2017 Symposium on Cryptologic History

Good news: My presentation proposal for this year’s crypto symposium was accepted!

Title: The Unsolved Zodiac 340 Cipher: Features or Phantoms?

Abstract: The Zodiac Killer’s first cipher was a simple substitution cipher that was quickly solved by amateur codebreakers. But after almost 50 years, his second cipher is still unsolved. Current research is focused on unusual statistical features found in the unsolved cipher. Are these features evidence of the underlying encryption scheme used by the killer? Did he use a type of classical cipher or invent a homemade scheme? Or are the features actually phantoms leading us down the wrong path? This talk will try to sort out the good and bad clues in the cipher text, and will invite the codebreaking audience to participate in this promising research.

The 2015 symposium was really fascinating and I was privileged to attend many interesting presentations. In my own presentation there, I presented a broad overview of the Zodiac ciphers and some of their unusual clues and features. In my upcoming talk I will try to provide more details about the interesting cryptographic clues in the unsolved 340-character cipher. My hope is that attendees will gain information that will help them make new discoveries about the 340 that may one day lead to its solution.

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