The Greek word for hidden is kryptos, and it appropriately serves as the name of an enigmatic sculpture at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. What makes this particular statue fascinating is that it holds four passages filled with encrypted messages. Of these four, three were solved quickly, but the fourth and final one remains a mystery.
While there are a number of brain-wracking unsolved encrypted messages out there, Kryptos stands among the top. It contains secret messages even the CIA can’t solve - and it sits right outside of their HQ. So what is the Kryptos sculpture exactly? Washington D.C., artist Jim Sanborn created it back in the late '80s as part of a competition the CIA held. Since the sculpture’s unveiling, various cryptographers - professional and amateur alike - have independently solved the first three passages. But everyone is stumped by the last passage, which Sanborn says holds the key to solving the sculpture’s true hidden meaning.
Jim Sanborn’s Kryptos sculpture continues to baffle even the smartest minds in the world. Do you think you could solve it?
Kryptos Was The Winning Entry In A CIA-Funded CompetitionPhoto: Jim Sanborn / Wikimedia Commons
Kryptos Contains Over A Thousand Characters, But Only 97 Remain Unencrypted
Solving All Four Passages Reveals A Final Mystery
The First Three Passages Were First Solved By The NSA In 1992
The First Two Passages Use The Vigenère CipherVideo: YouTube
The First Passage Is Relatively Short