Cone of silence

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See also: Sayings | Security | Eavesdropping | VPN

A device that hangs over the head of people talking, allowing no sound, or audio communication to escape. The Cone is used to refer to a system that prevents eavesdropping. They thwart eavesdropping attempts by creating a private link between two peers. Today’s version of this “cone” is a often created by a Virtual Private Network and its variations. Bad guys can see something is there, but they can’t find out what it is. It may be seen physically as an actual cone in a network diagram to delimit areas that are unsecure from those that are secure.

The saying has also been applied to important or significant facts that people over-zealously keep secret, or choose not to discuss because it is politically incorrect.

The term “Cone Of Silence” was invented in 1958 by Frank Herbert in his short story, “Cease Fire”; he used it again in his classic novel, “Dune”. The term reach a mass audience as a fantasy spy device for the 1960s secret agent parody TV series “Get Smart.” Whenever the main character – Maxwell Smart/Agent 86 – wanted to speak to his boss in confidence, he would insist on lowering the so-called “Cone of Silence.”



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