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Latest news
This page contains the latest news regarding Crypto Museum. Whenever something important has happened, or when we've made significant changes to the website, we will issue a news bulletin. If you are on Twitter, you will receive a notification as and when new information becomes available. Click the Twitter-button at the top of this page to read the latest tweets.

Older news can be read by using the blue buttons on the left.
 
David Hamer dies at 82
7 April 2017

It is with great sadness that we have learned that last Monday, 3 April 2017, our great and loyal friend David H. Hamer has passed away at the age of 82. David was an excellent and respected scholar. A wise man who could talk with great confidence about nearly any subject. But he was above all iconic in his knowledge of the Enigma cipher machine, and his willingness to share.

We first met David and his wife Joan in 2001, on our first ever trip to Bletchley Park. He guided us through the world of cipher machines, brought us in contact with a wide variety of researchers and collectors, and opened doors for us that would otherwise have remained closed.

It is hard to imagine that we will never see or hear him again. That we will no longer receive his insightful e-mails. And that we will not be able to pick his marvelous brain anymore. Our thoughts are with his wife Joan and his family.

Farewell good friend.
Rest in piece.

Marc and Paul


 Read David Hamer's Obituary
  
David H. Hamer (photograph taken on 8 September 2013 at Bletchley Park)

 
Operation Easy Chair
30 March 2017

In late 1958 and early 1959, the Dutch interal security service BVD (now: AIVD) and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) managed to plant an Easy Chair listening device (bug) in the office of the Russian Ambassador in the Hague (Netherlands). It was developed by the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP) and was powered by a strong RF signal beamed at it from a nearby Listening Post (LP).
 
The bugging operation was revealed in 2015 by the Dutch online magazine De Correspondent, but after a long investigation, Crypto Museum is now able to fill in many gaps and details, such as the position of the secret observation post and the equipment that was used in the operation.

 Read the full story
 Equipment used in the oparation
  
The Russian Embassy in 2017

 
Early Easy Chair history
30 March 2017

After more than a full year of intensive research, Crypto Museum is now able to reconstruct the early years of the CIA's super secret Easy Chair research project (1954-1964).

The intention of the Easy Chair project was to grasp the operating concept of the Russian resonant cavity microphone (the Thing) and to develop new devices based on its principle.

 About Easy Chair
  
Three versions of the PE

 
CIA bug of 1974 unveiled
6 January 2017

Breaking news at the beginning of the New Year: we have just found one of the high-end covert listening devices (bugs), that were used by the CIA during the 1970s. The devices are extremely difficult to find and have full audio masking.

The devices were developed between 1954 and 1984 by the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP) under the cover name EASY CHAIR.

 More information
 Other CIA Easy Chair equipment
  
SRT-107 transmitter

 
Bugging the OPEC office in Vienna
29 December 2016

In secret NSA documents released by Edward Snowden in 2010, it was revealed that both the CIA and GCHQ had bugged the OPEC. 1 In 1997, bugs were found in the Marriot Hotel in Vienna, in the rooms that were used by OPEC delegates.

But this was not the first case in which the OPEC was targeted. In the late 1970s, a sophisticated bug was discovered in a meeting room at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, hidden behind the wires of the PA system. It was extremely difficult to detect. Now fully reverse engineered...

 About the OPEC bug
  
The OPEC bug is less than 11 cm long

 
  1. OPEC = Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Extra opening day Secret Communications 2
26 November 2016

Following the enormous success of our current exhibition Secret Communications 2, we have decided to add an extra opening day in January 2017. For those of you who have not yet visited the exhibition, or who want to see it again, you have the following options:
 
  • Saturday 3 December 2016
  • Saturday 14 January 2017 ← extra opening day

 About the exhibition
 
Movie Snowden released
11 November 2016

Yesterday was the Dutch premiere of the movie Snowden, in which American director Oliver Stone tells the story of NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, who leaked secret documents about the NSA's mass surveillance program to the press in 2013. In the movie, quite a few crypto and spy gadgets from our collection are on display in Hank's crypto museum.

At the end of the movie, a live video link with Moscow was established, through which Edward Snowden himself was able to answer questions from the public. From an unknown location, he shared his vision on the NSA's activities and explained to the public what they should do to protect their privacy and their liberty.

Snowden is a great movie about a very interesting person, and we think that everyone should see it and take part in the discussion.

 About Edward Snowden
 About the movie
  

 
This Saturday: exhibition Secret Messages 2
8 November 2016

Quick reminder for people who are intending to visit our exhibition Secret Communications 2. This Saturday 12 November 2016 is our first opening day. Doors open at 10:00 AM. We are looking forward to seeing your and have a chat.

Note that due to local roadworks, you will not be able to get to the museum in the usual manner. Please check the updated directions on our announcement page and ignore your navigator.

 About the exhibition


Also note that the movie Snowden has its Dutch Premiere this Thursday 10 November 2016. Crypto Museum supplied many of the crypto items that you are about to see in this movie.

 About the movie Snowden
  

 
Super Enigma
31 Oct 2016

When searching the internet for information about the Enigma cipher machine, many of you no doubt have come across the 'super enigma', named Cryptograph, made by Tatjana van Vark in the Netherlands in 2003.

For the first time, this beautiful piece of art and technology will be on public display, as Tatjana will be demonstrating it herself on two opening days of our forthcoming exhibition Secret Communications 2.

 Read more
  

 
Snowden movie
16 September 2016

Good news for anyone interested in crypto, security, privacy, mass surveillance and movies. American film director Oliver Stone has just released his latest movie called 'Snowden'.

The film features NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) before, during and after leaking secrets about the NSA's mass surveillance program. Seen as a traitor by some and as a hero by others, Snowden began to question the legality of the mass surveillance program whilst working at the CIA office in Geneva (Switzerland).

Interestingly, Crypto Museum supplied the vast majority of cipher and spy gadgets that are visible in the movie. There is even a complete cipher museum headed by no one less than Nicolas Cage. This movie is arguably one of the best and most important movies made by Oliver Stone in years. It should not be missed.

Dutch premiere: 10 November 2016

 Read the full story
 About Edward Snowden
  

 
Together with the CIA
5 September 2016

It is little known that during the Cold War, the Dutch intelligence services carried out extremely secret clandestine operations behind the Iron Curtain, together with the American CIA.

In his latest book, historian Cees Wiebes gives a detailed account (in Dutch) of the operations, the people involved, and the many failures that cost the lives of numerious operatives.

 Read the review
  

 
Virtual Colossus
3 September 2016

For anyone interested in the history of code­breaking, and Colossus in particular, there is good news. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Colossus, British programmer Martin Gillow has just released Virtual Colossus Mark II. A fully featured virtual copy of the real one that is on display at TNMOC. It runs in your browser in JavaScript and can be used to run real codebreaking programs.

 More information (off site)
 About Colossus
  
Colossus seen from the right

 
Exhibition: Secret Communications 2
14 June 2016

Following the success of the exhibition Secret Communications, now three years ago, Crypto Museum has teamed up once again with the Foundation for German Communication, for the exhibition Secret Communications 2, in which we will be showing an exciting selection of cipher machines and spy radio sets, some of which have not been exhibited before.

 Read all about it
  
Typex Mark 23

 
Breaking news: Barbie's crypto typewriter
1 April 2016

After months of secret research and talking with sources from several US and UK agencies, Crypto Museum are now able to reveal the hidden and highly secret features of the Barbie Typewriter, as made by US toy manufacturer Mattel.

More importantly, the typewriter has been used as the backbone of a scret spy ring that involved young children as well as adult look-alikes.

 Read the full story
  
Barbie E-118 electronic typewriter

 
Deliberate weakening of a cipher algorithm by the NSA
14 January 2016

In 1980, Dutch company Text Lite introduced the PX-1000, a small pocket telex that featured high-end DES encryption. In 1983, when the device was actively marketed by Philips, the NSA intervened and persuaded Philips to replace DES by an NSA-weakened algorithm.

The Crypto Museum team has now isolated the NSA algorithm and is currently analysing it for backdoors and deliberate weakening.

 More information
  
Original PX-1000 made in 1983

 
New information about The Thing
13 January 2016

In 1952, a new type of covert listening device (bug) was found in the office of the US Ambassador in Moscow. The device was nicknamed The Thing. It was not connected via wires and did not have its own power source.

Crypto Museum has now released some new facts about the device and also about the role of the FBI, the CIA and the Dutch NRP.

 More information
  

 

 News in 2015
 
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