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Typo Found in Kryptos CIA Sculpture 144

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-big-oops dept.
SimuAndy writes "Elonka Dunin, game developer at Simutronics and author/editor of the new book, 'The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms', reports that what everyone had thought was the answer to part 2 of the CIA's encrypted Kryptos sculpture, wasn't. Sculptor Sanborn announced this week that everyone had gotten it wrong, because of a mistake on the art piece. For more info, check out the Wired story, or the Kryptos Group announcement."
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Typo Found in Kryptos CIA Sculpture

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  • Sevfg cfbg (Score:4, Funny)

    by MarkByers (770551) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:09PM (#15168467) Homepage Journal
    Sevfg cfbg
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ceren [wigen.net] will never be beaten as the most desirable geek chick ever!
  • CIA mistakes... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister White (892068) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:12PM (#15168500)
    I doubt it, the CIA is *NEVER* wrong. ...wait...
  • Got It! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MudButt (853616) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:13PM (#15168507)
    No wonder I couldn't figure it out! Gimme a second... Okay...

    Be sure to drink your Ovaltine

    Aw man!
    • No, this Wired thread was brought to you by Mountain Dew and Easter Jellie Bellies.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It says: 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us'
    • Careful kid, you'll shoot your eye out!

      *warning - off topic wondering follows*

      on a side note, i wonder if A Christmas Story was the first example of having a 3rd person Narrator voice over using the grown up voice of the main character who is a kid... and, did the producers of The Wonder Years and currently Everyone Hates Chris have to pay a royalty fee for using this 'treatment' since such things can be copyrighted?

  • ... and that it doesn't say anything at all. Just the output of a zeta function, with the seed string 'OMGJOORSOSTOOPID' or something like that.

    I mean, it's happened before.

  • Wouldn't a crypto book be in violation of the DMCA [wikipedia.org]?
    • Wouldn't a crypto book be in violation of the DMCA?

      It is likely that that particular law is in place to protect distribution of codes that actually protect something of value or interest to law enforcement or government agencies. While no one really cares about the codes that are created by kids on a playground, the PGP fiasco a while back was a bigger problem because people outside of the US could use it to encrypt data that the US government couldn't access.

      Another possibility is that the book may j

  • How was this wrong? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by VorpalRodent (964940)
    Everyone had it wrong, because there was a mistake on the art piece? Tell me how that makes the people who decrypted it wrong.

    I would think that if they decoded it properly, the answer they got was correct, regardless of what the intended message was.

    If I make a typo and Rot13 it, you can Rot13 it and get my typo back, and it doesn't make you wrong. It means I can't spell.

    I haven't RTFA, but the summary makes it look like I can correct others for my own mistakes. Cool!

    • by TigerNut (718742) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:35PM (#15168694) Homepage Journal
      It's wrong because the sculpture encodes four puzzles. The solutions to the first three parts are required to solve the fourth part.
    • where are my mod points when I need them? ...
    • by monoqlith (610041)
      The Wired article says that the first three parts of the puzzle contain clues to solve the fourth and final part. So, while they decrypted the message correctly, the mistake that was made has prevented them from figuring out how to decrpt the entire message correctly. So, yeah, it was the artist's mistake, but it was an incorrect decryption because it doesn't provide any meaningful clues about the fourth part of the puzzle.
    • This happens in real life. Sometimes the operators of crypto gear make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes make it easier to decrypt the intended messages, sometimes it make it so hard that even the reciever can't make sence of it.

      It's common to add garbage to the front and end of an encrypted message just to make it harder to know what the real message was for an attacker. Sometimes this garbage causes confusion in the correct recipient.
  • huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sentientbrendan (316150) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#15168668)
    The problematic part is at the end of part 2: "... forty-four seconds west. ID by rows." On April 19th, sculptor Sanborn contacted one of the Kryptos Group moderators to say, "No, that last part is wrong." He also indicated that there was a missing character on the sculpture, probably something that would have resulted in a plaintext "X" before that section. He said that he had thought that with the missing character, the section in question would have come out to be an unintelligible scramble. Instead, he was astounded to see that by sheer chance, the resulting random text had turned out to be apparently intelligible English, "ID BY ROWS", although that was not what was intended.

    what are the odds of that?
    • There are forms of cryptography which rely on the same message decrypting to potentially equally valid plaintexts, but this is the first time I've heard of an incomplete encrypted message decrypting to an equally valid plaintext. It's not that different, in concept, but it's definitely unusual and suggests that the algorithm is faulty. I suggest having the crypto lounge report this as a known attack.
      • by chihowa (366380)
        It's not that different, in concept, but it's definitely unusual and suggests that the algorithm is faulty./blockquote> Faulty? I'd consider that a feature. If all crypto could be decrypted to a number of 'valid' plaintexts you'd have perfect plausible deniability. That is: presuming (as was verified) that "ID BY ROWS" wasn't the correct plaintext.
    • Instead, he was astounded to see that by sheer chance, the resulting random text had turned out to be apparently intelligible English, "ID BY ROWS", although that was not what was intended.

      what are the odds of that?


      Precisely 100% - because that is exactly what happened.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tim Browse (9263) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @06:02PM (#15169266)
      what are the odds of that?

      It's a million to one shot. But as we know, they come up 9 times out of 10.

    • by nyri (132206)
      what are the odds of that?

      Some kind of upper limit is 15%. The more probable value is around 0.05%.

      To get 15% I used following assumptions:
      Number of letters is 26. This means that there is 26^8=208827064576 possible strings. Every one of them is eqaully propable.

      Nuber of different words by their length is (fetched from /usr/share/dict/words):
      n1: 26
      n2: 160
      n3: 762
      n4: 3070
      n5: 6350
      n6: 10691
      n7: 14296
      n8: 15223

      Different settings of words are (I have removed all of them that contains 3 or more words with length of
      • Those are some interesting numbers! Would you like to join our Kryptos brainstorming group? If so, send an email to kryptos-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

        Elonka :)

  • one hell of a typewriter...
  • >undergruund
    >desparatly
    >the remains ... was removed

    Still some work to do.
  • Looking at the history of the sculpture, it's been seen that most of the information and methods considered have been unnecessary or incorrect. For instance, there should be somewhere to find the key words, but they weren't needed. Is is possible that in decoding part 4 (still unsolved) we're missing the forest for the trees? Maybe the final decryption won't have much to do with the typo in part 2.

    Then again, maybe someone will have the solution two days from now and I'll look like an idiot.

  • Publius Enigma (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inKubus (199753) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:58PM (#15168857) Homepage Journal
    This reminds me of another interesting public puzzle, the "Publius Enigma [wikipedia.org]", which was/is a puzzle connected with Pink Floyd's 1994 album The Division Bell and some anonymous postings made to the newsgroup alt.music.pink-floyd coinciding with their 1994 tour of the same name.

    Numerous [pinkfloyd-co.com], interesting [angelfire.com] sites are out there, and people have been trying to solve the thing for over 12 years.

    Quite interesting, especially if you like the music and want to add a "new dimension".

    • Douglas Adams (Score:3, Interesting)

      by inKubus (199753)
      Also, it is rumored that Douglas Adams [angelfire.com] had something to do with the puzzle, since he was friends with the band and actually came up with the name for the album.

  • Bad Title (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaceyHW (832021) <(maceyhw) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:16PM (#15168988)
    It's not a "typo". According the wired article, Sanborn decided to leave out a single charater (an "x" serving as a "period") for asthetic reasons and this led to a faulty decryption of one phrase of the message.
    • The artist seems like a massive jerk...


      He said that he had thought that with the missing character, the section in question would have come out to be an unintelligible scramble. Instead, he was astounded to see that by sheer chance, the resulting random text had turned out to be apparently intelligible English, "ID BY ROWS", although that was not what was intended

      So basically he thought it would be impossible to solve all this time but never told anyone?
      If I had been working on this puzzle I would feel a

  • Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:18PM (#15168996) Homepage
    In an unrelated story Sculptor Sanborn went missing last night...
  • From the article: "The entire passage was previously decrypted to read: This was his last message: x Thirty-eight degrees fifty-seven minutes six point five seconds North, seventy-seven degrees eight minutes forty-four seconds West. ID by rows."

    This seems very clearly a set of geographical longitude/lattitude coordinates. Presumably whatever's actually at that location would be necessary context for the "layer two" to make sense. So what location does that set of coordinates refer to? One of these cryptogra
  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:49PM (#15169207) Journal
    The CIA has followed up the public announcement that there is a typo in the encrypted message by asking people to stop sending them their old hi-fi speakers for recycling since the decrypted message does *NOT* read "all your bose are belong to us".

  • geeks (Score:4, Funny)

    by identity0 (77976) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @06:08PM (#15169296) Journal
    Heh, it just goes to show how obsessed some geeks get. I loved this last part:

    "I've been drinking Mountain Dew and eating Easter Jelly Bellies to sharpen my mind," he says.

    He says the new information was the equivalent of throwing a steak into shark-infested water. "There's going to be a frenzy of action around this for months because it's the first real bit of data we've been able to get. We don't know what it means. But it's very exciting."


    Yeah, sharpening his mind with Jelly Bellies and going into a frenzy because someone added an 'x' to a cyphertext... nope, no dorkyness here...
  • Giggity! (Score:2, Funny)

    by mojotooth (53330)
    From the Kryptos Group article:

    The exact method used in K2 is polyalphabetic substitution, known as a "Quagmire III variation" of a Vigenère cipher. The keyed cipheralphabet and plaintext alphabet both use the key of KRYPTOS, and the indicator key is the word ABSCISSA.


    And for some reason, every cipher determined by this method comes out "GIGGITY GIGGITY"
  • If you RTFA then you'll notice that the END of the 3rd part (3 of 4) had a missing null character. Making the last 8 characters spell out idbyrows (ID by Rows) instead of what they should have been: layertwo (Layer Two).

    This isn't such a big 'everything was broken' as you may seem to think that it is. The original key still works. So the original people who cracked the 3rd part are still considered the first.

    This is an important revilation because it is believed that part 4 (which has not been cracked) is s
  • "All your base are bleong...
  • This is big news (Score:3, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#15169672) Journal
    IIRC, some journalist/cryptologist/someone sweet talked the CIA into letting them onto the grounds. They did a pencil impression of the sculpture and then they got to wander around.

    The reason they went wandering around was to try and make sense of this piece of section two:
    Does Langley know about this? They should: it's buried out there somewhere. x Who knows the exact location? Only WW. This was his last message: x Thirty-eight degrees fifty-seven minutes six point five seconds North, seventy-seven degrees eight minutes forty-four seconds West. ID by rows."
    If the text was actually supposed to say "... forty-four seconds west. x Layer Two". then that should change their interpretation of whatever they saw on the CIA grounds.

    Someone much nerdier than I analyzed the coordinates [arcticus.com], but all this was done under the previous understanding of what Section 2 said.
    • Since the correction is that "ID by rows" isn't supposed to be anything (it's random padding at the end to make the block in the sculpture line up and to conceal the true length of the message), and it only looks like words by chance, after the sculptor removed the final punctuation of the actual message for aestetic reasons without checking that the random padding wasn't now shifted into decoding to something, that site, which doesn't use the "ID by rows" line at all is just as accurate as ever.
  • Assuming you watched last night's ALIAS episode, didn't Marshall decode this successfully? [grin]

    P.S. I assume this is the same code that was shown.
  • by 222 (551054) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [rekeesmrots]> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:34PM (#15169986) Homepage
    Although my involvement with the Kryptos project has lessened due to time constraints (Its not World of Warcraft if thats what you were thinking!), this is actually right up my alley.
    I created a 3d replica of the statue in 3d studio max (It should still be available in the yahoo group file section) and this talk of layer 2 talk may imply the folding of the statue. Elonka mentioned this to me a few days ago, but I didn't realize it was this important of an update.

    Installing 3d studio max now, there goes my sleep for the next month O.O
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by segfault7375 (135849) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:16PM (#15170170)
    Slashdot reporting on a typo? Oh the delicious irony! :)
  • Check out Episode 78 [binrev.com] on Crytography at binrev. There a lot of other stuff on that as well (it's an hour or so of just standard radio show stuff, then some juicy bits on Elonka's exploits, and also a "dummy's guide to crypto and terminology" type intro near the end (well, I think they come in that order).
  • So much time was wasted by so many individuals trying to figure this thing out, and so many reams of paper were published about the darn thing, and then it turns out that there is a TYPO in the darn thing?!??!!?!

    That's ridiculous!

  • "Ilqusion?" "IDBYROWS?" That's some real qwality work.
  • I far one welcome our craptic overlards.
         
  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:07AM (#15170913)
    .. when I was taking Operating Systems II, and our first homework questions was to decrypt the encrypted assignment once we wrote a public-private de/encryption program, using the public & private keys we were given. Shortly after I got my program written & debugged, I figured out that the teacher had used/given out a wrong number (!), meaning the assignment couldn't be decoded, so I told my buddy who was also in the same class with me before the weekend so he didn't have to waste his time as well.

    The following week in class the teacher announces the correct public & private keys, and most of the class flipped out since they had spent the time trying to figure out why their program wasn't decoding the encrypted assignment. (I guess those students never used a test case to verify that their program _actually_ was working correctly!?)

    I guess it pays to pay attention to the expected data. ;-)
  • by payndz (589033) on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:50AM (#15171475)
    Hey! I put those co-ordinates into Google Earth, and it crashed! Damn CIA spooks will do anything to protect their secrets...
  • Typo (Score:3, Funny)

    by wildsurf (535389) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:45AM (#15171587) Homepage
    Cryptographers of the world, untie!
  • Sculptor Sanborn announced this week that everyone had gotten it wrong, because of a mistake on the art piece.

    Did everyone really get it wrong? Seems they may have all have solved the problem they were presented with, even if this wasn't the problem which was intended. So they may not have solved what was intended, but Sanborn's mistake doesn't automatically make everyone else a failure... If I take a math test that asks me what 4 * 7 is and I answer 28, but they say "oops, we really meant to ask what was 1

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