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How phonetics can give you away

Started by Null0x, November 11, 2015, 11:20:00 AM

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So while I was doing my time there was a lot of emphasis on following the standard NATO alphabet whenever relaying info over radio - makes sense right? ensures that if you're fluent you aren't going to make a mistake, but it also assists in disguising who you are.

If every NATO nation (and maybe some that don't) use the same radio protocol then there aren't any dead giveaways as to who it is that's on the air. This became very apparent to me while I was listening to Nightbreed Radio today and heard some muffled comms in the background (there for effect). The person on the air kept repeating "whiskey nora two two eight" which made that neurotic part of my brain go off: "you mean november... you mean NOVEMBER... IT'S FUCKING 'NOVEMBER' ASSHOLE"

So some quick search-fu reveals that the NY police uses "nora" instead of november, which is a dead giveaway now.

I wouldn't call this social engineering, but I can't quite think of the term.

Whatever it is, I think there's a lesson to be learned here about obfuscation through cooperation.

He who changes his handle way too fucking often


The source lists one that could be downright aggravating if you actually used it:

and here is the source's source:
He who changes his handle way too fucking often


I use the phonetic alphabets interchangeably: NATO, cop talk (proper names), and US Military mostly due to just needing to communicate a letter or serial number over the phone on the spot. Ain't got time for no chart or memorisation. As long as the person on the receiving end knows what letter it is, I don't care. Sometimes W is Whiskey, other times it's William. T is Tango, or Thomas. M is Michael, Mary, or Montana. Z is Zulu or Zebra, A is Adam or Alpha.  is Bravo or Brian. H is Henry or Hotel. F is Frank or Foxtrot. C is always Charlie though.
"You and I are mortal, but Rock N' Roll will never die!"


You can also use changes in phonetic's as a signal to whomever is on the other end. Say, changing Whiskey to William might signal the other guy that his house is bugged etc, while relaying an initially bogus or obfuscating message. Although I would have to think of another way to get THAT message across. lol