How Three Amateurs Solved the Zodiac Killer’s ‘340’ Cipher

Kathryn Miles reporting for Popular Mechanics:

But then, in December 2020, the FBI announced a breakthrough: The 340 cipher had been solved. Not by its crack Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, but instead by three computer wonks who’d found one another on an obscure online true-crime discussion board and started collaborating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trio, who had no background in cryptology and no professional codebreaking experience, did what the world’s most powerful intelligence organizations could not. On top of the solution’s haunting opacity, the intricacies of the cipher itself brought fresh layers of insight that, forensic experts say, might help authorities eventually, finally, catch up to the killer.

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