Russia Protects Communications by Using Typewriters

b2ap3_thumbnail_typewriter400If you have been following international news headlines with stories like WikiLeaks spreading confidential documents, and recent revelations about a US surveillance scandal, it kind of feels like we are in the middle of Spy vs. Spy. As nations look for stronger security solutions to protect themselves, Russia is looking to older technology to keep their communications safe.

In light of these new security threats, Russia’s Federal Guard Service (FSO), has ordered 20 Triumph Adler typewriters. This may seem like a step backward, especially considering that you would be hard pressed to find a recent college graduate trained to operate a typewriter, but government agencies like the FSO are realizing that paper communication cannot be hacked, and is therefore safer.

A Russian newspaper, the Izvestiya, first reported on this typewriter solution in an interview with Nikolai Kovalev, an MP and former head of the Federal Security Service. Kovalev explained to Izvestiya why typewriter security makes sense:

From the point of view of ensuring security, any form of electronic communication is vulnerable. Any information can be taken from computers. Of course there exists means of protection, but there is no 100% guarantee that they will work. So from the point of view of keeping secrets, the most primitive method is preferred: a human hand with a pen or a typewriter.

While the Triumph Adler typewriter is an older technology, it is designed with a clever way to trace communications. Each Triumph typewriter creates a unique “handwriting” that allows the letters produced to be traced back to a specific typewriter. This doesn’t mean that someone who is proficient in Adobe Photoshop cannot easily forge a typewriter document, but despite objections like this, a document that only exists in paper form is 100% safe from a database breach by a foreign hacker.

While it’s unlikely that an international spy network will want to read your e-mails about your family vacation, stories like this do make you think twice about how secure your company’s sensitive information really is. Resorting to typewriters is an extreme solution that businesses shouldn’t have to take; however, you will want to protect your company with the best security solutions available.

PACE Technical Services can help protect your company with the strongest security solutions on the market, like a Unified Threat Management tool. We can also analyze your network in order to find vulnerabilities and protect you from every side. To set up an appointment to have PACE Technical Services look at your network, pull out a typewriter and type up a request for a network audit, then have a carrier pigeon deliver the message to 111 Granton Drive. Or just give us call at 905.763.7896. As far we know, our wires are not tapped.

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