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Crime Encryption IT

FBI Overwhelmed With 'Solutions' To Encrypted Note 137

An anonymous reader writes "Recently the FBI asked for the public's help in solving the encryption in a note linked to a man's murder. Well, they got so much 'help' it has overwhelmed the agency's phone and email systems. Dan Olson, chief of the FBI's Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), urged potential code-breakers to send their tips via mail rather than sending emails or flooding phone lines. 'We don't have the bandwidth to handle the emails we're getting,' Olson told on Thursday. 'We're getting a bunch [of responses].' Suggested solutions range from a list of the dead man's medication schedule to instructions from a computer repair technician: 'He is speaking to a computer tech on how to fix his computer,' one message read."
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FBI Overwhelmed With 'Solutions' To Encrypted Note

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  • by rilister ( 316428 ) on Saturday April 02, 2011 @10:55AM (#35693478)

    Well, I don't think anyone knows yet, but the 'medication schedule' reference probably refers to this comment hanging off this Yahoo News article that I personally found pretty convincing (sorry - I don't know how to link to the comment directly, but it's from 'John') []

    I checked out the reference (since removed, oddly) that people who are bipolar often keep long-term records of medication schedules and effects (page 2) and historic record of major 'episodes' (page 1) so that they can use them to try and build a personalized medication schedule over time on a bipolar support forum, and it checks out. It's also true that people with bipolar disorder are encouraged to keep them secret, and so would be like to keep coded versions of these notes in case they were found.

    (from the comment - 'John')

    It is a shorthand log of historic episodes in the mid seventies on (page 1, actually written second, but numbered one to keep events in chrono order) and medications taken with the effects listed. The key at the end is day week month year morning day latenight. It was started on page 2 and then page 1 was added as a log of the earlier childhood which is the basis for diagnosis and the "page 2" is indepth records of changes in meds. The 3 month periods are normal with bipolar episodes in the 4th QTR (September through December in the seventies. These seasons suggest seasonal disorder.


    A: Latenight, Phenergan, taken in evening G: Latenight Serenace/Seroquel or Seroquel/Serenace Extended Release Taken Evening

    V: Late Serenace Morning take Serenace

    On page 1 are lists of manic episodes


    From late september really severe episode on December 1971: No cause before episode

    Chronic Depression in September, really severe episode on the start of December in 1974, no cause before episode


    2x 6mg Serenace in 1974 or 2x 600mg Seroquel in 1974

    1999 through 1988

    Day weekday month year: morning day or latenight

    --- (further comment from 'John')
    I'm bipolar and we are told to keep such logs in short-hand because, though we are protected by laws, we are told to stay in the closet, because so many violent crimes are caused by bipolars. If we just came out of the closet, people might realize that those of us who are medicated are fully functional and safe. And we are 2 to 10 % of the population, possibly from recent environmental and stress related aggrevators. But it does take very detailed traking to get our medication right and knowing the triggers is key: week days might relate to work triggers, months to seasonal disorder and times of day are critical to knowing when to take meds and how much. The nature of this note suggests that he is having an episode and is thinking faster than he can write.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal