Schneier on Security
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October 23, 2007
I made my own as a kid. These are much nicer. You can even order your hollow book by topic, the better to blend it into the rest of your library.
Posted on October 23, 2007 at 1:02 PM
• 37 Comments
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I made my own as a kid, too. My older brother didn't appreciate that.
25 cent trivia - these are also known as "solanders".
Yeah, but aren't fake books one of the first places people are going to look? It's not as if this is a new idea, or anything. I suppose they're marketed more at people who want to think they're cool, than those who have, um, something to hide.
It also seems a pretty horrible thing to do to a perfectly good book, but that's just me...
If you've got an entire library of books, though, it'll be difficult to find the fake one without looking at each. Obviously, if you're pressed for time, you're not going to do that.
Anyone can make one with any book. Its not rocket science. Unless of course, that is the method you employ to hollow out the book ;-)
What! None of your books covers are available!
Dr and Nemo:
Go straight for the lupus reference book. I learned on House, MD that the diagnosis is never lupus.
Rhett: Technically, these are different from Solander boxes (book-form cases used by libraries for storing documents). These are actually made out of books.
I could go to my recycle bin and get an empty peanut butter jar for free, or I could pay $13 for a "diversion safe" that looks like a jar of peanut butter. That's called a "rip off."
Or, I could go to my recycle bin, get a jar for free and sell it to one of YOU GUYS for $13! That's called a "business plan!"
'Or, I could go to my recycle bin, get a jar for free and sell it to one of YOU GUYS for $13! That's called a "business plan!"'
"PROFIT"!!! HAR HAR!
What I've often wished I could make is fake "For Dummies" dust jackets for real books. Like "Combined Arms Assault Crossings of Major Rivers For Dummies", or "Nuclear Reactor Design And Maintenance For Dummies", for example.
Isn't this an example of security through obscurity? :)
Time for me to dress up as a soda machine and stash my fake book under a fake manhole cover. Nobody will suspect a thing...
If you're in a hurry to search a library for these things, then you just tilt the whole bookshelf to dump them onto the floor. The hollow books will be obvious amongst the pile. Thieves are messy.
Granted, if the bookshelf you put it on is a collection of comic books, a big fat "War and Peace" novel would stand out.
I might have to take one of my Windows NT 4.0 admin guides and modify it. Heaven knows they are thick enough!
Write the publisher and ask if you can purchase just a dust cover, then slip it over a similarly sized book. :-) I too would hate to destroy one of Bruce's tomes.
@Bruce and Emmanuel
If you care to send a couple of your books my way I could put my wood-working skills to use for you. :-)
Funnies aside, you would have to trust the company that sold you books with hiding places *A LOT*.
If you know that Mr Bloggs purchased a certain book with a hidey hole inside then that might be really useful knowledge for a thief. On the other hand, you buy these online so nobody actually literally sees what you purchased. So there's no risk right?
Nice. There's just something about hiding data in an old copy of Applied Cryptography.
Actually, given an inexpensive registered die cutter, a DIY hollow book could end up dual use. Buy a book, cut out the text with a die. Feed the text portion into a sheet feed scanner, and keep the binding margins as a hollow book. (To hide the CD of the scan perhaps.
That's awesome. There really is one of everything on the Internet. Thanks
I would go for the "Volume discounts"....
@Nemo: Put something interesting but ultimately innocuous in the book's hollow. Embed the important stuff, like a stego key, in the remaining pages.
I made my own out of a communist Philosophical Vocabulary (in Slovakia)
good use for it ;]
I've seen exactly that done with a thin book and Sony's ebook reader. To give it that authentic book-y feel, I suppose. The cover was flat grey since it was a DIY project, but it could probably be anything.
Bruce, didn't you have an interview with a "professional" (former?) burglar on your blog quite some time ago?
IIRC the core of his statements was that these things are quite useless because burglars know that books can be hidespots (analogous for many other "common" hiding places).
Doesn't anybody read Rex Stout any more? When searching an apartment for a document, between the pages of books was always the first hiding place that Archie Goodwin and Saul Panzer looked in. Worst hiding place imaginable.
The place I live in was searched several times by police, mostly for documents (political stuff). The looked at any and every loose A4 piece of paper, but didn't flip through all the books, or files.
But then again, those were searches because of reltivley minor things, and only took about 2 hours (with 3 or 4 policeofficers actively searching)
But still, a hiding place like this could work for some stuff - the sketch*book* of a street artist probably not one of them.
@FredDurkin: unless, of course, the document in the book is an authentic looking fake, which would probably cause them the think they found it and stop looking.
False Data: For small data objects, it is more elegant to write the key to a small piece of paper glued later into the book's spine.
For higher effectivity, paper can be replaced with an EEPROM chip, or a concealed USB disk. Or a flashROM chip; these things can be astonishingly small, though they need an external circuitry to access. (Can be done via parallel port, or with a microcontroller.) For small amounts of data, even a read/write RFID tag can be used.
Using this kind of modification, the book can stay visually intact, leaving the adversary no wiser.
Serendipity still rules.
It seems that among the many franchised juvenile characters with serieses (Hardy boys, Nancy Drew, &c., &c.) there was once a "Mary Jane". Years ago I stumbled across "Mary Jane: Her Book" for a quarter in a cheesy resale store. It has graced my bookshelf, hollowed out, since. Later I also lucked onto "Mary Jane: Her Trip."
I am an employee at Secret Storage Books and just want to say that we 'create' great items from books which would likely end up in landfills.
I also think it is a great way to save a favorite book and have it be more useful. The uses for our book boxes is limited only to what you can dream up.
It is a great item for hiding remotes from husbands and teenage sons.
This site features books made by hand. Not with a router or stamp. They are not free, but what is? The 4 books glued together looks wicked cool. You could hide a severed head in it.
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