Today’s international headlines are dominated with stories like WikiLeaks spreading secret documents, and the United States’ NSA spy scandal. These stories are making people doubt how secure their communications really are, which is why Russia is taking the drastic measure of using paper to communicate in a digital age.Many of the recent hacks by international groups have centered on accessing databases and digital files. Therefore, one Russian government agency, the Federal Guard Service (FSO), have recently purchased 20 Triumph Adler typewriters, believing this to be the most secure way to communicate in an age of text messaging and e-mail. It’s difficult to argue with this logic because you can’t hack paper.
The details of this Russian typewriter saga were recently divulged to The Izvestiya (a Russian newspaper) by Nikolai Kovalev, an MP and former head of the Federal Security Service. Kovalev explains in an interview:
From the point of view of ensuring security, any form of electronic communication is vulnerable. Any information can be taken from computers. Of course there exists means of protection, but there is no 100% guarantee that they will work. So from the point of view of keeping secrets, the most primitive method is preferred: a human hand with a pen or a typewriter.
It turns out the Triumph Adler typewriter is one of the most secure models of typewriters. This is because each typewriter has a unique “handwriting” that can be traced back to a specific machine. This makes forging documents difficult, but not impossible if you know how to use Adobe Photoshop.
While no means of communicating is 100% secure (a piece of paper is subject to theft), we can learn from governments that there is a value in regularly evaluating your network security in light of newly discovered vulnerabilities. While it’s probably the case that your personal information isn’t a crucial link needed in some international conspiracy, it is wise to be as safe as possible and employ strong network security solutions, like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool from Tektonic.
Tektonic can also perform a free security audit on your network in order to point out your vulnerabilities, and then walk you through the solutions you can take to shore up your security. If you would like to arrange for a network security consultation, and learn more about our UTM solution, then reach out to us by typing memo, placing it in an envelope, and then having a sketchy looking dude in an overcoat deliver it to 390 Edgeley Blvd….or just give us a call at (416) 256-9928.