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Conspiracy - Experience - Fiction - Society - Stories

Infinite Exposure – Pt. 9

There were only five emails waiting for him, yet getting through the first four took over an hour. He went through the explanation on routing. Each group wishing to receive information would send him a baseline photo. Phrases in the text that came with it would tell him who should receive the image. They also told the receivers what information the sender was looking for. Every operative in the field had access to the same editing software which would distribute the response they typed as a seemingly random set of bit errors in the image. The response itself would be short and use phrases the operatives were told to use.

No translations were ever written down. Each person gathering intelligence had to memorize this handful of phrases. These were along the same lines as the phrases they had been using in open phone calls and emails in the past — before they figured out intelligence agencies were listening in. Now they hid the information inside of the images. You had to capture the base image before you could even hope to find the message to decode.

When one distributed base images, one would not send them all at once. Over the course of the week Nedim would distribute the image to everyone who should receive it. Some would have messages embedded in them and be sent to decoys. The decoy messages would be scattered in the distribution so that any agency intercepting a “new” photo could not be certain it was a base photo unless someone had already been significantly compromised. Decoy messages were sent to some suspected of being compromised as well. In short, a base image used to go out to somewhere between twenty and 400 email addresses.

“Used to?” asked one of the men.

“I came up with a better way. Now when a new image comes in I encrypt a phrase in it, then only send it out to four or five decoys along with the list. The decoys get a different phrase. Even if any of them are intercepted, they still cannot be used for decoding. All of the operatives know the phrase and remove it from the image prior to using it as a base image.”

“What is the phrase?”

“God is Great.”

“And the decoy phrase?”

“Whatever I feel like typing from the Holy Quran.” Both men were shocked to learn the software was a simple piece of Open Source software originally done as a proof for some thesis work, then continued by a community looking to transfer sensitive data cheaply and securely over the Internet. While it had originally focused on transferring financial data, clinical trial research and the like, this group had co-opted it for their own sensitive data.

Two of the messages contained images with coded phrases in them. Once he had translated them, Nedim emailed them on to the original sender of the image.

One of the men asked Nedim how he knew where to send the responses because they had seen no indication in the message or the brief look they had gotten on his computer.

“Simple. One sender always uses images of birds, another beach scenes, another fish, etc. It has never been difficult to keep track of the destination because of this.”

The third message was interesting. It contained one phrase and an FTP address. Nedim pasted the FTP address into his browser and began a binary download of the ZIP file. After downloading the file, Nedim sent the original email on to its destination.

When an attempt to unzip the file was made, it prompted for a password. The file name had been the letter “T” followed by a series of digits and dashes with a “.zip” extension. The phrase had been “Great View.”
 
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You are reading a special promotional version of “Infinite Exposure” containing only the first 18 chapters. This is the first book of the “Earth That Was” trilogy. You can obtain the entire trilogy in EPUB form from here:


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Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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