Russia Typewriters: To Plug Leaks Putin's 'Secret Service' Goes Old Tech

Friday, 12 Jul 2013 10:23 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Russia is taking every precaution possible to make sure it doesn’t become the next victim of a WikiLeaks scandal or an Edward Snowden-like whistleblower by investing in typewriters.

A source at Russia's Federal Guard Service, the agency responsible for Kremlin communications security and protecting President Vladimir Putin, said it is planning to spend thousands of dollars on a number of German-made Triumph Alder TWEN 180 typewriters, according to the Telegraph.

"After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents," the unnamed source told the Telegraph.

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Computers are susceptible to cyber attacks, since any information transmitted or produced on the machine is stored somewhere on the hard drive and can be accessed.

"From the point of view of security, any means of electronic communication is vulnerable," Nikolai Kovalev, the former director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, told Russian news site Izvestiya. "You can remove any information from a computer. There are means of defense, of course, but there's no 100 percent guarantee they will work. So from the point of view of preserving secrets the most primitive methods are preferable: a person’s hand and a pen, or a typewriter."

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WikiLeaks made headlines in 2010 by releasing hundreds of thousands of U.S. state department diplomatic cables, including secret files relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency defense contractor, recently leaked details about a U.S. top-secret government surveillance program to the press.

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