Have you heard the good news? A team of amateur cryptologists have cracked the famed 340 Cipher, the coded message the Zodiac serial killer sent to The Chronicle in November 1969. Zodiac killed five people in the Bay Area in 1968 and 1969, with David Fincher making a 2007 feature movie of the events starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Until this week, the 340 Cipher had vexed authorities and amateur sleuths since it arrived at the newspaper outlet 51 years ago.
“This is exciting,” said code-breaking expert David Oranchak in an interview Friday. “We’ve been sitting on the solution since last Saturday. When I first started looking at the Zodiac ciphers all those years ago, I thought, ‘Oh, I can just write a computer program and solve it,’ but it’s been kicking my ass all this time. Until now.”
According to Oranchak, the cipher’s brief text says in full: “Be sure to drink your ovaltine.”
Ovaltine? A crummy commercial?! Son of a bitch!
Video footage of Oranchak finally breaking the code can be viewed below.