July 9, 2010
Cyber Command Logo Has A Secret
"9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a" is the coded message found inscribed in the logo of the Pentagon's newly created US Cyber Command, causing a stir among bloggers and curious techies raring to crack the obscure message.
Tech magazine Wired asked readers this week to help decipher the code on the logo, which also features a picture of a globe and a bald eagle perched on a shield adorned with crossed swords, a lightning bolt and a key.
By Thursday, the comments section on Wired had attracted hundreds of responses on what the meaning of the code could be.
Some believed it was US Cyber Command's paragraph-long mission statement encrypted in MD5 hash code.
Another submission from a reader wrote: "It's the pass phrase for their Wi-Fi network at HQ."
The new military command was launched in late May to help centralize Defense Department efforts to protect its computer networks, which are under constant threat from attackers. It was created to frustrate everyone from amateur hackers to foreign governments trying to steal sensitive information or crash critical computer systems.
The US Cyber Command is headed by General Keith Alexander, who also is the head of the National Security Agency, America's super secret surveillance agency.
Lt. Cmdr. Steve Curry, spokesman for the UC Cyber Command, said Thursday that including 32 letters and numbers in the official seal was the idea of a female contractor who designed the logo. Otherwise, the symbol looks like most other governmental and military seals, depicting the American eagle, stars and globe.
Wired.com's Danger Room last week offered a T-shirt or ticket to the International Spy Museum to the first person who cracks the code. Wired said the command will eventually reveal the code's meaning.
According to the Associated Press: Curry said the characters, once decoded, represent the command's bureaucratic-sounding mission statement:
"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."