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The sculpture is still there, at least it was a few weeks ago.
There have been no correct decipherments that I have heard of.
(There is a totally bogus one somewhere on the Web.)
The correct answer is "Give money to Tom, and you will have good luck".
Why does anybody care? It's a single message encoded with a unknown
cipher (they have an idea on what it could be) with no way of detecting
if they got the right message. This spells an awful waste of time. I
could post nonse garbage and claim to be a KRYPTOS too.. watch
'kdlfjghfdgkjvbhdfkjgh' is my super duper message. Try and break it
(if you didn't realize I just hit my hand on the keyboard).
That's my two cents. (Yes I have seen KRYPTOS, and the bad pictures on
the web, but I really don't are much for such things). If you are
doing just a story on it... It was dropped off in front of the federal
building by an unknown person some years back. They believe it's some
quite of substitution (rotating state or something) cipher. No one has
claimed to drop it off, and as far as anybody knows it's just ciphertxt
right now. That's all I know anyways.
PGP public keys. SPARE key is for daily work, WORK key is for
published work. The spare is at
'http://members.tripod.com/~tomstdenis/key_s.pgp'. Work key is at
'http://members.tripod.com/~tomstdenis/key.pgp'. Try SPARE first!
>It was dropped off in front of the federal
>building by an unknown person some years back.
No, it was a work of art, commissioned from an artist. The message
consists of stretches in several different ciphers, starting with some
that are relatively easy to solve. The Crypto Drop Box has some
material about it.
John Savard ( teneerf<- )
Uh, that was weird. I think just about everything you said must be
wrong. The CIA doesn't let just anybody unload large unknown blocks
of masonry in their courtyard. The sculpture was done by James Sanborn
and dedicated in Oct 1990. Sanborn said that the CIA "will never figure
it out." The cryptographer was Edward M. Scheidt, retired former chairman
of the CIA's Cryptographic Center (I didn't know they had one until I saw
his bio) and apparently now a beltway bandit. It may be encrypted in
sections using different algorithms. I haven't heard that any of it has
been decrypted. Given Scheidt's interest in key escrow, I'd expect the
key to be hidden in there for somebody who knows what to look for.
Highday, 17 Forelithe S.R. 1999, 21:55
22.214.171.124.12, 9 Eb 20 Zip, Second Lord of Night
No, it appears to be several messages (separated by "?" characters)
encrypted in different systems, and some of them are long enough
that a correct decryption would be unambiguous. I.e., any two
competent cryptanalysts who found solutions would find the same one.
> ... If you are doing just a story on it... It was dropped off in
> front of the federal building by an unknown person some years back.
You're completely wrong. Kryptos was a commissioned work by local
sculptor James Sanborn. It's in the courtyard next to the CIA
I don't think it has anything to do with key escrow, but the solutions
(or at least the plaintext) were sealed in an envelope which was given
to the DCI.
One section of Kryptos is clearly a transposition cipher, which means
that it is solvable with enough trial and error by someone who knows
the general methodology. (I haven't had the time to work on it; my
main contribution so far was to post an accurate transcription several
years ago, which one sometimes finds floating around the Internet with
attribution and other notes removed.)
Another section shows sufficient pattern to make me think that it too
should be breakable.
I suppose if you get desperate, you could burgle the DCI's vault. ;-\
I've tried several things on the transposition cipher -- I think it's
shorter than the section suggested by the CIA in the letter posted at
the ACA site, or 336 letters total, from ENDYA to TVDOH W. The
individual letter frequencies are much more convincing that way. I've
made some progress on it (I think) but don't have a solution to anything.
Sterday, 18 Forelithe S.R. 1999, 13:56
126.96.36.199.13, 10 Ben 1 Zotz, Third Lord of Night
Correction -- I just solved one of the other sections. I'll be writing it
up for "The Cryptogram", the organ of the American Cryptogram Association.
It has about a 3 month lead time, so you have plenty of time to subscribe. :)
It's a real solution in a known system with two single-word keys.
Sterday, 18 Forelithe S.R. 1999, 22:46
Excellent! Let me be one of the first to congratulate you.
Doug was right about this -- I solved the transposition section last
night. I now have solutions to all but the last few lines of the
sculpture. Perhaps I should use Kelsey & Schneier's "Street Performer
Protocol" to publish the solutions... so far my plan is to submit it
to The Cryptogram, the publication of the American Cryptogram Association.
> (I haven't had the time to work on it; my
> main contribution so far was to post an accurate transcription several
> years ago, which one sometimes finds floating around the Internet with
> attribution and other notes removed.)
Doug's careful transcription (complete with attribution) was critical
to solving it. I can confidently say that a missing character in the
transposition section would have made it very much more difficult, and
probably impossible for me.
> I suppose if you get desperate, you could burgle the DCI's vault. ;-\
There're still those last few lines waiting to be decrypted. I'll
review the Mission Impossible movie for tips on getting into the
vault, if all else fails.
Trewesday, 21 Forelithe S.R. 1999, 15:52
188.8.131.52.16, 13 Cib 4 Zotz, Sixth Lord of Night
> Doug's careful transcription (complete with attribution) was critical
> to solving it. I can confidently say that a missing character in the
> transposition section would have made it very much more difficult, and
> probably impossible for me.
> There're still those last few lines waiting to be decrypted. I'll
> review the Mission Impossible movie for tips on getting into the
> vault, if all else fails.
:-) I doubt it's necessary, you'll get a whole lot more people
interested now in looking at it.
Patience, persistence, truth,
There is polyalphabeticity going on, but no digraphic substitution.
Their transposition periods are a clear miss. Their main wrong
guess is that question marks separate the sections; in fact, each
question mark is textual. The fact that much of it was mis-diagnosed
leads me to be hopeful about the last bit. I don't see any
regularities other than a probably-spurious Phillips-like distribution,
if you ignore the presence of both I and J. This could mean a number
of things other than a OTP: perhaps running key with a coherent
keytext and perhaps mixed alphabet, or an autokey, or perhaps a
combination polyalphabetic and transposition. Lots of challenging
I'll work on the last section for a little longer before I expose
the rest -- I'd like to dump the whole bag at once if possible.
Hevensday, 22 Forelithe S.R. 1999, 06:18
184.108.40.206.17, 1 Caban 5 Zotz, Seventh Lord of Night
Drat! Inspired to action by Jim's previous successes, I was just
about to try a quick attack on that section, on the assumption that
it was double transposition and that the keys were KRYPTOS/KRYPTOS,
VIRTUALLY/INVISIBLE, SHADOW/FORCES, or LUCID/MEMORY.
> There're still those last few lines waiting to be decrypted.
In case anyone wants to make a stab at it:
This might be intractable, if the CIA Public Affairs office's help
note is right in classifying it as a true one-time-pad system.
However, if they misclassified any of the other sections (something
that Jim is now in a position to assess), it would cast doubt on
their ability to make a correct diagnosis. Their classifications:
(1) Digraphic substitution.
(2) (3) (4) Polyalphabetic, 4 or 8 alphabets.
(5) Transposition, width 11 or 13.
(6) One-time, or perhaps Vigenere based on KRYPTOS tableau.
Jim deserves high praise for almost (so far) totally cracking
KRYPTOS in just a few days. I guess we need to find another
unsolved puzzle. How about Zodiac #2?
I think motivation is important. So long as people were thinking that
Kryptos was intractable, they didn't put in the work that it actually
takes to crack the systems. I'm happy to have played some role in
spurring Jim to tackle it.