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Mum’s the Word: on the NSA's Series of Cold War Security Posters (bunkhistory.org)
19 points by benbreen 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

I’m surprised we don’t see a modern reinterpretation of security awareness / counter intelligence communication reminders.

During the Cold War if the Soviets acquired state of the art semiconductors there would be little chance in them reverse engineering it successfully without a massive investment of further IP theft and CAPEX in the form of a chip fab.

Nowadays the vast majority of total R&D is for commercial use(with military application) rather than trickle down commercial use from military R&D in the post WWII environment.

An argument could be made that with an increasing proportion of military capability being a combination of Commercial technology “A” mashed up with Commercial technology “B”(with some minor modifications) that the need for security is greater due to accessibility of commercial technology being near ubiquitous.

Were the powers that be too paranoid back then, and not paranoid enough now?

Steve Blank’s Secret History of Silicon Valley is relevant:


Especially the inversion of R&D from military to commercial.

This article starts OK, but the conclusions don't make any sense to me... Print advertising isn't dead, it still lives on (of course) in print, and even if newspapers and magazines are diminishing, billboards and other outdoor advertising certainly are not. Sure, there is way less of an emphasis on it with new types of media that have popped up in the meantime, but it's crazy to say the Internet has killed it...

It says "It’s hard to imagine the NSA launching a similar campaign today" and "We’ll never see their likes again" - but of course they still produce this kind of stuff internally... Sure, the style has evolved and changed from the mid-century aesthetic, and the way the message is communicated has changed a bit, but 'creative/artistic' posters for this purpose still exist and will continue to... I literally saw a cartoon poster reminding people not to share classified information produced by the Australian Defence Department last week on a site visit to a Navy facility that uses some of our hardware...

Well those look like something made for the original Twilight Zone. Or a parody of them.

The British equivalents frequently look dated and anachronistic but without the disturbing vibe. One or two of the WW2 Brit posters had a slightly Soviet feel - mainly from the art style.

I don't get the creepy vibe the author is claiming. looks like mundane office posters of the period to me.

a phone in a noose isn't creepy?

When the full list was posted on HN previously, [1] there were a few that I thought are humorously over the top today, and would definitely be out of place (and potentially piss off HR) in a modern office:

Beware the truce of the bear: https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NSA-15.jpeg

If the communists win, they'll erase God: https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NSA-31-1200x...

Commie security: https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NSA-38-1200x...

Christian ideals created freedom: https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NSA-42-1200x...

Four horsemen: https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/NSA-69-1200x... [1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17222827

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