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hyzmarca
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?
Malicant
Navajo, anyone? smile.gif

Also, that girl is my hero of the day. Plain awesome.
Lionhearted
Mwhaha, im fluid in quenyan writing!
btw didnt US use Native Americans to send coded messages during the vietnam war?
Malicant
Funny you should say that... smile.gif
hyzmarca
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.
Naysayer
@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.


[edit: even worse, hyzmarca beat me to it. AND found out that our perp was obviously an Elf-Assassin.]
Malicant
Damn. But still, ancient dead language. Awesome.
Lionhearted
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 ^^
Spike
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...)...
Lionhearted
Seen the Bourne Supremacy?
Obviously they can pick you up as soon as a keyword is spoken anywhere in the world
Naysayer
Oklahoma.


(nap time. now.)
hyzmarca
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.
Lyonheart
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.

Fix-it
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.
toturi
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.
martindv
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."
Fortune
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.
Velocity219e
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 biggrin.gif

make high ex footballs for use on motorways during my elaborate chase scenes will you? hah!
Jaid
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 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]
toturi
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.
jago668
Or just use pig latin type talking in some other language. Like pig latin Turkish.
nathanross
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.
Kanada Ten
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?
jago668
Post it notes and trained delivery ferrets? (or rats if you are lacking in ferrets)
hobgoblin
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"?
Kanada Ten
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 8 2008, 12:04 AM) *
are you thinking lasers or just a "flashlight"?

Lasers, like the old optical datajacks.
Fortune
I'm pretty sure jago668 is referring to lasers, and I also believe there are rules for that type of thing somewhere in SR4.
Kanada Ten
QUOTE
The basic eye laser system features a 'look-to-talk' system, allowing the user to communicate and transmit information via infrared laser to another character with an eye laser system or external laser talk gear.

Looks like they gimped it, but I think autosoft'd drones with smartlink could line up a mobile daisy chain.
jago668
QUOTE (Fortune @ Feb 8 2008, 01:08 AM) *
I'm pretty sure jago668 is referring to lasers, and I also believe there are rules for that type of thing somewhere in SR4.



Actually I was refering to ferrets and rats with post it notes stuck to them that run between members of your team. I think Kanada Ten was refering to lasers.
hobgoblin
hmm, devil rats?
Kanada Ten
QUOTE (jago668 @ Feb 8 2008, 12:25 AM) *
Actually I was refering to ferrets and rats with post it notes stuck to them that run between members of your team. I think Kanada Ten was refering to lasers.

I did have a ferret named Karma once. She died though, staff infection.
Crusher Bob
We always just shot each other with silenced light pistols and holdouts. They can't be intercepted, and most of the light pistols have enough bullets in them that you can fire off a complete code group without having to reload. Besides, it's not like you could actually hurt anyone with a LP, so there was no danger. biggrin.gif
Fortune
QUOTE (jago668 @ Feb 8 2008, 04:25 PM) *
Actually I was refering to ferrets and rats with post it notes stuck to them that run between members of your team. I think Kanada Ten was refering to lasers.


Damn! Need sleep! I blame it on the Quote buttons being in the wrong place. nyahnyah.gif biggrin.gif
Kyoto Kid
...Ne loš ideja izgleda kao možda Violet potreba to raskopati Hrvatski

?ו ?ולי פשוט נדבק לבן המקו? שלה ידיש...

...though I like the encryption that uses LPs & holdouts grinbig.gif
nathanross
QUOTE (Kanada Ten)
I did have a ferret named Karma once. She died though, staff infection.

Is it just me or is that just ironic? Im sorry for your loss, but I just cant help but find that hillarious. rotfl.gif
Ravor
I don't know, personally I'd allow a person to run an unknown language through a database via an Agent and relatively quickly be able to download the correct 'soft.

Now things might get interesting if everyone on the team was using custom programmed 'softs to use a bunch of different languages grabled in code, but that would probably take way more effort then it's worth considering that for quick communications even Sixth World encryption is good enough as long as the team is relatively careful in what they say.
Kyoto Kid
...encryption through polylingual means was where I was heading next, but it is late and I am feeling my intellectual capacity fading to the level of the Short One.

...the several pints of beer haven't helped either

...moj hoverkraft je bremenit eels
Blade
It wouldn't be too hard to decrypt: use some expert agent to guess the language in use (or the language family) then use the corresponding translating software (or linguasoft). But even then, using another language is nothing else than mapping words to other words, a classic encryption trick. You can also choose to use the nth word following the one you're saying in some dictionary or something like that.
Or you can simply agree on some mapping:
http://www.shadowforums.com/cyber-espace/spip.php?article219

But actually, it'll be the same as with a custom made encryption program: you'll be safe until the opponent can find the pattern which'll depend on how much you speak and what other information the opposition can gather (if you shout "tortoise' each time you see a drone, it won't be too long to figure it out). I house-ruled the encryption rules and give modifiers according to this... I think it's the best way to handle it without getting too much into the details.
Lionhearted
QUOTE
...moj hoverkraft je bremenit eels


dutch?


QUOTE
Ne loš ideja izgleda kao možda Violet potreba to raskopati Hrvatski


croatian?


The altogther best way to confuse people would be to use a pidgin of made up languages mixed with some real, Lingos is always more fun aswell ^^
(How about Kligon/Khuzdul (tolkien dwarvish)/Esperanto?)
Velocity219e
QUOTE (Lionhearted @ Feb 8 2008, 11:30 AM) *
dutch?




croatian?


The altogther best way to confuse people would be to use a pidgin of made up languages mixed with some real, Lingos is always more fun aswell ^^
(How about Kligon/Khuzdul (tolkien dwarvish)/Esperanto?)


Okay when I made my first post I was half asleep, this time I'm half awake wink.gif now.... would it be possible to hack up a linguasoft (I mean they are programmed right?) and burn off say one teams worth of chips in a one off, and have different wordgroups in different languages, in simple terms I guess (and I'm saying random languages here, I guess they'd have to be in some way compatible really) 25% of the words in Mandarin chinese, 25% in egyptian, 25% in spanish and 25% in hell Klingon whatever.

There is a reason I have to GM all the bloody time nyahnyah.gif

since all the chips in use are identical and they aren't being interpreted by you at all but by the linguasoft then presumably fed to you I don't see that it'd make a massive amount of difference that you were swtiching between them on a per word basis, my reasoning for this is as has been said it probably wouldn't be SO difficult to set an SK/Agent/sprite to work on sampling searching and decoding languages at a time, but if you swamp them with jobs it goes from being easy to possibly not even worth the effort. Especially if you spend 90% of your chatter time talking either total nonsense ala "banana hasp time rampage dog cyberarm hamfisted left" just to throw translators into a frenzy of trying to decode your 'Encryption cypher'

oh and just touching briefly on Signalling lasers, we used to use them at work for a client who had two offices on different sides of the street wireless was considered too open to abuse for a law firm sharing client and legal data so we nailed two enclosures to the outside walls that looked just like CCTV cameras pointing at each other, choose a random frequency line em up and plug em into a network and you have a pretty much iron clad wireless network between two offices, not very fast like, but enough to share internet / email / transfer client data to the servers over night, the only problems were it was a bitch if the power went out and the UPS didn't keep em up, sometimes you had to reset them manually and it was complicated, and pidgeons would sit on the blasted things and sometimes push them out of line of sight, but it took a shitload of pidgeons.
It trolls!
Bavarian.

Trust me, noone will understand you!
MaxHunter
For my games, I rather leave encryption on the abstract side, and using language mixes eventually becomes a sort of encryption, as someone here already pointed out.

Also, the potential for miscommunication arises when you are translating one code into another that does not mirror it exactly (as is the case with languages) IMO it will become dangerously unreliable if you got three + extra languages into the mix.

On the other hand, I love slang, and it sure is extremely hard to get for someone not in the in-group. South american spanish gang slang I know some and it makes for real colorful impossible to translate communication, there are just too many connotations and nuances to get it right if you don't belong.

Cheers,

Max
Crisp
Once ago, in a French cyberpunk RPG I once read, they mentioned something like this. They said that certain organized well-funded crime outfits used chips (skillsofts in SR terms) with made up languages to communicate in public without danger of being overheard.

In SR this already happens to some degree. If I recall correctly it's mentioned in one or two places that teams of Celedyr's operatives often talk in obscure languages exactly for this reason. It makes sense, after all Celedyr is said to be fascinated with languages and communication in all forms.

Besides, encryption in SR4 is rather weak.
Feshy
The ironic thing is that the young boy's hieroglyphics would have worked well in Shadowrun, but in the real world actual encryption would have worked much better. Didn't he have a java-capable cell phone to keep notes on? Should have spent the time hacking up his own home-grown encryption engine, like I did as a wee tyke (it needlessly used RSA even for secret keys; I never did trust DES.)

Well, I don't know how old he is. I used variable-length substitution algorithms (multiple letters into a single symbol, multiple symbols into a single letter, essentially several thousand potential symbols mapping to several thousand potential letter combinations in an ever-changing pattern) until I was able to dumpster-dive my first computer at 12 or so.

Er... that is to say... Uh... good thing they caught him before he actually hurt anyone?

Word-level substitution (e.g. using another language) can actually be pretty effective. If you are careful to avoid repeating words, and the opposition can't pick out the language (either because you made it up or they have no access to native speakers) then it is nearly impossible to break because of the lack of context. With no repeats and no recognizable words to give away the language, it's like a one time pad (except that you'll have grammar clues and such -- so make sure to speak in clipped phrases instead of full sentences.) Of course, that's pretty hard to do. How many synonyms for "patrol drone with an assault cannon headed this way" are there?

On the other hand, if you only have a dozen substitutions like the mob did way back when, it's a less effective strategy.
"Did you bring the bread?"
"Yea, I'm packin' bread."
"Is the bread loaded?"
"Yea, it's loaded."
"Good, let's go bake this guy."
Kyoto Kid
...Lionhearted: Both were Croatian.

For Pidgin, there is always Mock Swedish: Svürn de hürn de Börk Börk

It trolls!: rotfl.gif (Spent almost a year there back in the 70s)

Feshy: I would see it possibly working if worded thus:

Hitman 1: "Did you bring the bread?"
Hitman 2: "Got a full loaf"
Hitman 1: "Is it tasty?"
Hitman 2: "Yeah, it's multigrain."
Hitman 1: "Good, let's shake and bake."
Feshy
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Feb 8 2008, 10:54 AM) *
...Lionhearted: Both were Croatian.

For Pidgin, there is always Mock Swedish: Svürn de hürn de Börk Börk

It trolls!: rotfl.gif (Spent almost a year there back in the 70s)

Feshy: I would see it possibly working if worded thus:

Hitman 1: "Did you bring the bread?"
Hitman 2: "Got a full loaf"
Hitman 1: "Is it tasty?"
Hitman 2: "Yeah, it's multigrain."
Hitman 1: "Good, let's shake and bake."


It'd be even better with some crossover terminology.

Hitman 1: "Did you bring the bread?"
Hitman 2: "Yea. 15 grains in this bread. Baked in a teflon coated bake pan. Stops cops better than a doughnut."

Still, I'd prefer using a Mindnet spell, and broadcasting some well-encrypted lies...
knasser
I forsee problems with that, though. It reminds me of the dialogue from 51st State:

Gangster 1: You told me to take care of him.
Gangster 2: I meant to take care of him, not fuckin' take care of him!

biggrin.gif
bibliophile20
My next hacker character will have level 3 or 4 in both Klingon and Mando'a thanks to this conversation. grinbig.gif
Ravor
Naw, just buy a couple of 'softs. cyber.gif
bibliophile20
QUOTE (Ravor @ Feb 8 2008, 02:42 PM) *
Naw, just buy a couple of 'softs. cyber.gif

Nah, those will be for the rest of the team so they can understand what he's saying... biggrin.gif
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