CWU News

Solve the Clues and Break the Code! Register for Kryptos April 16

Codes, ciphers and secret encryptions have protected and hidden vital information for centuries--and are an important factor in our age of encryption and password protection. Enter the annual Kryptos Competition and see if you have what it takes to be a code breaker!

The 2015 Kryptos Competition runs from April 16 to April 20. Registration is open and will remain open until noon on April 16. Register at

When the contest begins at 4:00 p.m. on April 16, the Cipher Challenges will be available at the website noted above. Solutions need to be submitted by 4:00 p.m. April 20. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.

The Kryptos competition is a unique codebreaking challenge developed by Central Washington University mathematics professor Stuart Boersma, and his colleague, Cheryl Beaver, a Western Oregon University mathematics professor. Open to undergraduate students, Kryptos is centered on 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.

“Although this is primarily for college undergraduates, I certainly welcome contestants from high schools,” said Boersma. “While most of our students are from the Pacific Northwest, since this is an online contest, people can enter from just about anywhere in the world.”

Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor to register. Last year, there were nearly 100 entrants and this year is on pace for the greatest number of participants ever.

For more information, go to the Kryptos website,, or e-mail Stuart Boersma,

The contest is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest section of the Mathematical Association of America.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,