Archive for July 2010

United States Cyber Command

It’s not often that I get to combine my two passions: heraldry & cryptography. Actually, this is the first time I’ve been able to truly combine the two!

The image above is the the new seal of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). As you’ll notice, there is heraldry and there is a string of numbers and letters along the inner gold border. You should be able to see a much clearer image here.

The blazon of the shield is relatively simple: Argent in dexter chief two swords point to chief in saltire, in sinister chief a lightning bolt in bend sinister and in base a key fesswise all Sable, a chief Or.

However, the “cool” part is the supposed secret message encrypted and written on the logo. The coded message is: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a

This, at first glance, looks like the result of a hash function and in this case (being 32 characters) it “smelled” like a MD5 hash function.

Since hash functions are only one way, this code cannot be reversed to find out what the original text is. So, this leaves us to guessing…

In this article on, we have a clue that the code is somehow related to the “mission” of USCYBERCOM.

So, what is this “mission”? To find out, we can check the closest thing I could find to an official website, the fact sheet on USCYBERCOM on the US Strategic Command site. Here, we find that the “mission” of the Cyber Command is:

USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.

So, let’s see what happens if we MD5 hash this text. What’s there to lose, right?

Lo and behold! The result is 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a !

I cracked the code!

Then I go to Wikipedia to gather info for the blog post and see that it’s not really secret. After recovering from the blow to my ego, I revamped the structure of this post. For the record, the original would’ve been Pulitzer Prize worthy!