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S3 Ep45: Routers attacked, hacking tool hacked, and betrayers betrayed [Podcast]

Latest episode - listen now! (And learn about the Navajo Nation's selfless cryptographic contribution to America.)

[02’31”] Home and small business routers under attack.
[16’22”] A hacking tool favoured by crooks gets hacked.
[23’56”] The Navajo Nation’s selfless cryptographic contribution to America.
[29’43”] A cybercrook gets aggrieved at being ripped off by cybercrooks.
[38’33”] Oh! No! The steaming CEO with the flashing phone.

With Doug Aamoth and Paul Ducklin.

Intro and outro music by Edith Mudge.


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I enjoyed the segment about the Navajo code talkers. Did you know that in World War I there were Choctaw codetalkers? I heard about them on an episode of En Clair, a forensic linguistics podcast. There’s a transcript at this link:


I did!

Apparently, one particular value of the Navajo language in the American cause in WW2 was that it was generally thought that their language had been least studied by anyone, especially by visitors from abroad.

Apparently there was a fair bit academic of interest in indigenous languages amongst linguists and anthropologists in the inter-war period, and the Americans noticed that at least a few German academics had been quite heavily involved in studies amongst some of North America’s native peoples… but (for some reason) not the Navajo. So there was a feeling not only that Navajo was hard to learn because it’s the sort of language best imbibed as a child, but also that it was one of the “hard” languages that was least likely to have been documented in any way, especially in publications that would be readily accessible to the Axis powers.

Did German anthropologists suddenly “get interested” in indigenous languages at the instigation of the German government after the collapse of the Weimar Republic, on account of the use of Choctaw in WW1? I have no idea. I assmue it is just as likely that the intellectually wild and heady days of the Weimar Republic (the era that gave us Art Deco, Bauhaus, the famous German typeface still widely used on road signs around the world to this day, the amazingly cool A/B/C paper sizing system based on square metres and the square root of 2) were the cause of this interest… but, either way, the North American language studies that had been done before WW2 would have been well-known in German academic circles, and therefore readily available to the Nazis, and presumably also to the Japanese.

The Navajo Nation famously stepped up to support the Allied war effort, despite being oppressed and mistreated at home, by affirming that there was no more fundamental sense of being American than being a Native American. (Some downtrodden people in other nations under Allied rule infamously tried to do deals with the Axis to betray their own countries, on the theory that “your enemy’s enemy is your friend” when war comes along. But the Navajo Nation did not see things that way at all.)


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