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Diversion safe, stash, microcache

A concealement device, or diversion safe, is an oject that has been modified to hide things for the purpose of secrecy or security. They are commonly made from ordinary household objects in order to attract as little attention as possible. Examples are a hollow coin, a soda can with a false bottom, or a prepared book. A special kind of concealment device is the so-called dead-drop.

A good example of a concealment device is the walnut shown in the image on the right. Its contents have been removed to provide storage space for – in this case – a One-Time Pad (OTP).

Concealment devices can be used for smuggling goods accross the border, e.g. as a travel kit with a hidden compartment or a brief­case with a false bottom. They can also be used to hide things like money, fake IDs, maps, secret codes, chemical substances, microfilms, suicide pills, weapons, ammunition, clandestine (spy) radio transmitters, etc., for a longer period of time.
Walnut concealment device with two OTP booklets

Concealments can also be used to hide a covert listening device (bug), such as the triangular piece of wood shown below. A special kind of concealment device is the so-called dead drop, a special container that is used to exchange objects and information between people, without the need to physically meet each other. Such dead drop containers are generally purpose-made.

Virtually any common object can be converted into a concealment device. For example: a metal bolt, a coin, a stone, a brick, a ballpoint, a food can, a picture frame, a razor, a cut-out book or even a piece of food like a walnut. Below are some popular examples. Click them for further info.

Concealment devices on this website
Walnut concealment device with two OTP booklets
Commonly looking bolt which is actually a concealment device
32GB Micro-SD memory card inside a 50 Euro-cent coin
At first glance: a normal stone
Travel kit with concealment area for passport and OTP
Hungarian RF bug 31217-132 (Botond) concealed in piece of wood
Swiss Tessina camera hidden inside a cigarette pack
Dead drops on this website
VARTA car battery used as concealment for East-German spy radio set
 Dead drop containers

A stash is a secret hiding place in which personal objects, such as money, ID papers, frequency lists, drop pick locations and code material, are hidden. When an object is used as a stash, it is also known as a concealment device, much like a dead drop. In fact, many concealment devices are suitable as a dead drop as well as a stash, which is why we have listed them together here.

During the Cold War, both sides of the Iron Curtain made frequent use of secret under­ground storage places, commonly known as caches. A cache can be located on enemy territory – for use in case of an emergency – but can also be located in the home country, for example as part of a Stay-Behind Organisation.

A good example is the story behind the conceal­ment container shown in the image on the right. It was found in 2018 in a forgotten cache in Western Europe and had been placed there by the East-German Stasi almost 60 years earlier.

 Read the full story

6V varta car battery used as concealment

  1. Wikipedia, Concealment device
    Retrieved August 2015.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 24 October 2014. Last changed: Monday, 14 September 2020 - 08:44 CET.
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