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Mathematics

College of the Sciences

Kryptos 2020 Challenge 3

Challenge 3

Unfortunately, the threat of biological warfare continues to grow.  This time, the threat is coming from a very small, yet very well-funded, extremist group.  We have evidence that this group has developed a fast-spreading virus and is in the process of transporting a small sample to a location that will allow them to release it at any time.  If we can determine where they plan on bringing the virus sample, we can arrange for a team of Special Forces to intercept the virus and, hopefully, as many of the terrorists as possible.  We know that the virus sample is sensitive to temperature and needs to be kept cool, right at 42 degrees F, in order to keep it stable and alive.  Thus, we expect that it will be transported by hand, rather than through any sort of public shipping company. 

One of these bio-terrorists inadvertently used an unencrypted text app to send a recent message.  The message itself, however, was clearly encrypted before being sent via this app.  While we haven’t been able to crack their cipher, we did manage to trace the origin of the text message and we sent in a pair of agents to secretly enter the small apartment.  The apartment was mostly empty, but the agents did find a mysterious sheet of jumbled letters taped to the underside of a desk drawer.  They sent the sheet of paper directly to our lab for analysis. Since they also found a candle nearby, our lab technicians suggested we look for anything written in invisible ink.  Bingo! When heated, some odd arcs started to appear.  Even more surprising, this invisible ink appeared to be in different colors.  The lab enhanced the colors and created this composite for you to study.

So, the only clues we have are this sheet of paper with colored curves and the apparently nonsensical text message.  Can you help us discover where this virus is being sent?

 

Text message:

EEETE TESOE HOIXL OUEPR MGEFE GIAGW ONEOO AGOIS AIATD ELRND EYWWE VNLNP LRORR VEEAR ESTDR DFNEK ERATY ERTBE HSHOB EVAPF RDWOD GAIUS TLYLN II

 

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