Diplomatic code cracked after 500 years:
In painstaking work backed by computers, Pierrot found “distinct families” of about 120 symbols used by Charles V. “Whole words are encrypted with a single symbol” and the emperor replaced vowels coming after consonants with marks, she said, an inspiration probably coming from Arabic.
In another obstacle, he used meaningless symbols to mislead any adversary trying to decipher the message.
The breakthrough came in June when Pierrot managed to make out a phrase in the letter, and the team then cracked the code with the help of Camille Desenclos, a historian. “It was painstaking and long work but there was really a breakthrough that happened in one day, where all of a sudden we had the right hypothesis,” she said.
Posted on November 29, 2022 at 7:19 AM •
A comprehensive list. Most are old and obvious, but there are some clever variants.
Posted on January 8, 2018 at 6:34 AM •
Today is World Privacy Day. (I know; it’s odd to me, too.) You can celebrate by signing on to the Madrid Privacy Declaration, either as an individual or as an organization.
Me, I’m celebrating—but I’m not going to tell you how.
Posted on January 28, 2010 at 6:21 AM •
A professional job:
The thieves used a hydraulic car jack to pry their way past the pull-down metal gate that protects the museum’s front entrance. Then, they smashed through two glass doors, probably using a crowbar, to get to the paintings on the second floor, police said.
The fundamental problem with securing fine art is that it’s so extraordinarily valuable; museums simply can’t afford the security required.
Local media reports estimated their value at around $100 million, but Cosomano and other curators said it is difficult to put a price on them because the paintings had not gone to auction.
“The prices paid for such works would be incalculable, enough to give you vertigo,” said curator Miriam Alzuri of the Bellas Artes Museum of Bilbao, Spain.
We basically rely on the fact that fine art can’t be resold, because everyone knows it’s stolen. But if someone wants the painting and is willing to hang it in a secret room somewhere in his estate, that doesn’t hold.
“Everything indicates they were sent to do it by some wealthy art lover for his own collection—someone who, although wealthy, was not rich enough to buy the paintings,” Moura added.
Posted on December 27, 2007 at 1:41 PM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.