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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Spies communicate via MMOs?

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49 posts found
  Aeonblades

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/12/12
Posts: 2123

2/08/13 11:41:30 AM#21
Originally posted by spookydom
The black fox eats pies at midnight and is a happy fellow!.................Hang on?......Where did I post this?.........OH CRAP! POSITION COMPROMISED! ABORT ABORT! 

Hahahahaha perfect.

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  Drakynn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

2/08/13 12:08:06 PM#22
This is something that has been portrayed in T.V shows and may even be real life suspiscions in certain agencies aroudn the world but I don't believe there has been one confrimed instance of said nefarious activities.I might be wrong and have no wish to do an exhaustive search for proof one way or another jsut stating I've enver cem across any confirmation in my wanderings.
  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 19095

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

2/08/13 12:13:05 PM#23
Originally posted by Elsabolts

Shawn Smith tried to get a message to his cohearts at Langley before he was killed in Libya through Eve. The Goonies got quite for abit also.

I know he was gaming with his corp mates before he died, and did share some information about the attacks but not sure anyone every proved/confirmed he was trying to get information to any of his employers.

 

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  Dewm

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/29/09
Posts: 1341

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

2/08/13 12:16:42 PM#24
Originally posted by WHYSOMAD
Originally posted by crysent

Alright - It's a serious question, I know it sounds a bit silly, but, I've been thinking about this for sometime now.

 

Do you think spies may utilize mmo's to communicate with sources or eachother or their home agency by using various mmo systems? (in game email and chat?).

It seems it would be rather easy to get away with, especially if you used a mmo themed communication code.  If you did it through some random small game from a country other than the U.S. it would be very hard for any govenment to get logs and records if they were suspicious.

Anyway, I know it might sound a bit ridiculous, but was just something that has crossed my mind from time to time...wondering what other people think?

I have a tinfoil hat for you...

In all seriousness tho... They use propriatary software that is VPN'd and Encrypted on there own WAN.

...you know not what you speak young one..

 

this is how it really reads "They use propriatary software that is Virtual Private Network'd and encrypted on there own Wide Area Network?

 

...makes no sense...at all. Go back to school please.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

2/08/13 12:25:28 PM#25

With the rise of computers to handle encryption, there's no need for the older methods of using words with secret meanings in spambot-like word salad messages.  The latter runs far too high of a risk of getting broken.

I don't know if spy agencies feel the need to use a one-time pad for unbreakable encryption--well, unbreakable unless the spy gets caught and his "pad" gets confiscated.  But having a massive one-time pad without it being obvious that that's what it is is much easier than it used to be.  Consumer USB flash drives can be had for well under $1/GB and are commonly used by the general public, so having one or three isn't suspicious.

Furthermore, having a bunch of media files on a USB flash drive makes it easy to cover up that there is any encryption involved.  You change the least significant bits to encode your message, while leaving the rest of the media file unchanged.  The human eye can't tell that anything has changed.  Then you send pictures of your kids or lolcats or game screenshots or whatever by whatever means with text saying you think this is really cool, and the message is encoded in the picture.

I don't know if that's what spies actually do; it probably isn't.  But it would be both more cryptographically secure and less obvious that it was passing spy data than using a mail system in a game.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13395

2/08/13 12:30:19 PM#26
Originally posted by dotdotdash
Originally posted by nariusseldon

But there are many companies providing email, not just the big ones. And so what if they work with US government? It is not like the US government cannot ask Blizz to hand over their MMO data.

Plus, it is a needle in the hay stack problem. Even if yahoo agree to work with the US government, do you know how many accounts they have? And you can make one on the fly MUCH easier than making a MMO account.

If the US Government wanted that data, and it was deemed a matter of nation security, they would ask the NSA to get it. They would not ask Blizzard to hand it over.

I'm not sure if the NSA is the relevant agency there; Blizzard is an American company and the FBI is the agency that typically deals with domestic concerns.  But even if it was, how do you think the NSA would get it?  There's a good chance that it would be by asking Blizzard to hand it over.

What Blizzard would do with such a request likely depends on the nature of the request, whether they believe it's a serious threat, and what the law says they have to do.  If you were running a game company and the government came to you saying that spies were using your game to communicate and they want all the data you have on ten particular accounts, would you really turn them away?  On the other hand, if the government wanted a complete copy of all the game data you've ever recorded so they could go on a fishing expedition, you'd probably be a lot more skeptical.

  BitterClinger

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 208

2014 Watch List: World of Warships, ArcheAge

2/08/13 12:42:22 PM#27
"Chopstiks to SpicyBeef, Chopstiks to SpicyBeef... Take the knife out of the kitchen and kill the dog... repeat... take the knife out of the kitchen and kill the dog... end message."

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  BitterClinger

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 208

2014 Watch List: World of Warships, ArcheAge

2/08/13 12:44:28 PM#28
Darn, I see someone has already beat me to it.

Top Games Played JAN 2014: World of Warplanes, Guild Wars 2, World of Tanks

  Goatgod76

Novice Member

Joined: 6/24/06
Posts: 1226

2/08/13 12:47:46 PM#29
Originally posted by crysent

Alright - It's a serious question, I know it sounds a bit silly, but, I've been thinking about this for sometime now.

 

Do you think spies may utilize mmo's to communicate with sources or eachother or their home agency by using various mmo systems? (in game email and chat?).

It seems it would be rather easy to get away with, especially if you used a mmo themed communication code.  If you did it through some random small game from a country other than the U.S. it would be very hard for any govenment to get logs and records if they were suspicious.

Anyway, I know it might sound a bit ridiculous, but was just something that has crossed my mind from time to time...wondering what other people think?

Why not. It's possible.

Islamic Terrorist groups have been found to put encrypted messages buried in porn sites to one another...since such things are against their religion...no one thought to look there for quite some time.

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

2/08/13 12:56:55 PM#30
Originally posted by Goatgod76
Originally posted by crysent

Alright - It's a serious question, I know it sounds a bit silly, but, I've been thinking about this for sometime now.

 

Do you think spies may utilize mmo's to communicate with sources or eachother or their home agency by using various mmo systems? (in game email and chat?).

It seems it would be rather easy to get away with, especially if you used a mmo themed communication code.  If you did it through some random small game from a country other than the U.S. it would be very hard for any govenment to get logs and records if they were suspicious.

Anyway, I know it might sound a bit ridiculous, but was just something that has crossed my mind from time to time...wondering what other people think?

Why not. It's possible.

Islamic Terrorist groups have been found to put encrypted messages buried in porn sites to one another...since such things are against their religion...no one thought to look there for quite some time.

That might explain my urge to build a suicide vest.

  Volgore

Tipster

Joined: 6/15/08
Posts: 1963

Posts deleted: 12589457

2/08/13 12:57:10 PM#31

According to my latest top secret information they don't always use MMOs, but they communicate via this forum alot.

Don't tell anybody who told you this!!

  L0C0Man

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/30/09
Posts: 919

2/08/13 1:46:31 PM#32
Originally posted by Volgore

According to my latest top secret information they don't always use MMOs, but they communicate via this forum alot.

Don't tell anybody who told you this!!

Actually, according to my sources the words "sandbox" and "themepark" are actually top secret codes to describe terrorist target attacks.

(waves at the bored NSA intern that is now trying to read years of sandbox Vs. themepark threads looking for some secret codes).. :)

What can men do against such reckless hate?

  Barrikor

Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/07
Posts: 317

2/08/13 3:02:34 PM#33

Reason the terrorists can't use MMOs to communicate:


.
MMO Player >>>> ISP >>>> Backbone >>>> Host >>>> MMO Server
MMO Player <<<< ISP <<<< Backbone <<<< Host <<<< MMO Server
.


Inside the US the ISPs run software for NSA (made by FBI though) that filters and records data that reaches the ISP (Ex: for every website you view it runs twice) Outside the US, CIA taps the main wires (what we'd call the Backbone just not as good) and NSA gets the data. They've tried monitoring the backbone in the US too (They were caught splicing AT&T's wires) but it's not as easy as doing it on the ISP level, and not really very legal either, so they stepped away from that for now.


For an MMO that's the data packets your computer sends to the MMO server and the packets it sends to you. I've never heard of MMO companies trying to encrypt the packets, so the NSA would get plain text. If the terrorists try to use a code that would just make things obvious.

There's the overhead of having to (maybe) spend money (traceable) to log into the game, and that the NSA could learn your game name fast, and that if the NSA took over your account you'd have a hard time trying to warn your contact... It wouldn't work that good.


------------------


What Al-Qaeda does (last I heard) is they encrypt the data and then cryptograph it into digital pictures. (encryption = makes unreadable, cryptography = makes undetectable)

Ex: a medium size picture in the internet might have the size of 400x300 pixels. This gives us 120,000 pixels to play with.

Each pixel has at least 3 variables, normally the primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) or RGB for short, each with a value between 0 and 255 (there's also RGBA and color palettes but we'll stick with RGB for this). If you change any of the RGB values by one or two, the human eye cannot detect that the image has changed at all. Assuming we have both the changed picture and the unchanged one, We could easily convert this to binary by taking an unchanged color value as 0 and a changed color value as 1.


2 value states make 1 bit. So now we have 1 bit per: 3 colors, 400 pixels long, 300 pixels high.

3 × 400 × 300 = 360,000 bits
360,000 bits ÷ 8 = 45,000 bytes
45,000 bytes ÷ 1024 = 43.9 kilobytes


So, on our medium-sized picture, we can encode 43kb of data without anyone seeing any difference in the picture quality. The bigger the picture the more data it can hold.


All the terrorists need is an easy place to post hi-res pictures without NSA noticing; hence the porn sites that Goatgod76 mentioned.

Grand Canyon Studios | Projects: Pith Framework (0.5), CactusGUI (0.3) | Planning: Ant Battles, Pirate Tide

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

2/08/13 3:06:44 PM#34
Originally posted by crysent

Anyway, I know it might sound a bit ridiculous, but was just something that has crossed my mind from time to time...wondering what other people think?

Pretty much everything you say and do in an MMO is logged.  That's generally not something I expect a spy would be looking for in a communications channel.

( then again, some have reportedly thought they could get away with using the drafts folder of webmail systems as a dropbox to escape email scans  ... so who knows, anything that looks normal and boring I suppose; not a world I really want to play in )

  waynejr2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3735

RIP City of Heroes!

2/08/13 3:07:04 PM#35
Originally posted by crysent

Alright - It's a serious question, I know it sounds a bit silly, but, I've been thinking about this for sometime now.

 

Do you think spies may utilize mmo's to communicate with sources or eachother or their home agency by using various mmo systems? (in game email and chat?).

It seems it would be rather easy to get away with, especially if you used a mmo themed communication code.  If you did it through some random small game from a country other than the U.S. it would be very hard for any govenment to get logs and records if they were suspicious.

Anyway, I know it might sound a bit ridiculous, but was just something that has crossed my mind from time to time...wondering what other people think?

 I can neither confirm nor deny that.

  Vrika

Elite Member

Joined: 10/03/05
Posts: 2045

2/08/13 3:48:14 PM#36

I think professional spies would rather encrypt the data using multiple algorithms, split the encrypted data into at least two, and then send those parts through different routes.

Sending part of the data through something like World of Warcraft's addon data -channel masked as data from addon to another might not be unrealistic. But I think it's unrealistic that modern day spies would rely on something as simple as mmo-themed codes. If they really want to keep something hidden, there are better ways to do it.

  dave6660

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Joined: 9/26/08
Posts: 2344

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2/08/13 3:55:07 PM#37
In other news, enemy staplers are spying on classified documents.

"Why so serious?"
-- The Joker

  User Deleted
2/08/13 3:55:58 PM#38
I'm pretty sure the spies are communicating in the Wizzad101 givaway thread today...
  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2233

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

2/08/13 5:15:05 PM#39

I don't know about spies sending information, but...

...Funds?

The interesting thing about game currency is that it isn't "recognized" as a currency per se under most laws.  But it can be converted into currency.  Transactions that might land someone in jail if conducted in dollars (like drugs, porn, or aid to terrorists) aren't real "transactions" by law when done in game currency.

Part of the reason governments are looking into taxing virtual currency is to give the virtual currency some legal status.  Because you can't charge someone with selling illegal drugs, when the thing the drugs are transacted for doesn't legally exist.

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  FromHell

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Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1338

2/08/13 5:30:03 PM#40

I always get wary if I see the russians writing something with their spacey russian characters in general chats of different MMOs. They're coming for us, mark my word. And the chinese folks. And the Illuminati.

It's all happening in the Secret World, it's THE MMO for conspiracy theorists.

/tinfoil hat

 

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