Cybersecurity

The NSA Might Hire You If You Can Crack Their Coded Tweet

Patrick Semansky/AP File Photo

The NSA recruiting Twitter account sent out a confusing message on Monday morning. While some thought the account had been hacked or a mess of typos had been actually tweeted, the message was actually a cryptogram: tpfccdlfdtte pcaccplircdt dklpcfrp?qeiq lhpqlipqeodf gpwafopwprti izxndkiqpkii krirrifcapnc dxkdciqcafmd vkfpcadf. #MissionMonday #NSA #news

For a pro (or this website that we used to decode it), this is actually a relatively easy code to figure out. It translates to:

"Want to know what it takes to work at NSA? Check back each Monday in May as we explore careers essential to protecting our nation." 

The tweet is a substitution cipher, in which each letter is swapped for another. In the code, each 'word' is twelve letters long, unless there is punctuation. This suggests that the spaces in the tweet do not matter, only the letters determine the code. This is one of the oldest (and easiest to solve) cryptograms, a necessity to decipher for any potential NSA cryptographer. If you couldn't figure it out, global communications surveillance probably isn't a good career path for you.

An NSA spokesperson told NBC News that the coded tweet is "part of recruitment efforts to attract the best and the brightest." If you've ever dreamt of doing puzzles for the government, now is your chance to apply.

Here's the actual tweet:

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// September 19
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