Feeds

Scariest NSA revelation yet: Spooks are RUBBISH at CIPHERS

'Encrypted' Tweet takes world+dog a moment or two to solve

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The NSA (yes, that NSA) has triggered a bit of a Tweet-storm, followed by helpless fits of giggles among geeks, by posting a job-ad-Tweet that used a simple Roman-style substitution cipher.

tpfccdlfdtte pcaccplircdt dklpcfrp?qeiq lhpqlipqeodf gpwafopwprti izxndkiqpkii krirrifcapnc dxkdciqcafmd vkfpcadf. #MissionMonday #NSA #news

— NSA (@NSACareers) May 5, 2014

The Tweet creeped out some people, but has since been revealed as the first of what the agency says will be an ongoing recruitment campaign seeking “the best and brightest” – and this is where the fits of giggles start.

As noted by the Washington Post, the message uses a simple substitution cipher to obfuscate a fairly prosaic message: “want to know what it takes to work at nsa? check back each monday as we explore careers essential to protecting your nation.”

Not only is the code simple, the ciphertext contains very obvious clues. That there's just one question mark in the text suggests strongly there's an actual question in the text, along the way making rather a mess of the format of using 12 characters in each block of text and hinting strongly that the spaces are meaningless.

El Reg will allow this much: while this cipher is lame, a bright spark in the agency's social media team could have a longer-term plan to generate ongoing interest in the game, by using a more modern and sophisticated cipher on each round.

If the NSA follows history, we guess next Monday's challenge will be a polyalphabetic cipher. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.