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This museum brings out your inner CIA agent

New in 2018, New York's Spyscape treats visitors to an array of fascinating artifacts as well as a set of interactive challenges designed to assess your attributes and abilities.

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Sarah Tew
SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
1 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Spyscape

Spyscape is a new museum dedicated to the history and practice of espionage. It opened in 2018 in New York.

CNET's Iyaz Akhtar took the tour featuring surveillance, encryption, hacking and spy service lore.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
2 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

This modern facility includes displays of spying technology and artifacts from years past, as well as an interactive set of experiences.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
3 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Tickets start at $39 for adults (roughly £28 and AU$50) and $32 (roughly £23 and AU$42) for children. What's inside? Take a look with us!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
4 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

If you complete a personality test designed by the former head of recruitment for MI5 -- the British domestic security service that's roughly equivalent to the FBI -- and participate in a number of the interactive challenges, you can find out "what kind of spy you'd be."

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
5 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

You'll start your journey in what is now the largest elevator in New York, according to staff. As you ride upstairs you'll watch an introductory film projected on its walls.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
6 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

There are numerous "Question Stations" throughout the museum, offering tests in personality, risk and brainpower.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Iyaz gets started on the personality test. Do you agree or disagree that you'd "say anything to get what you want?"

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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The Hall of Encryption should be interesting!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Inside there are numerous encryption and code-breaking machines. This is the Typex, a British encryption device that dates back to the 1930s. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
10 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Say hello to the Bombe, the machine that decoded the German Enigma cipher thought to be uncrackable. Operating out of the Bletchley Park facility (as seen in the film The Imitation Game), it was a key factor in the covert war against the Nazis. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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For the encryption challenge, Iyaz had to quickly swap letters on this touchscreen to send messages to a colleague in need of rescue.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Next up: lie detectors. This early model dates from the 1950s!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Oooh, so 80s!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Here we see a current lie detector setup. Might be more effective but the one from the 80s looked way cooler.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Time for an interactive deception challenge!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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In this booth, Iyaz was trained and tested in his ability to detect when someone is lying!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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More cool spy tech: This is the Fialka, the Soviet equivalent of the Enigma cipher machine.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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These are Cold War-era cipher machines. The Hagelin CX-52, on the right, and the "pocket version," the CD-57 on the left.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
19 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

This field version of the "US Enigma" machine was intended for battlefield use only. That's because the Germans could break the encryption from this baby within 4 hours, according to the museum.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
20 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Let's see what's inside the Surveillance Hall.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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The recent Edward Snowden affair has already entered the history books. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
22 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

This so-called "Snowbot" is a telepresence robot used by Edward Snowden to remotely attend conferences from Russia, where he's been granted asylum. He's charged with espionage in the US. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
23 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Check out these tiny secret spy cameras!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Bug sweepers like these can help the paranoid detect listening devices that have been planted in their surroundings.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Here we see Iyaz taking the surveillance challenge, where he had to follow instructions and quickly identify activity happening in a vast array of surveillance footage projected above us.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
26 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Onward to the Hacking wing!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Anonymous and other well-known hacker groups -- and individuals -- are given their due here.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
28 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

For example, this wall display teaches visitors about Stuxnet, the "first weapon to be made entirely out of code." The digital worm which afflicted the Iranian nuclear program is believed to be of US/Israeli origin. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
29 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Stuxnet worm is said to have been brought into Iran on flash drives. The drive shown here is said to actually contain the malicious code.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
30 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Next up is a Special Ops challenge!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
31 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

I can haz lasers?!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
32 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Iyaz speeds through this tunnel, dodging laser beams and hitting as many of the lit buttons as he could in a race against time.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
33 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Final score 124. It must be good: Our tour guide seemed impressed!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
34 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

More historical spy tech along the route! Check out this suitcase radio from the 1940s.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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This is a high resolution camera from a spy plane that was flown over Cuba in 1956.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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More spy gear from the days of old!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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Check out the travel size recorder on the left. Apparently it was so good that the CIA, KGB and Stasi all used it. 

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
38 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

At the end of our tour, Iyaz was able to get his spy test results!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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He'd be best suited for Special Ops... watch out for this guy!

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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You'll exit through the gift shop.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
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There's a pretty fun array of spy-related gear here.

SPYSCAPE: the new museum of surveillance, encryption, hacking, and spy service lore.
42 of 42 Sarah Tew/CNET

Question everything, indeed. 

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