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College of the Sciences


Kryptos 2020

will be held

April 16 - 20, 2020

Start assembling your teams now!

Registration is now open!

Please click on "Register" on the left-hand menu and read the Contest Rules.

The challenges for this year's competition will appear here at 4 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) on April 16, 2020.




This year, Code Masters Stuart and Cheryl are asking all Kryptos teams to use technology in order to collaborate on this year's challenges at a distance.  Of course you are welcome to use any form of technology you are comfortable with, but you might consider free Zoom accounts, Skype, Google hangouts, FaceTime, various chat and IM apps, etc.  Why, you might even give your team members a phone call (yes, phones can still be used this way!).  The computer support staff at your college or university might be able to help you if you need further suggestions or technical help.

κρυπτοσ or kryptos, is a contest open to any and all undergraduate students. The theme of the contest is centered around the breaking, or cryptanalysis, of ciphers (secret writing). Each challenge presents contestants with a brief scenario together with some ciphertext (encoded message). The goal is to discover the original English plaintext message!

Clues to help break the cipher may be contained in the actual ciphertext or in the details of the accompanying scenario.

While it is not the intent of this contest to test overly technical aspects of crypanalysis or advanced mathematical algorithms, some familiarity with basic codemaking and codebreaking is certainly helpful. Some useful sources include:

Contestants should also be aware that there are quite a few freely available programs and applets that may aid in some of the more tedious aspects of code breaking (e.g. frequency analysis). However, keep in mind that there are never any guarantees with such software!

To Participate

Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor in order to register.

Please read the official contest rules and instructions for submitting solutions before the contest begins.

When the contest begins at 4 p.m. PDT on April 16, 2020, the Cipher Challenges will be available at this website. Begin working and have fun! Solutions need to be submitted by 4 p.m. April 20, 2020. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.

Results will be posted here shortly after the end of the contest. As teams finish each challenge, please prepare and submit solutions according to the guidelines.

Please submit your solutions as you solve each challenge as the time taken to solve a challenge will be used to determine final rankings.

Questions or difficulties?  Email Stuart Boersma [ ].

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