Friday, April 1, 2011

The Perfect Virus could help the FBI

Tuesday's Network World carried the story of the FBI asking for crypto help in solving a 1999 murder. The victim, 41-year old Ricky McCormick of St. Louis, had these notes in his pocket. According to his family, the street-wise drop out had used a secret code for making notes since he was a boy, but nobody in the family ever learned his system. The notes are said to be written up to three days before his death. If you want to see a larger version of them, go to the FBI site here. Below are the notes:

Principle #7 of The Perfect Virus, BLACK BOX PORTABILITY, might well be part of the decryption answer. Unfortunately, since Ricky McCormick is dead, the presentation and ACK/NACK process to virally infect Ricky's "alien architecture" can't move forward. Nevertheless, as I develop my fictional "suspension of belief" technology scenarios, Ricky McCormick's secret code gives me some intellectual displacement activity. Along those lines, should any of my ├╝berhacker readers crack the code, I'd appreciate your cc'ing me in your correspondence with the FBI. And if my Wolfram|Alpha and/or Mathematica experiments bear fruit, I promise to post my solution in this blog (right after I send my note to the FBI, assuming the solution doesn't compromise the FBI's nabbing the murderer).

NOTE: Solved by JOSEPH from SPAIN and reported in my post of 16 November 2011.


  1. Is Shorthand and Cesar Code B

    Look note 2, last line, said:
    "O-W-m-4 H8L XORLX"
    Can you see what letters are repetead?
    Can you remember HAL 9000?

    --If X= Variations of letter C (MC, C, CK)
    --If L= M, m= N and H= I
    --If O=O, W=W and R=R
    --If 4= for and 8= A by phonetic solution

    --It is the signature, testament and last will of Mccormick.


    The Solution for FBI and the treasure map:

    1. Hello mr Bennett

      + The definitive translation of the last line of the 2nd note is: OWNY I AM MCORM(i)CK

      The translation "OWN-4 = OWN-For" or "OWN-Y = OWN-Why" was not satisfactory by the hyphen.

      + My hypothesis is that the hyphen joins letters to form a word

      + So the hyphen is a punctuation mark used by Mccormick to join letters and to separate words of a single word.

      + Then "O-W-m-Y" must be one word, NO two words, "OWNY"

      ..... but i did not find this word in my book, a dictionary english-spanish until a few days ago on internet.

      The word "owny" can be found on the Internet Collins English Dictionary: "owny-o or ownsome"

      OWNY is a informal noun.

      Sp "O-W-m-y H8L XORLX" is transcribed
      "Owny i am Mcorm(i)Ck" and means
      "On my ownsome i am Mcormick"

      Basically is not a big change but that, my hypothesis is confirmed.

      Bye from Spain.

  2. Thanks, Joseph from Spain. So, uh, the FBI are idiots, eh?

  3. Hello.

    --Do not be so hard with the guys from the FBI.

    --I think the case Mccormick was never a priority, besides who would do FBI career in deciphering the text of a vulgar thief in St. Louis (MO)?

    --It is a classic problem of transcription and it seems that nowadays nobody reads Edgar Allan Poe´s "The Gold Bug".

    --I do not know if it ever really tried.

    --I seek solutions everywhere. I have problems to properly configure the Windows Mail and i go to tried Hotmail.



Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?