Click for homepage
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.

KGB Spy Museum opens in New York City
17 January 2019

Today, the exciting new KGB Spy Museum in Manhattan (New York) opens its doors to the press. Over the past few months Lithuanian collector Julius Urbaitis and his daughter Agne have been working hard to bring an interesting and diverse collection of Cold War Spy gadgets together in their new 4000 square-feet museum at 245 West 14th Street in New York.

The museum will be dedicated to the history of the KGB and its far-reaching operations over the years. There are many artifacts, including spy cameras, spy radios, concealment devices, cipher machines, etc.

 More about the museum
 KGB Spy Museum website

KGB Spy Cameras
5 january 2018

For anyone interested in spy cameras or in the history of the Cold War in general, this new book from Author H. Keith Melton is a must-have. It took him more than 20 years and the help from former KGB officers and several European collectors, but it has been well worth the wait.

The 192-page hard-cover book, contains more than 400 high-quality full-colour photographs, drawings and original KGB illustrations, covering well over 80 spy cameras and camera systems, many of which have never been seen by the general public before.

 Read the full review

Cold War cache discovered
15 December 2018

The unknown spy radio set shown in the image on the right, was recently found in a forgotten Cold War cache in a West-European country. It was hidden inside a regular VARTA car battery.

So far, transmitters of this type have only been found by the German BKA and BfV, and by the authorities of Austria and Switzerland, but as far as we know, none of these are held in a private collection. Until now that is.

 More information

KGB Spy Museum to open in New York City
28 November 2018

Exiting news for visitors of the New York City area: in December 2018, the all new KGB Spy Museum – formerly located only in Lithuania – will open its doors for the first time at an exiting new location in New York City.

The museum will be dedicated to the history of the KGB and its far-reaching operations over the years. There are many artifacts, including spy cameras, spy radios, concealment devices, cipher machines, etc. The opening date will be announced soon.

 More about the museum
 KGB Spy Museum website

History of Abwehr radios
24 June 2018

During WWII, Rudolf F. Staritz worked at the drawing room of the German intelligence service – the Abwehr – where many designs and circuit diagrams of Abwehr radio sets passed through his hands. Despite the risk of getting caught, he managed to duplicate many of the circuit diagrams – some as photocopies, but mostly by memorizing them – and take them home after the war.

Around 1985, he bundled the circuit diagrams – together with unique photographic material – into an elaborate manuscript, with the intention to have it published. But despite the fact that his work revealed a hitherto undescribed piece of history, he was unable to find a good publisher.

In the following years, parts of the manuscript were published in the German magazine Funk (1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989), and also in two chapters of Volume 2 of Fritz Trenkle's book Die deutschen Funknachrichtenanlagen bis 1945. The manuscript was also given to individuals.

We are pleased to announce that the original 1985 manuscript has meanwhile been re-typeset by Norbert Dotzel, and is now available from our website, complete with recently rediscovered original photographs. It reflects the state-of-play of the mid-1980s and is fully searchable.

 More information

History of Enigma's Steckerbrett
7 June 2018

Anyone familiar with the operating principle of the Enigma cipher machine, knows that the military variant has a double-ended plugboard (German: Steckerbrett) at the front.

It is little known however, that this is not the first design of a plugboard and that a much stronger single-ended variant was tried first. From surviving documents, we have now reconstructed the original Enigma Steckerbrett.

 More information
Removing a plug (Stecker)

Original Russian Fialka wheel wiring recovered
23 December 2017

A few months ago, an original Russian Fialka machine was rediscovered in Russia. It had previously belonged to a high-ranking KGB official, who received the machine as a gift on his retirement. Surprisingly, it was found with the original Russian cipher wheels intact.

The machine is now in the collection of Crypto Museum and has enabled us to trace the wiring of the original Russian cipher wheels.

 More information
Original set of Russian Fialka cipher wheels

AIVD Kerstpuzzel
12 December 2017

One of the greatest traditons of the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD, is the annual Christmas Crypto Challenge. This time it runs from 12 December 2017 to 15 January 2018. The winner gets eternal fame plug a desirable cup. Only available in the Dutch language.

 More information

Enigma Education Centre in Poznań (Poland)
22 November 2017

We are pleased to announce that Poland will finally get a professional Enigma Education Centre, that will provide information about the Enigma cipher machine and the work of a number of important codebreakers throughout history. The centre will be based in the city of Poznan and will open in 2019.

 More information

The International Cryptology Game
27 September 2017

We are pleased to announce that a new edition of The International Cryptology Game, devoted to mathematicians who broke the Enigma Code 85 years ago, has now started. Their great secret work contributed to the success of the Allies during World War II. Sign up and join in now.

The game combines elements of history, math and logics. Teams, consisting of three people each, are involved in the struggle, learning about encryption and decryption methods that will be used to solve virtual puzzles and to break more and more difficult messages as you go along.

Especially important is the fact that anyone can become a cryptologist — only writing skills are needed — as the game takes place on 3 levels of difficulty: (1) BASIC (where you do not need any knowledge of codebreaking), (2) ADVENTURE, and (3) ENIGMA level, with people from all over the world, who have participated in the previous editions of the game. Here is what to do:

  • Team registration from now to 24 November at
  • BASIC LEVEL starts on 25 September (decisive challenge 13 October)
  • ADVENTURE LEVEL starts on 16 October (decisive challenge 3 November)
  • ENIGMA LEVEL starts on 6 November (decisive challenge 24 November)

  • Full details are available at

 Dowload the media poster

TU/e : Security in Times of Surveillance
19 May 2017

On Monday 29 May 2017, the Eindhoven Institute for the Protection of Systems and Information (Ei/PSI) organizes a one-day event on Security in Times of Surveillance. The event will take place in the Blauwe Zaal of the Technical University (TU/e) in Eindhoven (Netherlands) and features seven invited talks covering the technical, legal and political aspects of security and surveillance.

Among the distinguised speakers are Bill Binney, former Technical Director at the NSA, Daniel Bernstein, of the University of Illinois and Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, and Tim Jenkin, communications specialist of the ANC 1 during the repressive South African apartheid regime.

The program starts at 9:00 and closes at 17:00 with the screening of The Vula Connection, a film about the role of secret communications in the anti-apartheid struggle. During the event, Crypto Museum will have several unique historical cipher machines on display at the Auditorium. Elsewhere in the university building is a semi-permanent exhibition of even more cryptographic artifacts. Limited seats are available, so advance registration is mandatory.

 Full details of the event

  1. ANC = African National Congress.

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 peace.

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

Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Last changed: Thursday, 17 January 2019 - 09:59 CET.
Click for homepage