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Thread: Transmitter in a Fake Rock!!

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    DDT
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    Transmitter in a Fake Rock!!

    I think this is pretty funny!
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4638136.stm
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    Re: Transmitter in a Fake Rock!!

    Quote Originally Posted by DDT
    I think this is pretty funny!
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4638136.stm

    The timing is certainly suspect though; keep in mind that they're pushing an NGO bill that would clamp down on such them -- and one of the big reasons for it was to counter "foreign intelligence". This doesn't mean that the story is necessarily right or wrong, it does seem to suggest that this is definitely being pushed by some folks in the government -- either as a completely bogus charge or as a conveniently-timed revelation of an actual act.
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    English Edition

    В обычных странах церковь отделена от государства, а в России - от Бога.

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    I (as an IT specialist) wonder what radio data transmission technology they used. If that wasn't a fake of course.

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    Ah, the old fake rock trick... There is a game, geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com), where people hide boxes for other people to find using a hand-held GPS. There are 229141 active caches in 220 countries.
    It hasn't really taken off in Russia (32 hidden, 5 found) as I don't think the government looks kindly upon people walking around with GPS'. Fake rocks and fake tree stumps are popular hiding places. One outside of Moscow is a fake bird-house.
    Just a general observation.
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    Is anybody else here thinking "Maxwell Smart"? What's next.....a rubber chicken?
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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    Quote Originally Posted by capecoddah
    Ah, the old fake rock trick... There is a game, geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com), where people hide boxes for other people to find using a hand-held GPS. There are 229141 active caches in 220 countries.
    It hasn't really taken off in Russia (32 hidden, 5 found) as I don't think the government looks kindly upon people walking around with GPS'. Fake rocks and fake tree stumps are popular hiding places. One outside of Moscow is a fake bird-house.
    Just a general observation.
    Yeah, I'm not sure about citizens, but foreigners are expressly warned NOT to bring in their GPS gear without special permission -- otherwise you may end up being questioned by some irritated officials.

    Anyway, I think I have conclusively solved this mystery. Obviously, these guys simply wanted to retrieve the keys to the liquor cabinet:
    http://www.drymate.com/pages/key%20rock%20photo.htm
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    I take more care how come that the Moscow Helsinki Group, the oldest human rights organization in Russia, proved to have lived on donations of a foreign intelligent unit? Which side's rights do they struggle for after all?


    http://www.civilsoc.org/nisorgs/russwes ... lsinki.htm
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    Lol hmmm, you'd think they'd find a better hiding spot than a rock in the middle of the city. Lots of people like to play with rocks.

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    Especially those who like to through them while living in glass houses!
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    More from the New York Times:

    MOSCOW, Jan. 23 - An espionage scandal redolent of the cold war unfolded here today after Russia accused four British diplomats of spying and linked some of their activities to financing of prominent private organizations, including the Eurasia Foundation and the Moscow Helsinki Group.

    A grainy, black-and-white video - broadcast on state television on Sunday night and shown repeatedly again today - purported to show a British diplomat picking up a rock that was said to conceal a communications device used to download and transmit classified information through hand-held computers.

    The rock, the size of a watermelon and able to transmit and receive data at distances of more than 60 feet, was seized near Moscow, prompting a search across the city for similar devices, Sergei N. Ignatchenko, the chief spokesman for Russia's intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, told Russian reporters, according to the Interfax news agency.

    A second device was found, but "the British intelligence service managed to retrieve one of the gadgets," he said.

    A Russian citizen has been arrested for complicity, but another spokesman, Nikolai N. Zakharov, declined to say when he had been taken into custody and whether he had been formally charged. Mr. Zakharov would say only that the spy ring had been discovered and broken up at the beginning of winter.

    The fate of the British diplomats - identified as middle-ranking secretaries in the embassy - remained unclear. Mr. Ignatchenko said their potential expulsion would be determined "at the political level."

    The scandal, one of the most serious in years, threatened to raise diplomatic tensions, even as Russia assumed the presidency of the G-8 group of industrialized nations, which includes Britain. Mr. Ignatchenko accused Britain of violating an agreement in 1994 to end espionage in Russia. "In fact," he said, "we have been deceived."

    Prime Minister Tony Blair, answering questions at a news conference in London, declined to comment. "I'm afraid you are going to get the old stock-in-trade: 'We never comment on security matters' - except when we want to, obviously," Mr. Blair replied.

    "I think the less said about that, the better," he added.

    The nature of the espionage was shrouded in secrecy, but the link to private organizations came amid a politically charged campaign against charities and advocacy groups here, many of them financed by the United States and European countries to promote such things as democracy and independent media.

    Earlier this month President Vladimir V. Putin signed into law new legal restrictions on such groups that critics have said could be used to exert new pressure on those critical of Russian policies.

    But the relation between the espionage charges and the organizations appeared tangential.

    Mr. Zakharov said in a telephone interview that one of the diplomats, identified as Marc Doe, a political secretary, approved grants distributed by the British government to Russian and international organizations, even as he was involved in covert activities.

    "He gave money to them," Mr. Zakharov said, referring to the organizations. "That is all documented."

    A spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow declined to comment on the affair but cited a statement by the Foreign Office that said, "We are surprised and concerned by this allegation."

    "We reject any allegations of any improper conduct in our dealings with Russian" private organizations, the statement went on. "All of our assistance is given openly and aims to support the development of a healthy civil society in Russia."

    One of the groups supported by Britain and cited by officials was the Eurasia Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington that provides an array of grants across the former Soviet Union.

    Irina V. Akishina, director of the Moscow office, said in a telephone interview that the organization had received a grant worth about $105,000 in 2004 to promote independent newspapers in provincial Russian cities.

    She expressed bewilderment at the accusations, saying the television report, which appeared on the state's Rossiya channel with the cooperation of the Federal Security Service, was the first she heard of any questions surrounding her organization.

    She said the accusations reflected the government's growing hostility toward private organizations that operate independently of the Kremlin.

    "We certainly do feel there is some danger," she said, referring to the new law on organizations like hers. "We do not understand at all why we were mentioned in this program. We are not involved in any illegal activities."

    The Moscow Helsinki Group, also linked to the case, is one of the country's most prominent human-rights organizations and is often critical of the Kremlin.

    Russia's intelligence chiefs have publicly warned about the threat of espionage from the West. The warnings have underscored a growing wariness in Russian intelligence and diplomatic circles about what is widely seen as foreign interference in domestic affairs, especially following American and European support for democratic movements in Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet republics.

    "Reconnaissance is not only waning," Nikolai P. Patrushev, the director of the Federal Security Service, said in an interview in the official state newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta, in November. "It is strengthening."

    Last year counterintelligence agents had exposed 20 agents working for foreign governments and 65 foreigners working for secret services, he said in the interview. Earlier last year Mr. Patrushev singled out several non-governmental organizations, including the Peace Corps and the British charity Merlin, as fronts for foreign espionage.

    "Under the cover of implementing humanitarian and educational programs in Russia regions, they lobby for the interests of certain countries and gather classified information on a wide range of issues," he said of representatives of the private organizations.

    Mr. Patrushev's remarks, sharply criticized at the time by the American and British governments, nevertheless became a basis of the new law putting such organizations under greater scrutiny.

    The latest scandal involved espionage of a more traditional sort, though with a high-tech twist. The fake rock was used as a dead drop, an agreed place for exchanging classified information or otherwise communicating with agents. Where exactly it was remained unclear, though the television report showed it on a sidewalk near what was identified as a park on the edge of Moscow.

    The hidden communication device allowed a Russian agent to transmit information in bursts lasting no more than a second or two, the officials said. The British operatives could then download the information with their own hand-held computers, the officials said, declining to discuss the nature of the information that the Russian provided to the British agents, or its significance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisces
    I (as an IT specialist) wonder what radio data transmission technology they used. If that wasn't a fake of course.
    There's a lots to choose from. Something quite ordinary, like Bluetooth, maybe.
    Кр. -- сестр. тал.

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    As a Computer Engineer, I would have to say that a 'spy rock' the size of a watermelon seems very unlikely in the 21st century. I mean, even using commercially available products, for less than a $1000 a hobbyist could make a repository for secret information with wireless communications less than the size of a typical mobile phone. Even at a range of 60ft, a potential spy could walk leisurely by without having to stop and still have more than enough time to sync the data. This just doesn't seem like official government technology from any nation....

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    BUT, if it were the size of a pebble it's highly likely someone would pick it up and throw it through a window or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdk2fe
    As a Computer Engineer, I would have to say that a 'spy rock' the size of a watermelon seems very unlikely in the 21st century. I mean, even using commercially available products, for less than a $1000 a hobbyist could make a repository for secret information with wireless communications less than the size of a typical mobile phone. Even at a range of 60ft, a potential spy could walk leisurely by without having to stop and still have more than enough time to sync the data. This just doesn't seem like official government technology from any nation....
    On the X-ray photo shown in the TV news, 90% volume was occupied by power supply (batteries).

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    Good point pisces. If you want this thing to work for many years, without having to open it, you would want a pretty heafty battery pack in there. It depends of course on the amount of Wattage the transmitter uses, but I assume there must also be a receiever and some sort of computer to store data. I mean otherwise, what would you transmit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Good point pisces. If you want this thing to work for many years, without having to open it, you would want a pretty heafty battery pack in there. It depends of course on the amount of Wattage the transmitter uses, but I assume there must also be a receiever and some sort of computer to store data. I mean otherwise, what would you transmit?
    Rec/Trans and computer don't take much space. These can be implemented on a single chip (except antennas, but for short range and high frequency they are quite small). Maybe I was wrong about 90%, but batteries were the most noticeable part of the device. Note also that the device must operate in harsh conditions, such as low temperatures (about -30 C), high humidity, rain, snow, possible shocks. Low temperature severely impacts performance of most batteries and accumulators.

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    Well, I think the material of the fake rock would protect most of the insides from weather conditions and I am sure they designed in a way to not be sensitive to shocks, but the main thing is temperature as you noted. Although antennas work better when it is cold, batteries do not. And you don't want to overheat the system either, so some kind of cooling mechanism is needed.

    Want to join up and make our own fake rock transmitter?
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    While my knowledge of linear systems and power is limited, i'd love to take up the challenge If I can leave my cell phone on for a week without recharging, I think some people here could come up with a design that stays on for a good amount of time, that can send a certain amount of data, and could also be much smaller than a watermelon...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdk2fe
    While my knowledge of linear systems and power is limited, i'd love to take up the challenge If I can leave my cell phone on for a week without recharging, I think some people here could come up with a design that stays on for a good amount of time, that can send a certain amount of data, and could also be much smaller than a watermelon...
    Turn the freeze control of your fridge to maximum and put your cell phone there. Then see how long will it work. *
    * I am not responsible for the possible permanent damage of your phone

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