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The best of the British code breakers have apparently met their match in a WWII-era secret message recently discovered attached to the leg of a long-dead pigeon. :(

Cryptographers at Britain?s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the spy agency in charge of signals intelligence, have been analyzing the short handwritten message for weeks but threw up their hands Friday, saying it will be impossible to decode ?without access to the original cryptographic material.?

The note, written on official stationary with the heading ?Pigeon Service,? was discovered in a red canister attached to the skeletal leg of a pigeon in a chimney in Surrey. The message is made up of 27 seemingly random five-letter blocks and though it?s undated, government analysts believe the pigeon met his end while on a secret mission during the Second World War. The note is signed ?Sjt W Stot? and was intended for the destination ?XO2.?

In a statement released overnight, the GCHQ said that during the war, secret communications would often utilize specialized codebooks ?in which each code group of four or five letters had a meaning relevant to a specific operation, allowing much information to be sent in a short message.? The GCHQ said that those messages may have been put through an additional layer of security by being re-coded with what?s known as a one-time pad.

One-time pads make up a theoretically uncrackable secret communications system in which an agent could encode a message using a key that uses truly random numbers to translate plain text into what looks like jibberish. The recipient of the coded message would then only be able to decode the message if they possessed an identical key. After a single use, both keys would be destroyed.

?This means that without access to the relevant codebooks and details of any additional encryption used, it will remain impossible to decrypt,? the GCHQ said.

Nearly a quarter million carrier pigeons were used during the Second World War by various branches of the British military including Britain?s Special Operations Executive, according to the GCHQ. In the air, the small birds fought their own version of the war, braving enemy hawk patrols and soldiers on the ground taking potshots.

The GCHQ has enlisted the Pigeon Museum at Bletchy Park to trace the identity of the pigeon ? each was given a service number ? but is still seeking information on what ?Sjt W Stot? and ?X02? could tell them about the note?s origin and purpose. Was it vital information about the secret D-Day invasion plans? Was it nothing but a training exercise?

One GCHQ historian told BBC News the most helpful suggestion came from the public already:

?A member of the public? suggested that, since the message was found in the chimney, the first two words are most likely to be ?Dear Santa,?? the historian said.

source

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I think the first and last words are key to solving this maybe something polite? like sir or major etc ... it seems to be some kind of formal greeting, also the 27 1525/6 might be a cipher clue ... or as I have been learning the last few days it might be an intensifier OR the second half to a decryption code (that way if they sent it attached to the post, you could decrypt it) means they could change half the process each time

correct me if you think im wrong just thought I would try and be usful

AoAKN HVPKD FNFJU YIDDC

RQXSR DJHFP FOVFN MIAPX

PABUZ WYYND CNPNW HJRZH

NLXKE AENER ONOIB AREEQ

UAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH

LKXEH REEHT JRZCQ FNKTQ

KLDTS FQIRU AOAKN 27 1525/6.

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Don't bother trying to crack it. It's probably encrypted using a one-time pad. It's the only cipher that is 100% mathematically proven to be impossible to decrypt.

I think the first and last words are key to solving this maybe something polite? like sir or major etc ... it seems to be some kind of formal greeting

You're making stuff up :p

Anyway, the 27 1525/6... it's 27 blocks of 5...

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AoAKN HVPKD FNFJU YIDDC

RQXSR DJHFP FOVFN MIAPX

PABUZ WYYND CNPNW HJRZH

NLXKE AENER ONOIB AREEQ

UAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH

LKXEH REEHT JRZCQ FNKTQ

KLDTS FQIRU AOAKN 27 1525/6.

Windows 9 product key :laugh:

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I thought anything could be cracked, given enough time.

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Don't bother trying to crack it. It's probably encrypted using a one-time pad. It's the only cipher that is 100% mathematically proven to be impossible to decrypt.

You're making stuff up :p

:/ Im just taking a guess ... lol when trying to decrypt something like this you have to try and look for human error this is not made by a computer this is a human made encryption there will be mistakes and give aways Im not saying I could crack it but hey its just a lil fun why not share a few ideas xD .... like SJT could also be a hint / encrypted thing ... I would guess its a prefix

Sjt W Stot

CPL CL_L

COL CL_L

CSM CM_M

PFC PC_C

MSG MG_G

GEN GN_N

PVT PT_T

PV2 P2_2

LTC LC_C

PFC PC_C

SGM SM_M

SMA SA_A

CPT CT_T

SGT ST_T

PO3 P3_3

PO1 P1_1

PO2 P2_2

ENS ES_S

CPO CO_O

Amn An_N

A1C AC_C

SrA SA_A

Windows 9 product key :laugh:

O.o shh people will know im a time lord

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I think the first and last words are key to solving this maybe something polite? like sir or major etc ... it seems to be some kind of formal greeting, also the 27 1525/6 might be a cipher clue ... or as I have been learning the last few days it might be an intensifier OR the second half to a decryption code (that way if they sent it attached to the post, you could decrypt it) means they could change half the process each time

lol well since cryptographers have been unable to crack it for weeks, I highly doubt someone here on Neowin is going to find the solution.

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That looks like a knock off of a caesarian shift cipher. The fun part is figuring out how the letters shift.

lol well since cryptographers have been unable to crack it for weeks, I highly doubt someone here on Neowin is going to find the solution.

Not true. I know some people on this same forum that can reverse engineer key codes for software and then write a key generator for said software. Maybe they just have not been pointed at this yet.

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Thing is, if this code requires a one time pad to decipher it we're kinda screwed. The first and last block being identical could mean several things. It could be part of a key to decipher the code or it could simply indicate the beginning and end of a message.

My personal opinion is this is little more than a dyslexics love letter.

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I would laugh if they did!

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can you imagine if CORE wrote a keygen that decrypted it :p

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That looks like a knock off of a caesarian shift cipher. The fun part is figuring out how the letters shift.

is what i am looking at :p

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What's to say its even written in English ? :p

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I thought anything could be cracked, given enough time.

Depends on the algorithm used. If its a known one (AES), yes, in billions of years it can be cracked. But what if its a homemade one that only one person knows? Uncrackable.

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Depends on the algorithm used. If its a known one (AES), yes, in billions of years it can be cracked. But what if its a homemade one that only one person knows? Uncrackable.

if a message was sent, then 2 people knew the decryption if two people know it at least so do many O.o just need to find the grandkids of all the spies in wwII

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The recipient of the coded message would then only be able to decode the message if they possessed an identical key.

So how does the receiver get this identical key ?

By a personal messenger or another coded note ?

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be sure to drink your ovaltine
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If the First two words are "Dear Santa" that means:

AoAKN HVPKD

DEAR- SANTA

or (depending how you look at it)...

AoAKN RQXSR

DEAR- SANTA

Maybe the "N" is a "Space"? Does it give anyone something interesting?

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I think that it could be a Caeser Substitution Cipher but without a Cipher Disk I wouldn't be able to try decoding it. The only two other things it could be using are Bentley's Complete Phrase Code or Polyalphabetic Substitution.

The other possibility is that it's a double encryption, using one or two methods, which was quite common during World War Two to protect sensitive information.

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Maybe its a recipe for pigeon pie

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If anyone cracks this I think it'll probably lead to one of 2 possible outcomes;

1) You win yourself a job for GCHQ

2) You win yourself a permanent place on the list of people to be watched

;)

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If anyone cracks this I think it'll probably lead to one of 2 possible outcomes;

1) You win yourself a job for GCHQ

2) You win yourself a permanent place on the list of people to be watched

3) Be found in a shallow grave with a bullet hole to the back of the head

;)

Fixed that for ya ;)

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It's not a code. That's that actual message.

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I'm a time lord

Then would you be so kind to go back in time and get us the key, all mighty lord of time? :rofl:

Like Rfirth said, I think the bottom letters are the key. I tried doing 1=A and then 5 more than o = T, which spells "AT" but I think that's just a quiescence....I'm close!

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Then would you be so kind to go back in time and get us the key, all mighty lord of time? :rofl:

Like Rfirth said, I think the bottom letters are the key. I tried doing 1=A and then 5 more than o = T, which spells "AT" but I think that's just a quiescence....I'm close!

Then why isn't the lower case "o" used elsewhere in the text. I think that the "Ao" is the cipher key i.e. A=o. Also if "1=A" and "o=T" then the first two characters would be 1T which doesn't really make sense.

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