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Google Businesses The Internet Encryption Privacy Security

Sending Secret Messages Via Google's SearchWiki 160

Posted by kdawson
from the your-mission-should-you-choose-to-accept-it dept.
We discussed the advent of Google's SearchWiki when it was introduced a few days back. Now Lauren Weinstein offers a thought experiment in transmitting coded messages using SearchWiki, with a working example encoded into the results of this Google search.
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Sending Secret Messages Via Google's SearchWiki

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  • the message (Score:5, Informative)

    by deander2 (26173) * <public.kered@org> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:23AM (#25896099) Homepage

    "3 - Will more information about this be available later?"
    "4 - Self vs. others is always a major philosophical question."
    "5 - Destruct and destroy is not the best of attitudes, my friends."
    "6 - In any case, this list looks very useful."
    "7 - Five more entries could be added to that list."
    "8 - Seconds or thirds or even more helpings could add a lot of calories."
    "9 - Good entry. Very fine."
    "10 - Luck has nothing to do with these issues."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:24AM (#25896103)

    Seriously, I'm all for change but this is FUCKING RIDICULOUS!

    The main page is now TITLES ONLY? WTF?

    The more you try to "upgrade" Slashdot, the more useless it becomes. Morons.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:27AM (#25896125)

      Indeed, What the fuck. STOP. If I wanted Digg I'd go there.

      1) I only go to my profile to see if I've been modded. I don't care about some pseudo fire hose.
      2) WHAT THE FUCK have you done to the main page. I actually want to read TFS.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:45AM (#25896211)

        Heh, I switched to classic view ages ago, and it looks like this is part of that because my view hasn't been affected. I tried out the new system for about 10 mins, decided it sucked, and switched back. You can change the settings here [slashdot.org] (at least, you can in classic mode).

        AC to avoid off-topic mods.

        • Yes. I refreshed when I got off work today and it was titles only. Turned off beta index and it's all good again.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The problem is, it asks to log in. I want my default precious AC view to look sensible dammit.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kemorgan (714702)
          Use this [slashdot.org] to get back to classic mode.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by roman_mir (125474)

          there are no user preferences to get rid of firehose BS. I used to be able to see comments by going to http://slashdot.org/~roman_mir [slashdot.org] now I see firehose there and instead I have to go to http://slashdot.org/~roman_mir/comments [slashdot.org] and this is really annoying.

          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            there are no user preferences to get rid of firehose BS.

            Not only is there no way to get rid of it, but on my page, they're all old stories.

            The newest one

            Idle: Don't Worry, Sir, I'm From the Internet [slashdot.org] 2008-08-14 10:50
            Posted by samzenpus on Thursday August 14, @10:50AM

            Idle. From August.
            There's 2 more from 2008 and 7 from 2007.
            WTF?

            It's not even a useful 'feature'.

        • by DerCed (155038) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:07AM (#25897263)

          Actually you have to switch off the "Use Beta" checkbox that is in the "Index" preferences. I did not find it quickly, but it certainly pays off. The old school Slashdot homepage will greet you in the morning!

          Slashdot folks, what the fuck do you think you are doing?! If you will ever remove classic mode I will personally travel to the states and punch you in the nuts!

          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            Actually you have to switch off the "Use Beta" checkbox that is in the "Index" preferences. I did not find it quickly, but it certainly pays off. The old school Slashdot homepage will greet you in the morning!

            http://slashdot.org/users.pl?op=edithome [slashdot.org]
            I really hope that was an opt-in choice which I forgot about selecting. /get off my lawn

            • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@gd[ ]aud.net ['arg' in gap]> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @12:42PM (#25900669) Homepage
              Since we are complaining about /. recent changes, I want to pipe about the metamoderation: I don't understand how it runs anymore. On the firehose (and now main) page you click [+] if the articles are good. Also on the moderation page, if you see a comment moderated insightful and it is so, you click [+]. OK. Now what if it's flaimebait or troll and moderated as such ? Do I click [+] to indicate that the moderation is accurate or do I click [-] to imply that it sucks and the comment should go to the pit of hell ?
              • by creepynut (933825)

                Please someone answer this. Taco? I don't get it either, and it's completely put me off metamoderating.
                At least put in a description on the metamoderation page to explain what we're supposed to do.

                I've been stuck in the exact same pit of confusion, am I moderating the comment, or the moderation? Just tell me how to moderate a comment that was rightfully modded troll/flamebait/etc.

                • by dwye (1127395)

                  I've been stuck in the exact same pit of confusion, am I moderating the comment, or the moderation? Just tell me how to moderate a comment that was rightfully modded troll/flamebait/etc.

                  Meta-moderation is moderating the original moderation. If they wanted you to moderate the comment, they would call it moderation instead. When they introduce moderating the meta-moderators, they will call it meta-meta-moderation .

                  Please, does no one understand simple PhD level Latin and Philosophy of Knowledge, anym

                  • by creepynut (933825)

                    I understand what meta-moderation is, but I don't understand what I'm supposed to say anymore.

                    It used to be simple. You say the moderation was fair, unfair, or neither.

                    Comment: slashdot sucks!!!
                    Moderation: Troll
                    ( ) Fair ( ) Unfair ( ) Neither

                    But now it is more complicated:

                    Comment: slashdot sucks!!!
                    Moderation: Troll
                    [+] ( ) Funny ( ) Insightful ( ) Informative
                    [-] ( ) Troll ( ) Flamebait ( ) Offtopic

                    (Disclaimer: It's been a few weeks since I've metamoderated so this might not be completely representative of t

                  • by skeeto (1138903)
                    The instructions say you are moderating the comments, not the moderation. So it is not really meta-moderation anymore, but it is still called such. This is why it is confusing ... and stupid.
          • that won't work for me, the beta (time format) is already off. I still see my last public post with the menu bar below it.

            count me in, these changes are def. for the worse.

          • by Blakey Rat (99501)

            The User page is still bad, and it still makes the simple task of "hey, have my recent posts been moderated?" about 20 times more ugly and annoying than before.

            http://schend.net/images/screenshots/slashdot/slashdot_user_template.png [schend.net]

            There's the screenshot I put in with the SourceForge bug report related to the user template change. They never read or fix any of the bugs I submit, but there you go if you're interested.

            • by Blakey Rat (99501)

              Oh, and I just found out it fails utterly on an iPhone. As if you needed any more reasons to hate it.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:51AM (#25896241)

        I would mod you +1, Informative, if I had the points. Sadly, some purveyors of online forums believe that because they created it, they aren't answerable to the users -- they do first and ask forgiveness later. Of course, there's the flip--one of the earlier posters in your thread mentioned Digg; Despite it being a really crappy feed, it listens to its userbase. Which is probably the reason why it's so crappy. -_- In days of old, Slashdot would make 'meta' posts about upcoming features or changes to the main page, thus allowing for feedback while still tipping the hat to the authors. Maybe we should petition to bring back that bit of forward thinking...

        • Since Slashreaders have a YRO section (and hence hew to principles of "I'm in control"). I recommend we have a basic XML feed from the server and everyone running Greasemonkey on their end can pick the features and layout they can live with. Slashdot may even offer a few premades to get things started.

      • by djupedal (584558) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:51AM (#25896243)
        The main page stacked w/titles is discouraging to use (not enough information thwarts scanning and forces click-thru...or is that the marketing plan now?) and visually distracting via misuse, or lack of, white space -- the rework to the comments page/list is confusing. Please stop messing with the layout, thanks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DarrenBaker (322210)

        My review: Shit Sandwich.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is not good. I dont want to log in, I just want to browse and pick the articles I read in my limited surfing time. Please return slashdot to the useful site it was, or the casual browser will be gone.

      • by PinkyDead (862370)

        WTF is that "pseudo fire hose" anyway? I can't see any pattern or sense in the posts on it. I'd rather not see it one way or the other.

        The Karma Whores have spoken /.!

    • Weird, I don't see the main page that way.

      The upgrade that bothers me is my profile -- I now have one extra click to get to "comments" in the old style. But you know, I'm really not going to bitch about one extra bookmark-able click.

      • by argent (18001)

        Except the comments are surrounded by a bunch of extra noise, and they don't seem to be consistently bundled into articles.

        • That's what I mean -- by default. Click on the "comments" tab and it's back the way it was -- simple comment headlines, consistently bundled into articles.

          • "Click on the "comments" tab and it's back the way it was

            Except where has the "last X out of Y comments" header gone?

            Where are my Freaks, Fans and Foes?

            I don't understand the motivation. The feedback on the "idle" layout was an overwhelming "it sucks", why extend the suckiness to the rest of the site?
            • by sumdumass (711423)

              Dude, on the very few things we have ever agreed on, I need to say give them hell. Your spot on and I wasn't even going to say anything until I realized who was saying it.

              It two people who are usually at extreme opposite opinions can unite on this one thing, then the truth really is that it sucks and should be gone.

            • by argent (18001)

              I don't understand the motivation. The feedback on the "idle" layout was an overwhelming "it sucks", why extend the suckiness to the rest of the site?

              Because it worked so well for Yahoo.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It almost seems like some pranksters did it. When articles get voted down a lot they turn into "just" the title like that. It seems like someone went through and did it to all of them a lot.
      • by makomk (752139)

        It almost seems like some pranksters did it. When articles get voted down a lot they turn into "just" the title like that. It seems like someone went through and did it to all of them a lot.

        Something like that, perhaps. You see the black bars next to the article titles? That's the article score, and black is the lowest possible, lower than even newly-submitted articles.

    • by blhack (921171)

      Website layout changes like this have never made any sense to me.

      Firstly, this is a technical website. We aren't impressed by idiotic 2 year old CSS trends. The ability to collapse or expand stories doesn't wow us anymore and it probably never did.

      Second, if this is somehow easier on the database, or faster (which i really really highly doubt), TELL US! Explain it to use! WHYYY are you changing the default layout?

      • TELL US! Explain it to use! WHYYY are you changing the default layout?

        LSD in the coffee machine at SourceForge?

        Next thing, we'll hear that they're going to upgrade from CVS and SVN to Visual SourceSafe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Suddenly_Dead (656421)

      I also dislike how they got rid "old news", though I'm sure I can reenable it somewhere in my profile (which assume I'm logged in). Now, reading things I missed from yesterday requires another click, another wait, and is harder to skim.

    • by scientus (1357317)

      These titles are useless i like the news on the page then click on it to get comments.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:34AM (#25896163)

    It's a nice idea, but the messages are still being sent in the clear, and anyone monitoring your internet traffic would be able to readily identify which sites were visited and in which order. If you're trying to hide something, this is a poor way of doing so. Especially since it's likely there would be a need for repeated communication, and there's still the problem of "key exchange" as it were. In short, it might fool a casual observer, but I doubt it would get past someone with training -- this is something even an FBI field agent would likely pick up on (note the sarcasm). A proper stenographic technique should perform even under close surveillance.

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      It's a nice idea, but the messages are still being sent in the clear, and anyone monitoring your internet traffic would be able to readily identify which sites were visited and in which order. ...

      Okay... um... you're not qualified to send secret messages.

      The article in question assumes the sender isn't stupid enough to post it all, in order, from the same IP. Anyone monitoring my internet traffic would likely catch zero or at most one piece of the message, and knowing what order they were posted in would do nothing but confuse them if they were silly enough to think that mattered.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Well, sort of. Until someone spills the beans that your doing it in a certain way and the home office or homeland security end up using the alternate IP's to associate you with other links to criminals and builds a conspiracy case or something out of it.

        Seriously, think about this. Lets say you send a secrete message from 5 different IPs. Now assuming they aren't bots, then that means you had computer access at five different places. Now, the feds take down one of the people who received the messages, they

        • If you used a proxy or TOR, it's very easy to use many IP addresses, once each. Never to be repeated.
          • by sumdumass (711423)

            Well, that's a possibility but then again, if they are monitoring your communications (man in the middle style attack) with a key logger, your still in danger of being busted.

            Of course this does depend on who is after you and how hard they want you. The cops can use key loggers and such, some places need more court supervision then others and so on.

            There isn't really any fool proof way of avoiding detection on this. It's probably better to just find a secure channel of communications and take steps that sep

    • Stenography is what happens in court rooms, stenanography is the hiding of messages in plain sight.
    • A proper stenographic technique should perform even under close surveillance.

      That's untrue of any cryptographic technique - it's very difficult to hide the fact that you are communicating and to fool traffic analysis.

    • by Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @11:56AM (#25900141) Homepage

      It's a nice iDea, but the messages aRe stIll beiNg sent in the clear, and anyone monitoring your internet traffic would be able to readily identify which sites were visited and in which order. If you're trying to hide something, this is a poor way of doing so. Especially since it's liKely there would be a need for repeated coMmunicatiOn, and theR E's still the prOblem of "key exchange" as it were. In short, it might fool a casual obserVer, but I doubt it would get pAst someone with training -- this is something even an FBI fieLd agenT would lIkely pick up on (NotE the sarcasm). A proper stenographic technique should perform even under close surveillance.

      I see what you did there!

    • by sam_paris (919837)
      I think you miss-understand how this would be used.

      I buy 5 brand new cheap laptops with cash each from a different store. I go war-driving and find a random 5 random wifi connections. With each un-traceable laptop I make a searchwiki message. (Each with a different IP address which is not linked in any way with my real name or identity)

      After using each laptop it is trashed and never used again. Ahead of time I have met with a confederate in person and told him the queries I will be using and how he ca
  • kdawson (Score:3, Funny)

    by ActionDesignStudios (877390) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @01:40AM (#25896185)
    Seriously, where did you find this kdawson guy and how exactly did he manage to become an 'editor'?
  • hmm ... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of the secret messages as /. comments we see here, under anonymous and spammylike, always at -1.

    Seems like some botnet control code thingy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      <bot-order>
      <attack>
              <site>digg.com</site>
              <type>DDOS</type>
              <prejudice>extreme</prejudice>
      </attack>
      </bot-order>

  • My life is complete! I can now send coded messeges to others... Woowoowoowoowoowoo !!! (no, I am not a relative of Dr. Zoidberg)
  • This is not news. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moniker127 (1290002)

    WTF the internet can be used for communication?

    Who'd of thunk it?

    Seriously though, how the fuck is this news and why the fuck was it posted on the main page?

  • "on the internet". I can has patent?

  • Message: This Tape Will Self Destruct In Five Seconds Good Luck
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Yes, really dumb. There is no spool. The second message should have started with "Message".

      Even Mission: Impossible didn't always say "tape". Sometimes it was, "This record...", "This film...", "This disc..." (1980's version), and sometimes even, "Please dispose of this recording in the usual manner." One mission was delivered on the back of a card that could be pulverized in one hand.

      At least though the self-destruction is right. I still haven't seen one sign of the message in the results.

      And it seems spam

  • It's an interesting idea, but I don't see how it would be reliable since as soon as Google updates its search results the message would become irretrievably fragmented.
  • It Works!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @02:21AM (#25896429)
    If I want communicate my desire to receive p0rn, I enter the term 'p0rn' into Google and someone out there on the interweb sends me links to p0rn.
    • Of course it works. That person works full-time just for you. Your $8.95/month pays his salary.
  • It's obvious... (Score:2, Informative)

    but only obvious if you manage to find all 10 comments. When I did the Google search, I didn't see comments 8, 9, or 10. I had to combine my results with numbers 3-10 listed in the first post to actually get the entire list. Did anybody else notice this? Can wiki comments be removed or bumped out of the search?

    Anyway, for completeness:
    "1 - This article looks good to me."
    "2 - Tape this article to the door of your office!"
    "3 - Will more information about this be available later?"
    "4 - Self vs. others is
  • Ouyay eednay a ewnay obbyhay. - Anonymous
  • by EdelFactor19 (732765) <adam.edelstein@a ... u ['lum' in gap]> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @02:54AM (#25896599)

    complaining about the potential for abuse is like complaining your search could pull up a porn site. its retarted. if you dont like it then a. keep them minimized and dont read them, or b. go use a different search engine. honestly after reading this lady's page i think she's a paranoid nut who thinks its her job to police everyone.

    in short she's a moronic douche.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      complaining about the potential for abuse is like complaining your email could get spam. its retarded. if you don't like it then a. keep them minimized and don't read them.

  • Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Randle_Revar (229304) <kelly.clowers@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @02:59AM (#25896645) Homepage Journal

    What the hell? I cant see anything but the headlines!

    What happened to the articles and tags?!

    • Re:Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

      by isorox (205688) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:10AM (#25897001) Homepage Journal

      What the hell? I cant see anything but the headlines!

      What happened to the articles and tags?!

      Bring back OMG PONIES!!!!!1!!1

      • Is there a mirror of OMG Ponies!!!1!11?

        I've been telling my wife about it for a few years now and I'd really like to show her. If someone has a screenshot or mirror, please post it.
        I fondly remember when my favorite tech discussion site went pink....with ponies. And I've never laughed harder in my life. I think I'll remember that April fools for a very very long time.
        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          I won't link to a screenshot because I don't want to melt someone's server but a Google image search for slashdot omg ponies will give you a lot of examples.
      • >Bring back OMG PONIES!!!!!1!!1

        It would certainly be an improvement!

  • by declain (1338567) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @04:02AM (#25896929)
    Top 10 google trends:

    Today's Hot Trends (USA)
    1. dancing with the stars 2008 winner
    2. orthogonal terwilliger accordion
    3. siri pinter
    4. chelsea handler playboy
    5. brooke burke
    6. who won dancing with the stars season 7
    7. the shield finale
    8. the shield forum
    9. melioidosis
    10. callies biscuits

    It seems that a lot of people are suddenly interested in orthogonal terwilliger accordion. I wonder why?
    • I can see it now. Tomorrow after reviewing google trends Steve Ballmer will send out his goons to either hire this fellow Terwilliger or "buy him out".
      • by jc42 (318812)

        So how soon can I buy a Microsoft accordion?

        Cue the jokes about how you'd play one ...

    • And furthermore, as the #2 query of the day Google must have decided it was time update the search results, and now you just get coverage of the hack, not the hack itself.
    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      What gets me is the text ad beneath it:

      >> Official Site
      Orthogonal terwilliger accordion. Updated daily news service. Latest link, photo , video and more about orthogonal terwilliger accordion.

  • http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends [google.com]\ Wow hit number 2 in less than an hour
  • "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."

  • My God, this is incredible! This could be worse than terrorists sending messages via Twitter [today.com] or encoding them in child porn [today.com].

    Google is clearly a TERRORIST WEAPON and an ENEMY OF THE FREE WORLD. Next we'll find out they're probably part of the Icelandic terrorist financial conspiracy [today.com].

    So everyone should use Windows Live Search instead. No-one ever got fired for buying Microsoft. Probably.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Don't you mean the terrorist financial conspiracy of Iceland?
      --with Apologies to Monty Python.
      IN order to make up for may lame attempt, here is the actual dialog:
      Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front?
      Reg: Fuck off! We're the People's Front of Judea

  • And now any supposedly hidden message has been completely destroyed by all the sites picking up the story.

  • I use /. (Score:2, Funny)

    by hesaigo999ca (786966)

    I am posting a special hidden message right now...can you try and imagine what I might be saying...
    so any luck on solving this mystery... I think you might guess wrong.

    Those who thought "Hi Bill" was the message...
    you get an E for effort, it was hidden in plain sight, but was not the message...

    The winner is the one who thought ..."I think he is saying this is a dumb story, anyone can figure out ways of hiding information in plain site using ANY website, newspaper, tv ad etc."

  • Send secret messages to neighbors: stick your ass out of the window and fart in Morse code.
  • my search engine had.
    Easy way to eliminate returns you don't like.
    In the glorious days of yore, I created a search Engine. Sadly, I couldn't 'borrow' a large institutions infrastructure to really become a contender, so it faded away.

    One feature I had was the ability to check a box and REMOVE all like results from the return.
    Ah.. I miss 95.

  • by erc (38443)

    Err, so what? People have been using stego and PGP to hide encrypted message in Usenet postings for years now. I don't understand why this is such a big deal...

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.

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