It’s like trying to improve your golf game, you can swing all you want but until you try to learn from someone who can teach you; you’re basically wasting your time.

This weekend I took some time off of solution attempts at K4 to read a cryptology book. The bookstore I went to had two and I grabbed Code Breaking: A History and Exploration by Rudolf Kippenhahn. It was pretty decent. I came away convinced that Kryptos is truly a pencil/paper coded system. All of the analog ciphering methods have ways to solve them with or without keywords therefore it’s basically necessary to identify the method used and then follow the procedures to decipher the plaintext. Classically, it would appear that substitution and transposition (in multitudinous incarnations) ruled the day when we had to do it by hand. This makes sense as all you really can do is change what the message is or change the order.

Personally, I think steganography has inspired the greatest interest in me. Kryptos in some ways is not applicable because we know it’s ciphered. There are some hidden elements, sure, but true steganography means hiding something that a non-recipient doesn’t know is even there.

I am inspired to pursue further studies into cryptology as it can only help my “game” so to speak. I would recommend several different strategies for any budding scholars. Look for a military source, a mathematically inclined source and a game/hobbyist source. The strategies are similar with different emphasis for each giving a more rounded approach to attempting solutions. I’ve kicked around a few concepts I’d like to try out so hopefully it will be a fruitful week of attempts if not solutions.

Kryptos Fan