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Spies Can Hide Secret Messages In Bacteria, Scientists Say

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posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 07:13 AM
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Espionage just got a little more sophisticated and scientific. Invisible ink? Decoder rings? Lemon juice? Puh-lease --that's mere child's play compared to what double agents scientists at Tufts University just created

During the Cold War, the Soviets used a psychic technique known as remote viewing. Now secret messages can be hidden in genetically engineered bacteria, thanks to a new method called steganography by printed arrays of microbes. Developed by chemistry professor David Walt and his cloak-and-dagger team of researchers, this new method uses an assortment of E. coli strains modified with fluorescent proteins that glow in seven colors.

Multiply that number by the two colors each message character is encoded with, and spies like us have more than 49 possible code combinations. That's enough for the alphabet, plus digits 0 to 9, with room left over for a few extra symbols.

The secret microbial messages are first grown in petri dishes. The cultures then are transferred to a thin film and ready to be sent to the desired undercover recipient. To unlock the message, the recipient must transfer the bacteria to a genetically modified growth medium, which acts as the secret key.


fox news


This is absolutely fascinating on a terrifying level. Any time one plays with a dangerous bacteria there are risk....to everyone involved. But this concept is rather confusing to me and I could use some bright minds out there to help decipher this idea.

Question is: Is this possible?

Thanks,
Pax
edit on 9/30/2011 by paxnatus because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 07:21 AM
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reply to post by paxnatus
 




To unlock the message, the recipient must transfer the bacteria to a genetically modified growth medium, which acts as the secret key.
Seems like a pretty smart idea. Who would have the resources to try a brute force attack on a system like that. Most people would have trouble getting the resources for just one modified growth medium. Unlike other encryption techniques, getting the answer wrong will be a waste of not just time but also materials.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 07:29 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Yes, but are they saying they infect the host, the host then passes on the bacteria to said target and when that person seeks medical treatment I.e. antibiotics the encryption key is unlocked?

Or am I way off base? Honestly, who sits around and thinks of these bizarre ideas?



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by paxnatus
reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Yes, but are they saying they infect the host, the host then passes on the bacteria to said target and when that person seeks medical treatment I.e. antibiotics the encryption key is unlocked?

Or am I way off base? Honestly, who sits around and thinks of these bizarre ideas?
Well I didn't read anything about infecting the host in the article. They say they transfer the bacteria onto a film which can then be sent off. That's how I interpreted it anyway.



posted on Sep, 30 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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reply to post by paxnatus
 


Now every time I hear of someone who died from E. Coli...I will think they were a spy.






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