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Spies communicate via MMOs?

crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon

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?

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Comments

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Why do they need to do that? There are easier ways. Just use yahoo mail and put encription/code on it. Why add one more layer of information?
  • crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Why do they need to do that? There are easier ways. Just use yahoo mail and put encription/code on it. Why add one more layer of information?

    Mainly because Yahoo, and lots of other big companies work in tandom with the U.S. government?  I dunno, I figured it would be preferable not to use a western owned company...since they can be indicted for information.

     

    Also in some Eastern countries access to western owned search engines/services is limited.  However MMO access seems a lot easier to get (think China...)

  • spookydomspookydom BristolPosts: 1,782Member Uncommon
    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! 

    image

  • fat_taddlerfat_taddler Wanaque, NJPosts: 286Member

    I've thought about this too, seems like an easy way to communicate off the grid per se. 

    I've heard that Al Qaeda uses web mail but never sends it, they simply share the email account and save emails to the Drafts folder then update them with their responses.   The FBI / CIA are already aware of it but it's a pretty slick move. 

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    In the terrorist comedy film Four Lions, the terrorists communicate via Penguin characters in a kids MMO.
  • crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by fat_taddler

    I've thought about this too, seems like an easy way to communicate off the grid per se. 

    I've heard that Al Qaeda uses web mail but never sends it, they simply share the email account and save emails to the Drafts folder then update them with their responses.   The FBI / CIA are already aware of it but it's a pretty slick move. 

    I think it's funny that I'm told to put my tin-foil hat on, because god knows stranger things have never been done by spies..

     

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/02/nations-spies-w/

     

    FBI looking for terrorist in world of warcraft....

     

    Am I that crazy?

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    This reminds me of that bit in 4 lions where they use that kids mmo with the lime green and pink penguins.
  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    Hmmm I would think there would be better ways, such as burrner cell phones,   communicating text via in game is going to be picked up a lot easier for the fbi/cia types as it is text, and trust me these guys monitor stuff like that.  

    I would think they would want something to where the could incrypt their comunications vi satilite phone, burrner cell phones, and short wave raidio.   

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Do ref beat me to it.

    "never mind brother crow, you are in heaven now with 40 crow virgins"

    Top film
  • crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by erictlewis

    Hmmm I would think there would be better ways, such as burrner cell phones,   communicating text via in game is going to be picked up a lot easier for the fbi/cia types as it is text, and trust me these guys monitor stuff like that.  

    I would think they would want something to where the could incrypt their comunications vi satilite phone, burrner cell phones, and short wave raidio.   

    I'm thinking more along the lines of communication with hard to reach sources...people that the spy has turned that may be in hard to contact places, where it's not really feasible to give them a bunch of equipment...but logging into an MMO would not be seens as suspicious..

  • crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by WHYSOMAD
    Originally posted by crysent
    Originally posted by fat_taddler

    I've thought about this too, seems like an easy way to communicate off the grid per se. 

    I've heard that Al Qaeda uses web mail but never sends it, they simply share the email account and save emails to the Drafts folder then update them with their responses.   The FBI / CIA are already aware of it but it's a pretty slick move. 

    I think it's funny that I'm told to put my tin-foil hat on, because god knows stranger things have never been done by spies..

     

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/02/nations-spies-w/

     

    FBI looking for terrorist in world of warcraft....

     

    Am I that crazy?

      Don't believe everything you read kids, prime example.

    Right - because it's completely absurd to think the U.S. government would look at MMO's as a possible recruitment tool of extreme fundamentalist.  Very absurd..I see your point..

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,276Member Uncommon

    Spies do communicate through MMOs.  I spy on people in MMOs all the time, and sometimes communicate with them as well.

     

    I'm spying on all of you right now...

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


    image

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Prisons and universities if its anything like the UK.
  • crysentcrysent cedar rapids, IAPosts: 837Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    Spies do communicate through MMOs.  I spy on people in MMOs all the time, and sometimes communicate with them as well.

     

    I'm spying on all of you right now...

    You must be that odd Charr that's been following my Asura around all morning...

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by crysent
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Why do they need to do that? There are easier ways. Just use yahoo mail and put encription/code on it. Why add one more layer of information?

    Mainly because Yahoo, and lots of other big companies work in tandom with the U.S. government?  I dunno, I figured it would be preferable not to use a western owned company...since they can be indicted for information.

     

    Also in some Eastern countries access to western owned search engines/services is limited.  However MMO access seems a lot easier to get (think China...)

    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.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Do ref beat me to it.

    "never mind brother crow, you are in heaven now with 40 crow virgins"

    Top film

    Rubber dinghy rapids!!!!!

  • dotdotdashdotdotdash Llandrindod WellsPosts: 364Member
    Originally posted by crysent

    Right - because it's completely absurd to think the U.S. government would look at MMO's as a possible recruitment tool of extreme fundamentalist.  Very absurd..I see your point..

    Yeah, because America doesn't have another agency that's specifically dedicated to cyberspying, right?

    Unless the FBI have reason to believe an individual or group is recruiting through World of Warcraft (or any other MMO), they are not likely to "man the phones". More likely is that the NSA are using their fancy algorithms to automatically screen and stored data for profiling, because that's precisely what the NSA is there to do.

  • dotdotdashdotdotdash Llandrindod WellsPosts: 364Member
    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.

  • ElsaboltsElsabolts Greencastle, INPosts: 2,594Member Uncommon

    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.

    image

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    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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    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • DrakynnDrakynn The Pas, MBPosts: 2,030Member
    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.
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,981Member Uncommon
    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.

    image

    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.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
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  • DewmDewm Soldotna, AKPosts: 1,341Member
    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.

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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,773Member Uncommon

    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.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,773Member Uncommon
    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.

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