Tuesday, January 16, 2018

OTP Radiograms 101

Last year, I wrote about the fascinating life of the Jack Barsky, a former KGB agent who lived and operated in the United States from 1978 to 1988. After his cover was blown, he decided to stay in the United States and broke his ties with the KGB. It still took the FBI nine years to put all pieces together and catch him in 1997.

One of the tricks of the trade that Barsky used was the reception of radiograms that contained operational instructions. These messages were encrypted with one-time pad and broadcast by the KGB in Morse through a so-called numbers station. This is a most secure method because the radiograms are unbreakable and you cannot trace the receiver as anyone at any locations can receive the broadcast. That's why numbers stations are still in use today. TAG Cyber Media just published a video interview with Jack Barsky where he explains the reception and decryption of these numbers messages.

Also check out Jack Barsky's KGB Radiograms and Family Tales to find that the life of an illegal can take quite a toll on his social life. You can read my review of Jack Barskt's book Deep Undercover that details his extraordinary life and career. More in depth technical and historical information about espionage and communications are found on my web pages about numbers stations and one-time pad. Jack Barsky also talked about other aspects of espionage during the TAG Cyber interview.

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