– What is it about the Zodiac cyphers that make them so hard to solve?


– What is it about the Zodiac cyphers that make them so hard to solve?

In: 1

For a cypher to easy or even possible to solve the code must actually follow some pattern, and it would need to decode to something that makes sense. Basically, if the cyphers *are complete nonsense* you’re not going to be able to get any meaning from them.

You also need a certain amount of data to recognize patterns. If every symbol/letter could translate to *any* letter or number and you only see each one a few times, that’s basically random data and you can come up with many solutions but there is no way to prove which is right. With a larger amount of text, you could start to recognize patterns like – that symbol is very common, maybe it means E – or those symbols occur together a lot – maybe they mean T and H. Or this symbol *never* occurs without the other one following it – maybe they are Q and U.

But without enough words to start to see those patterns you have nothing to go on.

2 of the 3 believed authentic Zodiac messages were cracked. The first one was cracked pretty quickly while it took decades to crack the second one. One thing that made the second one so hard to crack was that it didn’t follow it’s own rules strictly. This meant that even if you had the right key it wouldn’t fully decrypt the message. This required a ton of work to kinda decrypt it in steps, teasing out the real message.

The third one is believed to be uncrackable due to how small it is. There just isn’t enough information to find any patters. There’s also a good chance the third message is just gibberish so there’s nothing to actually decrypt.