me up as the one person who REALLY wants to know how the hell the FBI got onto this... um... girl.

Because, that was virtually dead certain how I was planning to hide the seriously evil shit I had planned for my school back in the day... before I realized I hated doing homework, why the hell was I gonna plan anything, and... I didn't want to study sanskrit (my language of choice...)...


School officials confiscated the note and sent it to the local sheriff who, unable to decipher it, sent it to the FBI.
There were apparently some warning signs that the school acted on.
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Lyonheart
post Feb 8 2008, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Feb 7 2008, 07:42 PM) *
How much fun would it be to have a Red Samurai overwatch rigger hunting though his chipbox for a Sperethiel linguasoft only to hear total gibberish because that all-elf attack squad is actually speaking Quenya (one of Tolkien's Elf languages)?


I'd totally have said rigger run a search on random snips of the conversation, have them get 30,000 LotR Fanfic hits, and download the proper Lingasoft.

Tolken lingasofts can be had, but Sandscrit? Oh your boned now.

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Fix-it
post Feb 8 2008, 02:31 AM
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IMHO, language chips and knowsofts would make obscure languages significantly less obscure.

one time pads, pre-arranged signals, and ridiculously large public-key ciphers are the way to go.
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toturi
post Feb 8 2008, 03:11 AM
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How do you recognise a language for what it is when you are not slotting that particular language? You could do a Matrix search for the language but you got to account for accents, dialects and not to mention a mish mash of languages, you could end up listening to some guys talking in Cantonese, Tagalog, Swahili, Orzet and Icelandic all at the same time.

But as Fortune correctly points out, there is no stated limit to the number of Linguasofts you can slot at a time. So if you can afford it, you can presumably have all the world's languages on your sim module. I got mixed up with the Skillwires and Activesofts.
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martindv
post Feb 8 2008, 03:23 AM
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QUOTE (Naysayer @ Feb 7 2008, 09:37 PM) *
@Lionhearted: Navajo were volunteered during WW2 for that. By the time of the Vietnam War, the three remaining Native Americans in the US had been excluded from serving in the forces due to a) business obligatons in casinos, b) unhealthy drinking habits and c) severe fear that they might actually and justifiably defect to Charlie.
I take no responsibility as to the historical correctness of this statement.
I do take full responsibility for any backlash because of political incorrectness of this statement. If any Native Americans, Viet-Cong or US-Americans feel insulted by this post, I apologize... it is rather late and I am a bad person.


Die in a fire.

QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Feb 7 2008, 10:14 PM) *
School officials confiscated the note and sent it to the local sheriff who, unable to decipher it, sent it to the FBI.
There were apparently some warning signs that the school acted on.

Those warning signs being "the weird kid was acting weird."
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Fortune
post Feb 8 2008, 03:32 AM
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QUOTE (toturi @ Feb 8 2008, 02:11 PM) *
Even with Linguasofts, the question is simple: You can only have a limited number of languages active at a time, even if you key all of them in at Skill level 1.


Got a page reference for that? Linguasofts are not Activesofts, and therefore do no require, nor do they fall under the rules for Skillwires.
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Velocity219e
post Feb 8 2008, 03:33 AM
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Next time we do a full group reroll I might see if I can slip past everyone coincidentally picking some really odd language... ^^

what a fabulous way of getting revenge on the next poor fool who agree's to GM Shadowrun so I can kick ass and take names again (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

make high ex footballs for use on motorways during my elaborate chase scenes will you? hah!
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Jaid
post Feb 8 2008, 04:01 AM
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actually, you don't have to bother with learning the language in question. just buy a linguasoft of some weird, random language. better yet if you use different languages each run, so that even if someone knows you always use this trick, they won't be able to just pick up the one linguasoft they need. and certainly, a linguasoft (to be cracked and distributed to everyone on the team) is much cheaper BP-wise than actually learning the language.

[edit] on a side note, it's a good bet most fictional languages are not going to be a terribly good choice for this. it is my understanding that they tend to follow the rules of the language too closely, and are as such an excellent language to translate into and out of for computers, which means it's entirely possible that your latin linguasoft actually uses quenya as a middleman, so to speak (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) on the other hand, languages like english would be an excellent choice... english has many more words than other languages, makes up words, uses words to mean different things, and steals words from other languages whenever it feels like it. now if only it wasn't in such widespread use =P
[/edit]
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toturi
post Feb 8 2008, 04:34 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Feb 8 2008, 11:32 AM) *
Got a page reference for that? Linguasofts are not Activesofts, and therefore do no require, nor do they fall under the rules for Skillwires.

Indeed you are right. Linguasofts only require a Sim Module.
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jago668
post Feb 8 2008, 04:39 AM
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Or just use pig latin type talking in some other language. Like pig latin Turkish.
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nathanross
post Feb 8 2008, 04:43 AM
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The only reason that linguasofts are sold separately is to nickel and dime us to death. The fact that there is software that can not just translate what we hear, but make us understand what is being said is INSANE (I mean this in a good way). You better be speaking something never before heard in the Sixth World omae, cause even then, software they got can instantly compare what you're hearing to a database of all spoken languages and find the root words and even give you a few options as to the meaning. Not even Tolkien is safe (it was after all, based on Finish)

Don't underestimate Technology.
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Kanada Ten
post Feb 8 2008, 04:55 AM
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It seems like directed light communication would be pretty effective with enough drones. Hard to intercept, jamming resistant, though IR smoke could be damaging. Is that covered in the books?
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jago668
post Feb 8 2008, 04:58 AM
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Post it notes and trained delivery ferrets? (or rats if you are lacking in ferrets)
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hobgoblin
post Feb 8 2008, 05:04 AM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten @ Feb 8 2008, 05:55 AM) *
It seems like directed light communication would be pretty effective with enough drones. Hard to intercept, jamming resistant, though IR smoke could be damaging. Is that covered in the books?


are you thinking lasers or just a "flashlight"?
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