Welcome to the National Cryptologic Foundation. We strive to influence the cryptologic future by sharing our educational resources, stimulating new knowledge, and commemorating our heritage. The Foundation also provides needed support for the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM).

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1843: Publication of first installments of "The Gold Bug" by Poe

Monday, June 21, 2021
1843: Publication of first installments of "The Gold Bug" by Poe

21 June 1843: Publication of the first installments of the influential cryptologic story, "The Gold Bug," by Edgar Allen Poe.

Poe had become aware of the public's interest in secret writing in 1840 and asked readers to challenge his or her skills as a code-breaker. Poe took advantage of the popularity of cryptography as he was writing "The Gold-Bug," and the success of the story centers on one such cryptogram.

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

The story involves cryptography with a detailed description of a method for solving a simple substitution cipher using letter frequencies. The cryptogram is:

53‡‡†305))6*;4826)4‡.)4‡);806*;48†8
¶60))85;;]8*;:‡*8†83(88)5*†;46(;88*96
*?;8)*‡(;485);5*†2:*‡(;4956*2(5*—4)8
¶8*;4069285);)6†8)4‡‡;1(‡9;48081;8:8‡
1;48†85;4)485†528806*81(‡9;48;(88;4
(‡?34;48)4‡;161;:188;‡?;

The decoded message is:

53‡‡†305))6*;4826)4‡.)4‡);806*;48†8
agoodglassinthebishopshostelinthede

¶60))85;;]8*;:‡*8†83(88)5*†;46(;88*96
vilsseattwentyonedegreesandthirteenmi

*?;8)*‡(;485);5*†2:*‡(;4956*2(5*—4)8
nutesnortheastandbynorthmainbranchse

¶8*;4069285);)6†8)4‡‡;1(‡9;48081;8:8‡
venthlimbeastsideshootfromthelefteyeo

1;48†85;4)485†528806*81(‡9;48;(88;4
fthedeathsheadabeelinefromthetreeth

(‡?34;48)4‡;161;:188;‡?;
roughtheshotfiftyfeetout

The decoded message with spaces, punctuation, and capitalization is:

A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat
twenty-one degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north
main branch seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the death's-head
a bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out.

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About Us

T he NCF's Vision is to Influence the cryptologic future by sharing our educational resources, stimulating new knowledge, and commemorating our heritage.

The NCF also provides needed support to the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a unique and priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCF acquires the best artifacts for the Museum and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The Foundation provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and cyber education and careers,  hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events, and honors the people— past, present, and future—whose contributions to our national security protect and make possible our way of life.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCF has a three-part mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.