David Oranchak kennt die verschlüsselten Botschaften des Zodiac-Killers so gut wie kaum ein anderer. In FOCUS Online hat er ein Interview dazu gegeben. In diesem Artikel gibt es die ausführliche Version auf Englisch.

Ende der 1960er-Jahre trieb im Raum San Francisco ein Serienmörder sein Unwesen: der Zodiac-Killer. Er wurde nie gefasst. Insgesamt viermal schickte er verschlüsselte Botschaften an Regionalzeitungen. Die erste Nachricht wurde gelöst. Die drei verbleibenden Botschaften (eine mit 340, eine mit 32 und eine mit 13 Buchstaben) geben bis heute Rätsel auf. Der US-Amerikaner David Oranchak kennt die verschlüsselten Botschaften des Zodiac-Killers wie kaum ein anderer. Er betreibt eine vielbeachtete Web-Seite dazu. Ich habe Oranchak bei der NSA-Koferenz in Oktober getroffen und interviewt. Das Interview ist jetzt in FOCUS Online erschienen: Ein Zodiac-Experte über die Codes des rätselhaften Killers.


Das FOCUS-Online-Interview ist natürlich aus dem Englischen übersetzt und gekürzt. Hier ist die Originalversion:

Question: Many people wonder who the Zodiac Killer was. Do you have a suspicion?

Oranchak: No, I do not. Many people have their favorite suspects, but I tend to focus more on the details of the ciphers. I have a general interest in online discussions involving other people’s suspicions, but to me they all seem equally inconclusive. However, despite apparently being ruled out by authorities, Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) has some interesting similarities to the Zodiac Killer: They have similar handwriting, both lived in San Francisco in 1969 / 1970, both wrote taunting letters, both created intricate codes, etc. Here is a forum thread going over a lot of the details: https://www.zodiackillersite.com/viewtopic.php?f=102&t=938. I believe the similarities between Kaczynski and the Zodiac Killer are coincidental, but they are indeed interesting. More info: https://www.unazod.com/essay.html. And here’s a more skeptical view: https://www.zodiackillerfacts.com/unabomber.htm.

Question: Only the first out of four of the Zodiac messages is solved. Do you think the other ones will ever be broken?

Oranchak: I’m optimistic about the unsolved 340-character cipher. The unsolved 13-character cipher has too few symbols to know for sure if a solution is found. And the unsolved 32-character cipher is mostly made up of unique symbols, so it does not have enough constraints to filter out possibilities. I think with the 340, it is possible to systematically eliminate possibilities, because it has enough constraints. The key to this is to simulate the cipher’s construction, using test ciphers that resemble the 340. If the test ciphers are all crackable and the 340 isn’t, then that is strong evidence that the assumptions about the cipher’s construction are wrong. Hopefully, changing the assumptions might lead to a solution. The problem with this approach is that is it very tedious! The alternative is to wait for someone to be lucky enough to stumble upon the correct idea about how it is constructed.

Question: What is your opinion about Z-340? Has there been any progress recently?

Oranchak: There’s a strong possibility that there is something odd about the 340, since it is not crackable by the many algorithms that are effective at solving normal homophonic substitution ciphers with similar qualities. Most new work I’ve seen involves developing new algorithms to crack ciphers similar to the 408, which is just a relatively normal homophonic substitution cipher. The algorithms are all shown to be effective at solving those, but not the 340. The first paper I’ve seen that explores the possibility that something’s wrong with the 340 is the one I mentioned in my article here: https://www.zodiackillerciphers.com/?p=504. Also, we can’t ignore the possibility that the 340 has no valid message, and was just put together by the killer to waste everyone’s time.


Question: In 2009, a woman from California claimed that her father was the Zodiac killer. What do you think about this?

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Kommentare (2)

  1. #1 Pnugi
    24. März 2014

    >The only one I’ve seen is David Fincher’s
    >“Zodiac”, which I really enjoyed.
    Kann ich bestätigen, sehr guter Film, allerdings ziemlich komplex. Am besten zwei Mal anschauen oder vorher Wikipedia-Artikel zum Zodiac-Mörder lesen.

  2. #2 Schachner Angela
    23. April 2021

    Ihr kennt den Code und ich habe eine unglaubliche Vermutung wer sich hinter dem Namen Zodiak verbirgt.