Throw the book at him, Part 3

Back in Part 1 we talked about the idea of using a large collection of books as a source of cribs to plug into cipher texts. Can we use a large collection of books, such as Project Gutenberg, to find…

Cipher skin art

Have you ever wanted to do cryptanalysis on someone’s back?

This is the Zodiac eating

The latest tip jar doodle by a hot dog vendor in San Francisco shows a familiar figure with a brand new puzzle for you: Can you solve it before your frank gets cold? UPDATE: The tip jar doodle artist emerged,…

Zodiac Typewriter

In our many online discussions of the Zodiac’s ciphers, I’ve often needed to create pictures of symbols or pieces of the cipher text to illustrate a point. This became tedious after a while, so I created the “Zodiac Typewriter” to…

Everlasting nonsense

Michael Cole has a great recent post on his site concerning the flood of web traffic again generated by the interest in Corey Starliper’s debunked claim of a solution to the 340-character cipher. Michael’s indictment of shoddy journalism is spot…

Mobile codebreaking

This new Zodiac-related iPhone app was released recently by Rene Lowack: Reveal the mysterious secret of the still unsolved encrypted Zodiac letter. Zodiac was a serial killer active in California during the late 1960s and early 1970s. After killing, he…

Throw the book at him! [Part 2]

In Part 1, we looked out how to use Project Gutenberg‘s large collection of about 39,000 digitized books to apply cribs to cipher texts to try to tease out solutions. Another way we can use the collection of books is…

Throw the book at him! [Part 1]

One way to attack a substitution cipher is to guess what part of the plain text solution might be, “plugging” it into where you think it might fit in the cipher text, and then seeing if you can get more…

Lafferty vs the ciphers

Retired Vallejo officer Lyndon Lafferty has been getting a lot of attention for his book in which he claims to know who the Zodiac killer was. The numerous criticisms of his claims aren’t mentioned by the various news stories, but…

Is the 340-character cipher real?

Over forty years of frustration have passed since the Zodiac killer first sent his mysterious 340-character cipher to the San Francisco Chronicle. It only took a week for two teachers to solve his previous cipher. But many thousands of people,…