by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Oct 27, 2011
US and Swedish researchers have cracked the code of the 300-year-old Copiale Cipher with the help of a new computer program that may help to decipher other legendary secretive manuscripts.
"This opens up a window for people who study the history of ideas and the history of secret societies," computer scientist Kevin Knight of the University of Southern California said in a statement Wednesday.
"Historians believe that secret societies have had a role in revolutions, but all that is yet to be worked out, and a big part of the reason is because so many documents are enciphered."
The 75,000-character Copiale Cipher describes the rituals and political leanings of an 18th-century German secret society, which bound the manuscript in gold and green brocade paper, the USC statement said.
The rituals, encoded in a series of abstract symbols interspersed with Greek and Roman characters, indicate that the secretive group had a fascination with eye surgery but that members were not actually eye doctors.
Knight, along with Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden, used a computer program designed to help quantify the recurrence of certain symbols and identify other patterns.
"When you get a new code and look at it, the possibilities are nearly infinite," Knight said. "Once you come up with a hypothesis based on your intuition as a human, you can turn over a lot of grunt work to the computer."
Knight's team initially thought the message was contained in the Greek and Roman characters, but after the computer program disproved that hypothesis, they shifted their attention to the abstract characters, eventually translating the German words for "Ceremonies of Initiation" and "Secret Section."
Knight plans to target other famous coded messages, including the ciphers sent by the Zodiac Killer, an American serial murderer in the 1960s and early 1970s who sent cryptic messages to the press and has never been caught.
He also wants to try the program out on "Kryptos," an encrypted message carved on a sculpture at CIA headquarters, and the medieval Voynich Manuscript, considered among the most mysterious manuscripts ever found.
Cyberwar - Internet Security News - Systems and Policy Issues
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Cyber attacks hit Japan diplomatic missions
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 26, 2011
Computers at several of Japan's overseas diplomatic missions have been hit by cyber attacks, a report said Wednesday, just a day after it was revealed the country's parliament had been targeted. Computers at embassies and consulates in nine countries were infected with viruses in the summer, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing unnamed sources. An official for the foreign ministry said no c ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|