Your weekly briefing from the home of secrets and skills

How to find the home of a spy

The homes of famous and infamous characters in London are identified with circular blue plaques. One such character, Noor Inayat Khan, was the first female radio operator to be sent into occupied France during the Second World War. Her former home at 4 Taviton Street has just been awarded a blue plaque, and her heroic role as a secret agent will be brought to life by Radkiha Apte in the forthcoming film, A Call to Spy.




N is for Novichok, and for Navalny

When Soviet scientists developed a new nerve agent in the 1970s they called it Novichok, or 'newcomer.' The poison disrupts the lines of communication between nerves and muscles, and a tiny dose can lead to a painful death. Novichok became infamous in 2018 when Britain accused Russian agents of using it to poison a former Russian intelligence operative in Salisbury, UK. Now, Novichok is back in the news, as the German government confirmed that Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was poisoned with Novichok. 




Cartel drone drama

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, a feared Mexican drug gang, is now using weaponized drones to take out their rivals - just one of the new tactics in the international drug wars. The armed gadgets are similar to the ‘quadcopters' used in an assassination attempt on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in 2018.




Journalist's secret family past revealed

In a story truly worthy of a movie, the father of one of the BBC’s most well known reporters - Frank Gardner, who was shot six times in a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia in 2004 - has recently been exposed as a daring secret agent - eventually caught by a Czech double agent after the suave Englishman went with a glamorous assistant to collect secret documents hidden in a tree stump.  




NSA surveillance programme was illegal

Edward Snowden might be living in Russia, he might not have ever received the pardon President Trump mentioned, but he certainly feels vindicated. The National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program that whistleblower Snowden exposed in 2013 has been ruled illegal by the US Court of Appeals, who went as far as to say that the intelligence leaders who defended the program lied. 





Fortnite making hackers rich!

Seems it is not just shareholders in Epic Games who are getting rich from the success of Fortnite (300 million players and counting). Fortnite is now a target for cybercriminals, with some of the most successful criminals selling hacked Fortnite accounts, and earning up to $25,000 per week - more than $1 million per year.




And one more thing... We're BACK!

New York City’s #1 Rated New Museum & Experience (according to Google and Tripadvisor) is back! SPYSCAPE HQ reopens this weekend and, to celebrate, general admission tickets will now include FREE admission (normally $23) to 007xSPYSCAPE, the first official 007 exhibition in NYC.



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