Russia Fights Cyber-Leaks With Electric Typewriters

Russia Fights Cyber-Leaks With Electric Typewriters

FSO emblem

Russia's Federal Guard Service is battling the problems of the future by returning to the past.

The Federal Guard Service of Russia, also known as the FSO, is responsible for protecting high-ranking Russian officials including the President, according to Wikipedia, and also maintains a secure communications system for their use. That puts it in the not-entirely-enviable position of having to keep an awful lot of very sensitive information under wraps, an increasingly difficult task in this era of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden.

As part of that effort, the FSO is reportedly looking to drop 486,000 rubles - that's about $15,000 - on the clackety-clackety-bing! of electric typewriters. While the agency itself declined to comment, an "FSO source" told Izvestiya, "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents."

Typewriters eliminate a lot of the risks inherent in electronic documentation and each one also has a unique "pattern of type," meaning that specific documents can be traced back to specific machines. That can make life a lot easier for Russian security agencies trying to plug leaks and gives potential leakers something to think about, too.

"From the point of view of security, any means of electronic communication is vulnerable. You can remove any information from a computer. There are means of defense, of course, but there's no 100 percent guarantee they will work," former Federal Security Service Director Nikolai Kovalev said. "So from the point of view of preserving secrets the most primitive methods are preferable: a person's hand and a pen, or a typewriter."

Source: The Telegraph

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In Soviet Russia, typewriter obsoletes computer!

This is just going to result in archers camped outside Moscow, shooting down any ravens they see leave the capital.

Y'know they do have a pretty valid point. The speed of wireless communication of data aside for their purposes a typewriter may well be the best solution.

When confronted with increasingly complicated international cyber-crime, the United States spent billions of dollars over dozens of years to develop more secure network encryption.

Meanwhile, the Russians solved the same problem with a few typewriters.

Does this indicate Russia does not have a mass surveillance program like prism?

flarty:
Does this indicate Russia does not have a mass surveillance program like prism?

If anyone knows how to do mass surveillance, it's Russia.

MinionJoe:
When confronted with increasingly complicated international cyber-crime, the United States spent billions of dollars over dozens of years to develop more secure network encryption.

Meanwhile, the Russians solved the same problem with a few typewriters.

We're talking here about a nation who (as the myth goes) just gave its astronauts pencils while the USA spent millions on making a pen that worked in zero-gravity.

Like the original article states, the introduction of such a system is just as vulnerable to photography, fire or loss. The price you pay for having a tight leash on disseminating information, I suppose. There's also more scope for some items to be purposefully "lost".

IndianaJonny:

We're talking here about a nation who, while the USA spent millions on making a pen that worked in zero-gravity, just gave its astronauts pencils.

I'm glad you caught the comparison I was attempting. :)

Russian technology isn't always the most sophisticated, reliable, or safe, but it always seems to get the job done. There's something admirable in that, I think.

IndianaJonny:

MinionJoe:
When confronted with increasingly complicated international cyber-crime, the United States spent billions of dollars over dozens of years to develop more secure network encryption.

Meanwhile, the Russians solved the same problem with a few typewriters.

We're talking here about a nation who, while the USA spent millions on making a pen that worked in zero-gravity, just gave its astronauts pencils.

Except that never happened, both space agencies originally used pencils in space before deciding they were unsuitable due to the possibility of bit breaking off them. The pens developed for space flights weren't even made by NASA.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

IndianaJonny:
Like the original article states, the introduction of such a system is just as vulnerable to photography, fire or loss.

Yeah, but you can't do that from a basement in Hackistan.

Teoes:
This is just going to result in archers camped outside Moscow, shooting down any ravens they see leave the capital.

Russia is currently working on using it's tunnel system to avoid those pesky Summer Islanders, but they keep running into mutants and they're running low on ammo.

CriticalMiss:
Except that never happened, both space agencies originally used pencils in space before deciding they were unsuitable due to the possibility of bit breaking off them. The pens developed for space flights weren't even made by NASA.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

I stand corrected. :) I've edited the post accordingly.

Pyrian:

IndianaJonny:
Like the original article states, the introduction of such a system is just as vulnerable to photography, fire or loss.

Yeah, but you can't do that from a basement in Hackistan.

....you read my sentence right after that one, didn't you?

Yes. It does not appear to be relevant to what I wrote. So, what?

 

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