Crack this cipher and win $100,000.
kj9 s9p 95s b6m eup bxl khr 1y5 ln8 iix g39 qn5 qkl rjg h2y k6u wy3 lux tbw f4a vcv g7m d3d m7f lit ls3 f47 6gk ary l4u euh der hx6 8hm oj7 jiw aab 1i2 lvr 368 gqh tsm x1g 9ou lxw 8jf n4v b2u nv7 b75 gki 3qm ajq m3g pbr cnw fcp szb 57b 38g m2h iva axh fuf py3 dl1 dm8 59e mb2 aks is7 v6k 7au lfj 5cv 9i4 fkf 2nw ujr h3r 1tl ec7 yr4 svd ueu exi j6h
Now that you did that, and claimed your prize, here’s a few more famous encryptions you can try your skills on. But be warned, even the top minds in the field are boggled by these cryptic codes.
The MIT Time-Lock Puzzle
(aka: The LCS35 Time Capsule Crypto-Puzzle)
Nestled in the archives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a metre-tall container made of lead. Its specific contents are a mystery to be revealed only when an accompanying encrypted message is solved. Only one man has the solution: Ron Rivest, co-inventor of the RSA algorithm, one of the most ubiquitous methods for encrypting online communications.
To celebrate his lab’s 35th anniversary in 1999, Rivest devised a “time-lock” puzzle inspired by his algorithm. Only when the solution is revealed may the lead bag be opened. He estimated it would take 35 years to solve – unless somebody could find a shortcut.
Rivest’s coded message is hidden in 616 numbers. The method of encryption differs from an alphabet-based code, in which each letter matches another. It involves converting numbers into their binary form.
Honestly, this one made my eyes bleed. It’s way past my comprehension. But, maybe you can give it a shot.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia
Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture by American artist Jim Sanborn. Since its dedication on November 3, 1990, there has been much speculation about the meaning of the encrypted messages it bears. Of the four messages, three have been solved, with the fourth remaining one of the most famous unsolved codes in the world.
Everywhere (thanks to the internet)
This most mysterious and intriguing legend goes back to an adventurer, Thomas J. Beale, who stumbled on a large cache of gold and silver in New Mexico in the 1800s.
It was too dangerous regionally, and too large an amount of silver and gold to keep amongst his camps and his partners, so the bounty was transported east, some of the gold being traded for jewels along the way, as the weight of the metal was a great burden.
Thomas Beale left in the possession of an inkeeper in Virginia, Robert Morriss, who he had struck up a friendship and who he trusted, a strongbox, advising him that if he himself did not return, to open the box at the end of the duration of ten years. Morriss instead waited quite a bit longer than this and when he eventually did open the box, he found therein a letter and some numbered pages, presumably some sort of cipher or code. Morriss was unable to understand the meaning of these pages.
In later years, a man named James B. Ward was able to decipher one page of the coded messages and it read in part:
“I have deposited in the county of Bedford about four miles from Buford’s in an excavation or vault six feet below the surface of the ground the following articles… The first deposit consisted of 1,014 pounds of gold and 3,812 pounds of silver, deposited November 1819. The second was made Dec. 1821 and consisted of 1,907 pounds of gold and 1,288 of silver; also jewels obtained in St. Louis in exchange to save transportation and valued at $13,000….”
There have been many exhaustive searches for the treasure, and much effort spent on decoding the other messages, without (confirmed) success. There are many claimed solutions, usually in combination with a book that someone is trying to sell, but no one has been able to duplicate the same decryption method used to decode the first.
Can you decipher the last two… and find the famous lost treaure?
(If you do, you totally have to share some with me, since I told you about it and all. Well, maybe just a few bucks. Like two dollars and a box of envelopes?)
The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The book has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance.
The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer who purchased it in 1912.
The pages of the codex are vellum. Some of the pages are missing, but about 240 remain. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Many people have speculated that the writing might be nonsense. However, in 2013, Marcelo Montemurro of the University of Manchester and Damian Zanette of the Bariloche Atomic Centre published a paper documenting their identification of a semantic pattern in the writing;
This suggests that the Voynich manuscript is a cipher text with a message. The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers.
No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography.
The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.
Good luck. We’re all counting on you.
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