Thursday, 18 April 2013

stirring the cauldron or strongly-worded letter

The a reporter on the International Desk of Der Spiegel spied a curiously counter-productive example of outreach on the public website of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Demonstrating the work that the FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit does, the website depicts an image of hieroglyphs that make up a simple substitution cipher, which when cracked, gives instructions for preparing the toxin ricin—a protein of the castor bean (Rizinussamen, the German word does not hide its source very well either), which can be decoded without much bother. The example image is even captioned “Enciphered instructions for making ricin poison found in the notebook of a lone bomber in Virginia.” The methodology set forth is apparently basic but complete and an interested party could produce, with some easy kitchen-witchery, a deadly concoction.