Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A security conundrum in Between Silk and Cyanide

One of the advantages of being a fairly public person (having written a book and having a popular-ish blog) is that I have a small coterie of regular correspondents who send me interesting links and thoughts. One of these is a gentleman who sent me a copy of Leo Marks' Between Silk and Cyanide as a gift.

Along with the book came a cryptic note that there was an unsolved mystery in the book. Later I asked him about the mystery which turns out to be this passage:

I've thought about this and am having a hard time coming up with a solution. What could one agent be told that he would not forget but would be unable to recall? Something he could pass on (not in writing) to the other agent, but that if captured and tortured he'd be unable to reveal.

Any clever thoughts?

PS The only thing I got reminded of was this paper: Passwords you’ll never forget, but can’t recall. Perhaps PANDARUS took a photograph (or many photograph) and showed it (them) to MANELAUS. One would have meaning to MANELAUS but not the others, to PANDARUS none would have meaning.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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