Defense Workers Warned About Spy Coins for Espionage

This is a pretty cool new development, something straight out of a Tom Clancy thriller or a spy/hacker movie.

Introducing Spy Coins! People are actually being warned about picking up stray coins as they might have surveillance devices inside.

Can the coins jingling in your pocket trace your movements? The Defense Department is warning its American contractor employees about a new espionage threat seemingly straight from Hollywood: It discovered Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

In a U.S. government report, it said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

It’s not the best way to hide a surveillance device though as someone might actually spend it…then your plan is foiled, they could also easily lose it, leave it on a desk, put it in a donation box or simply give it away.

“It wouldn’t seem to be the best place to put something like that; you’d want to put it in something that wouldn’t be left behind or spent,” said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. “It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.”

Canada’s physically largest coins include its $2 “Toonie,” which is more than 1-inch across and thick enough to hide a tiny transmitter. The CIA has acknowledged its own spies have used hollow, U.S. silver-dollar coins to hide messages and film.

The government’s 29-page report was filled with other espionage warnings. It described unrelated hacker attacks, eavesdropping with miniature pen recorders and the case of a female foreign spy who seduced her American boyfriend to steal his computer passwords.

Anyway just be wary, people are getting more ingenious, you might not know who is tracking you.

CIA hollow coin: CIA Archive – Hollow Coin


Posted in: Countermeasures, Hacking News, Privacy

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4 Responses to Defense Workers Warned About Spy Coins for Espionage

  1. Richard Bejtlich February 25, 2007 at 12:08 pm #

    It’s a hoax.

  2. Darknet February 26, 2007 at 4:55 am #

    Richard: Ah thanks for the clarification, I did wonder why couldn’t find any definitive source for the article when I searched..and I couldn’t remember where I found it.

  3. TheRealDonQuixote August 9, 2007 at 10:04 pm #

    Weird, I just saw an old movie, “The FBI Story” starring James Stewart, where they actually had a “50 cent piece” hiding a bug or something. I guess art can predict the future!! ;)

  4. Sandeep Nain August 9, 2007 at 11:45 pm #

    Well it probably can be other way around…

    these guys may have taken the idea from the same movie …

    quite possible… u wont believe how much ideas these movies can give to criminals…