Can You Break Codes?


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The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs a crack team of cryptanalysts to break ciphers that criminals use.  Some ciphers are simple, such as the codes that numbers runners and other bookies use for illegal gambling.  Others are a bit tougher, such as codes used between gangsters in prison and their organized crime families still on the outside. 

But rather than giving the cryptanalysts a cipher to break, they have created one for the public to play with.  The FBI has posted the crypto puzzle below on their website.  Anyone here game enough to try to crack it?  Feel free to post clues in the comments section.

PIKODENHFENJIKM! YIH QELB GDISBK NQB PICB. OI NI AGJ. OIL/PICB.QNT MI WB SKIW, EKC UFBEMB PIKMJCBD E PEDBBD WJNQ NQB AGJ.

Hint: if you want a primer on basic cipher systems and how to break them, see the article Analysis of Criminal Codes and Ciphers.

One of the most famous cases where FBI cryptanalysts were used was the Zodiac Killer case.  The FBI has a page on that here.







29 Responses to Can You Break Codes?

  1. I didnt bother to decipher the entire thing..

    but the moral of the story:

    http://www.fbi.gov/code.htm

    Pretty simple just to look at it, due to the:

    OI NI AGJ.OIL/PICB.QNT

    Since we knew it was on the FBI site.. it was easy to just guess that AGJ.OIL is FBI.GOV And if 'I' is 'O'.. Easy to guess that OI NI is "GO TO". Knowing HTML, you can guess QNT is probably .htm..

    The first word has the same amount of characters as congrats, and the letters match up.. overall, I don't understand why this wasn't on the "kids" page that they reference.

  2. I went through and used clues to the obivous words to map the letters in this simple replacement cipher.

    Here’s some Powershell code to do the mapping and return the clear text. With the few assumed words it became trivial to reason out the rest of the message and build the mappings.


    $cryptotext = 'PIKODENHFENJIKM!
    YIH QELB GDISBK
    NQB PICB.
    OI NI AGJ.OIL/PICB.QNT
    MI WB SKIW, EKC
    UFBEMB PIKMJCBD
    E PEDBBD WJNQ
    NQB AGJ.'

    $charactermap = @{
    # Hashmap Syntax Format
    # 'A' = 'B';
    # 'B' = 'C';
    }

    function translate ($letter) {
    if ($charactermap.Keys -ccontains $letter) {
    $clearletter = $charactermap["$letter"]
    Write-host -NoNewline -ForegroundColor 'Green' $clearletter
    } else {
    Write-Host -NoNewline -ForegroundColor 'red' $letter
    }
    }

    $cryptotext.ToCharArray() | % {
    translate -letter $_
    }
    Write-Host ""

  3. I went through and used clues to the obivous words to map the letters in this simple replacement cipher.

    Here's some Powershell code to do the mapping and return the clear text. With the few assumed words it became trivial to reason out the rest of the message and build the mappings.

    <code>

    $cryptotext = 'PIKODENHFENJIKM!

    YIH QELB GDISBK

    NQB PICB.

    OI NI AGJ.OIL/PICB.QNT

    MI WB SKIW, EKC

    UFBEMB PIKMJCBD

    E PEDBBD WJNQ

    NQB AGJ.'

    $charactermap = @{

    # Hashmap Syntax Format

    # 'A' = 'B';

    # 'B' = 'C';

    }

    function translate ($letter) {

    if ($charactermap.Keys -ccontains $letter) {

    $clearletter = $charactermap["$letter"]

    Write-host -NoNewline -ForegroundColor 'Green' $clearletter

    } else {

    Write-Host -NoNewline -ForegroundColor 'red' $letter

    }

    }

    $cryptotext.ToCharArray() | % {

    translate -letter $_

    }

    Write-Host ""

    </code>

  4. I do not understand the code you posted. I guessed the first word would be congratulations because it was long and ended in a ‘!.’ Then the next sentence seemed to read “You have broken the code.” From there I just took the letters I had won and worked out the rest of the thing.

  5. I do not understand the code you posted. I guessed the first word would be congratulations because it was long and ended in a '!.' Then the next sentence seemed to read "You have broken the code." From there I just took the letters I had won and worked out the rest of the thing.

  6. I didnt bother to decipher the entire thing..

    but the moral of the story:

    http://www.fbi.gov/code.htm

    Pretty simple just to look at it, due to the:

    OI NI AGJ.OIL/PICB.QNT

    Since we knew it was on the FBI site.. it was easy to just guess that AGJ.OIL is FBI.GOV And if 'I' is 'O'.. Easy to guess that OI NI is "GO TO". Knowing HTML, you can guess QNT is probably .htm..

    The first word has the same amount of characters as congrats, and the letters match up.. overall, I don't understand why this wasn't on the "kids" page that they reference.

  7. Pingback: Tres son un mundo » Blog Archive » El criptograma del FBI

  8. Amateurs!

    Here is one of your comments encrypted with a real encryption program. See http://www.away32.com/howPROFworks.html
    for the password if you give up. There are no linebreaks.

    Spaces between words are encrypted.

    gOi8oidopbljQ8GS+gJp8CAVwwKIGOXE6

    LtT3phocs4yN8nI2M0HBsrNQzav9p9wGoRBe6ci/

    HCA5IvUN7u4ER27XVYuVndikV4kVWq1AhRdkk9V1

    jlnRc5Df9y0lmPuvE/qb1BiGZ2KDdWqiCZ54G

    rQ8llaYyPuq36+xzMZeKFyaPruhYLAcQsDjHu

    FDBQ01ZfD79ZvIRHeqhISjOIZFIdNbERFj/HQQ5

    SeBqmO4ODvhiqYaI4nC+zKZkZm7kwe26Tpqre

    39Y7LQYMZKBm1rku9zE9DySMGXYumq5PXTxao

    HC1o8aXbHdQDgzxf3pzrsYnqRG6sIes5OcGndH

    T6oNqYrO5rIlcGWQC1NUKqkOeLFGUB1mdr3l8

    i/cuHUgIcoV2NsmRhZD+1rwUhtAnFxQ2LT1Xfny

    MY24sXK0obn2n2wtI4YHQHBDNfg3Qv+fjqIB

    ktMonxYQiza+hdadbvUlfsjj$014

    • The problem is you'll need to have a computer to decypher this text, which is not the case with the other algo.

  9. Amateurs!

    Here is one of your comments encrypted with a real encryption program. See http://www.away32.com/howPROFworks.html
    for the password if you give up. There are no linebreaks.

    Spaces between words are encrypted.

    gOi8oidopbljQ8GS+gJp8CAVwwKIGOXE6

    LtT3phocs4yN8nI2M0HBsrNQzav9p9wGoRBe6ci/

    HCA5IvUN7u4ER27XVYuVndikV4kVWq1AhRdkk9V1

    jlnRc5Df9y0lmPuvE/qb1BiGZ2KDdWqiCZ54G

    rQ8llaYyPuq36+xzMZeKFyaPruhYLAcQsDjHu

    FDBQ01ZfD79ZvIRHeqhISjOIZFIdNbERFj/HQQ5

    SeBqmO4ODvhiqYaI4nC+zKZkZm7kwe26Tpqre

    39Y7LQYMZKBm1rku9zE9DySMGXYumq5PXTxao

    HC1o8aXbHdQDgzxf3pzrsYnqRG6sIes5OcGndH

    T6oNqYrO5rIlcGWQC1NUKqkOeLFGUB1mdr3l8

    i/cuHUgIcoV2NsmRhZD+1rwUhtAnFxQ2LT1Xfny

    MY24sXK0obn2n2wtI4YHQHBDNfg3Qv+fjqIB

    ktMonxYQiza+hdadbvUlfsjj$014

    • The problem is you’ll need to have a computer to decypher this text, which is not the case with the other algo.

  10. this was a kids game cipher hahah, have been playing with ciphers for some good 6 years now. Even got to the point where I’m developing a cypher wargame for other people who want a tough game that takes a lot of analyzing.

    zamek.intruded.net , 3 levels so far. If you enjoy cracking and ciphers you’ll like this one.

  11. this was a kids game cipher hahah, have been playing with ciphers for some good 6 years now. Even got to the point where I'm developing a cypher wargame for other people who want a tough game that takes a lot of analyzing.

    zamek.intruded.net , 3 levels so far. If you enjoy cracking and ciphers you'll like this one.

  12. P I K O D E N H F E N J I K M
    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!
    Y I H
    Y O U
    Q E L B
    HAVE
    G D I S B K
    B R O K E N
    N Q B
    T HE
    P I C B
    C O DE.
    O I
    G O
    N I
    T O
    A G J.O I L/P I C B. Q N T
    F B I.G O V/CODE. HTM
    M I
    S O
    W B
    WE
    S K I W,
    KNOW,
    E K C
    AND
    U F B E M B
    PLEASE
    P I K M J C B D
    C O N S I D E R
    E
    A
    P E D B B D
    C A R E E R
    W J N Q
    WITH
    N Q B
    THE
    A G J
    FBI

  13. P I K O D E N H F E N J I K M

    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!

    Y I H

    Y O U

    Q E L B

    HAVE

    G D I S B K

    B R O K E N

    N Q B

    T HE

    P I C B

    C O DE.

    O I

    G O

    N I

    T O

    A G J.O I L/P I C B. Q N T

    F B I.G O V/CODE. HTM

    M I

    S O

    W B

    WE

    S K I W,

    KNOW,

    E K C

    AND

    U F B E M B

    PLEASE

    P I K M J C B D

    C O N S I D E R

    E

    A

    P E D B B D

    C A R E E R

    W J N Q

    WITH

    N Q B

    THE

    A G J

    FBI

  14. so this code is from fbi this just a child play but if someone make this code in the real case he/she left a code like this what u will think? but my theory is when a police or agent see a kind of these code people or that agent would react but what if the code was created not to be spotted but to twist the case””. if agent focus in kind of this code the case will be just go farther cause the code is reaaly not true.this is just my consult for some agents their :)).

  15. so this code is from fbi this just a child play but if someone make this code in the real case he/she left a code like this what u will think? but my theory is when a police or agent see a kind of these code people or that agent would react but what if the code was created not to be spotted but to twist the case"". if agent focus in kind of this code the case will be just go farther cause the code is reaaly not true.this is just my consult for some agents their :)).