(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Pyongyang Radio 6400khZ V15: Numbers Broadcast May Have Been Book Code

with one comment

On April 27th 2017, just as a nuclear test was about to be performed in the hermit kingdom, the default numbers station in Pyongyang broadcast a series of numbers under the guise of it all being lesson plans for students in what they called their “remote education university for No. 27 expedition agents” This broadcast differed from other numbers broadcasts by DPRK but also by other countries that tend to use just discreet series of numbers and what most likely are one time pads. In the case of the April broadcast from DPRK though it would seem that they are maybe using what is called a “Book Code” method to send secret messages to their operatives in the field.

Now this would be an interesting turn of events if the North was using book code instead of randomly generated one time pads. The most important point of this is that if in fact they are using book code, then you could possibly get a copy of the book and follow along to decode the messages. As this so far, was a one time event, you have to wonder was this just something in a pinch, an emergency out of band broadcast? If it was this could be a fall back on coded messages and with the preamble by the announcer, it could have been. This is the first time I have heard a numbers station broadcast like this and my first thought was book code, but, others seem to think that this is just a re-mastering of the normal coded number sequences that you would usually hear out of a numbers station.

Screen Shot care of

As you can see from the screen shot above, the numbers stations site re-configured the numbers into just sequences. What if though, these were actual numbers of pages along with the words or letters (kanji in this case perhaps) within the text that could be taken down to form words? I have been looking at the number series and it is possible yet I cannot confirm this is the case. I mean after all, what book would this be? Would it be in Hanglo? Kanji characters or English text? For that matter any range of languages could comprise the text of the book used. Also, if you look at the page numbers and problem numbers, could this in fact be some IT problem book that has been turned into a code system?

From now, we will send IT Basic Practice problems for Agents No. 27. Now, we will tell the number of problems. 823 pg No. 69 467 pg No. 92 957 pg No. 100 830 pg No. 07 694 pg No. 89 429 pg No. 95 916 pg No. 39 347 pg No. 48 684 pg No. 42 917 pg No. 41 754 pg No. 70 146 pg No. 23 883 pg No. 98 980 pg No. 43 672 pg No. 61 075 pg No. 25 2242 pg No. 47 412 pg No. 66 455 pg No. 39 813 pg No. 49 661 pg No. 89 582 pg No. 97 111 pg No. 75 470 pg No. 43 512 pg No. 49 287 pg No. 90 880 pg No. 64 044 pg No. 83 519 pg No. 56 907 pg No. 95 112 pg No. 11 275 pg No. 25 686 pg No. 72 086 pg No. 91 948 pg No. 21 173 pg No. 24 845 pg No. 31 844 pg No. 89 750 pg No. 08 611 pg No. 97 284 pg No. 02 190 pg No. 04 372 pg No. 53 116 pg No. 23 710 pg No. 17 339 pg No. 45 411 pg No. 78 775 pg No. 21 797 pg No. 51 378 pg No. 13 021 pg No. 55 812 pg No. 61 639 pg No. 43 926 pg No. 81 971 pg No. 100 763 pg No. 50 058 pg No. 92 662 pg No. 28 717 pg No. 94 339 pg No. 54 518 pg No. 68 167 pg No. 20 121 pg No. 92 220 pg No. 16 558 pg No. 95 738 pg No. 04 723 pg No. 87 599 pg No. 33 719 pg No. 19 862 pg No. 73 412 pg No. 57 166 pg No. 93 064 pg No. 85 971 pg No. 20 856 pg No. 90 581 pg No. 36 101 pg No. 82 477 pg No. 95 112 pg No. 89 132 pg No. 45 939 pg No. 64. We will repeat. (Same Numbers). That is all.

By looking at the colored text of the broadcast one has to wonder if this is a book with regular text or a math book as stated. So in the first it would be the 823rd letter? Or would it be the 823rd word? Even more mind bending could it be letters 8 and 23 on page 69? You see where I am going with that right? All of this came back to me as I was watching a recent Amazon prime video on Shakespeare’s folio and Kabbalah codes and word play that seem to exist within it that may have been a work of Francis Bacon and a second person. Either way, this is an interesting broadcast out of DPRK and I for one would like to ponder just what book this might be if indeed it is a book code…

Unless it is just a math problem set…

One of the other interesting tidbits here is that in the preamble they say these are IT (Information Technology) problems. Does this mean it is something along the lines of a book on CISSP? (in joke there folks!) but yeah, could be that or it could be something like a book on MCSE for all we know. The issue is to match the numbers of letters or words to pages in a book that each agent would be able to get in country and use for this purpose. If this is a book code, did the agents receive a book when the left? Was it sent to them later? Also, each book would have to be the EXACT copy, not iterations of a book in order for the code to work. There are a lot of questions still as usual with North Korea so one could just sit and ponder this for quite some time.

I went and started looking for books printed in DPRK but got no love. That it’s said to be IT, well, I have several boat anchors I can look at but in the end, without some more insight into the hermit kingdom’s methods here, you likely will just lose your mind trying to figure it out. So, if you have some time to waste, this could be a nice distraction but certainly stop before you get to the cliffs of insanity here.



UPDATE: I got a comment on this post from mrpnkt informing me of text books found on Red Star/DPRK Android tablets available in North Korea. The presentation at 34C3 can be seen here:

Basically they discovered that there are a metric ton of almost PDF files on the systems that the end users in DPRK can use to learn. These seem to be uniformly available and as such, they may in fact the the IT manuals discussed in the V15 broadcast last April. These guys actually have the files on a torrent to download and actually are asking for any help in discovering more about them. Thanks to Will Scott Gabe Edwards for this data. I am currently downloading the 4 gig of files to play with myself.

You can too now.


Written by Krypt3ia

2018/01/22 at 21:39

Posted in DPRK

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Have a look at this: Talk “DPRK Consumer Technology” – 34c3. Speaker mentions mentions IT text books.

    mrpnkt (@mrpnkt)

    2018/01/23 at 14:19

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: