Between 22nd March 2005 and 6th August 2006, someone calling himself/herself “IKLP” (supposedly an acronym for “I Killed Laci Peterson”) posted a large number of comments to the (now-defunct) fratpack.com Internet forum. These comments were mocking, often rhymed (badly), and referred more than a few times to the Zodiac Killer, e.g.

Green River was a bore. Zodiac but a little whore. I am the one to adore. I be the one you should never ignore.

*sigh* So far so nothing. Yet two of these comments appeared to contain codes:

* The IKLP Short Code (10th September 2005)

28527-8240-791-94-7

* The IKLP Long Code (30th October 2005)

Fore if you break the code. Then it is you who will know.

2334-342-23-4-5456-824-00-6-19054334-06-3-454-334445-9943-
99834511-94345=9953=986-555-666-9495-945422-07862-
993233-=348842-865-999-=666-922166-49-45495-0096-
3459-=99643+852343-9945-09923+=499388*4939/0045-29454-2-37
09-003400-9345-+1195=44521-9835=99521=99544-594399094-
99543295+99659=992344-9399339-672395-99334=9604=168-
237=593-9634-678-1607-23456-4345=2005

Fore now we will see. If you are as smart as me.

Farmer’s “solution”

In 2008, Christopher Farmer (he of the now-defunct OPORD Analytical forum) posted up what he claimed were the solutions to both of these. In short, Farmer concluded that the IKLP Long Code referred to the solar clock in Cesar Chavez Park (specifically the word “DETERMINATION”), while the IKLP Short Code referred to a specific address:

City Finance and Customer Service
1010 Tenth Street, Third Floor, Suite 2100
Modesto, California, 95354

Unfortunately, Farmer’s Byzantine proofs and long-winded arguments were, as solutions go, no less voluminous than vacuous: for precision, they were right up there with picking random words from the OED or sticking pins into a Borgesian map. Truly, truly horrible.

But the right question to be asking is something far simpler: are these even real codes?

Code or fauxed?

The long string of (basically) wacko-style comments surrounding the codes would give many onlookers good reason to think they came from a person who was somewhat unhinged. But to walk away purely for that reason would be intellectually chicken: we should have the confidence in our cryptanalysis and observation skills to have a look regardless, right? So let’s try…

The short code doesn’t seem to offer much to bite on: it’s just too short. However, I did wonder whether the long code might be (if you remove all the non-digits) a two-digit homophonic cipher:

23 34 34 22 34 54 56 82 40 06 19 05 43 34 06 34 54 33 44 45 99 43

99 83 45 11 94 34 59 95 39 86 55 56 66 94 95 94 54 22 07 86 2

99 32 33 34 88 42 86 59 99 66 69 22 16 64 94 54 95 00 96

34 59 99 64 38 52 34 39 94 50 99 23 49 93 88 49 39 00 45 29 45 42 37 09 00 34 00 93 45 11 95 44 52 19 83 59 95 21 99 54 45 94 39 90 94

99 54 32 95 99 65 99 92 34 49 39 93 39 67 23 95 99 33 49 60 41 68

23 75 93 96 34 67 81 60 72 34 56 43 45 20 05

This has a fairly strong distribution, with 34 and 99 coming in at 9.1% and 7.6% of the total letters respectively (remember that E = ~12.49% and T = ~9.28% in English):

[13] – 34
[11] – 99
[ 7] – 45, 94, 95
[ 6] – 39, 54
[ 4] – 00, 23, 49, 59, 93
[ 3] – 22, 33, 43, 56, 86
[ 2] – 05, 06, 11, 19, 32, 42, 44, 52, 60, 64, 66, 67, 83, 88, 96
[ 1] – 07, 09, 16, 20, 21, 29, 37, 38, 40, 41, 50, 55, 65, 68, 69, 72, 75, 81, 82, 90, 92

All of which might (weakly) argue not for an out-and-out homophonic cipher, but rather for a nomenclatura-type cipher, where some number pairs stand in for common words or (more rarely) syllables; or alternatively a simple cipher that was augmented by adding a load of nulls.

And yet at the same time, it feels to me as though this has only managed to cut close to the core of what’s going on here, but not right to its middle. But even so, it might (possibly) be a start.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “The two IKLP codes…

  1. GeorgeC on July 6, 2017 at 10:10 am said:

    It seems to me that we should not discard the non-alpha characters too quickly. With one exception, they are all arithmetic operators as used in C or C++. i.e.
    + add
    – subtract
    * multiply
    / divide
    += add to result
    -= subtract from result

    Not sure what to do with -+ though.

  2. Jarlve on July 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm said:

    Seems like some sort of homebrew cipher to me.

    The short IKLP shows 5 numbers separated by hyphens which decrease in digit size by 1 after each hyphen: 28527-8240-791-94-7. The last digit of the 1st number (7) appears as the 5th number. The long IKLP also shows this pattern at the start with: 2334-342-23-4 and 5456-824-00-6.

    Bigram index of coincidence is highest in the normal left-to-right, top-to-bottom reading direction.

  3. Jarlve: I should have added that I thought that a fair few of the hyphen placements looked artificial (and hence probably meaningless), so I’m basically seeing the same things as you at this point. 🙂

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