You might have heard, spy agencies used to send coded messages in the newspaper classified ads or number stations for the exchange of secret information. Well, it is still happening to this date and as now is the age of the internet, the social media is reportedly being utilized as a means of encrypted communication.
Recently, the New York Times and The Intercept reported that NSA (National Security Agency) sent “nearly a dozen” of coded messages to a Russian contact using Twitter. The unnamed contact claimed to have NSA hacking tools stolen by the Shadow Brokers and even some secret material on Donald Trump.
According to the reports, NSA used its official Twitter account to give signals to the Russian to make contact or to inform him that they wanted to communicate further.
The most interesting part is that the coded messages weren’t sent through the private messages, but in actual, those were hiding in the plain sight, as NSA‘s public tweets to its followers reportedly contained the secret communication. Moreover, the tweets in question were sent throughout the 2017 in the form of self-promotions, history facts, celebration of 177th anniversary of the telegraph patent and advocacy for the FISA section.
As reportedly, “The NSA used that messaging technique repeatedly over the following months, each time officials wanted to communicate with the Russians or reassure them that the U.S. was still supporting the channel. Each time, the Russians were told the text of the tweets in advance and the exact time they would be released. Each tweet looked completely benign but was in fact a message to the Russians.”
On the whole, using Twitter or any other social media platform for this purpose proves very efficient for the intelligence agencies, as they get to convey their confidential message with little effort without any suspicion from most of the public.
Also, it is not known that how common this method of communication is, however, it can be said that there would be likely more of such cases.