In the first episode of a tv series Rubicon (exactly in 482 and 491 lines of an English subtitles) there is mentioned “Syllae algorithm” and “Malaysian cipher”. I could not find any details about these crypto technics.

Are they real? If so where could I find more info about them?


1 Answer 1


Using a search engine, you would quickly have discovered hints that they’re “home-brew riddles”.

For example:

  • Travers uncovers the same messages hidden inside the crossword puzzles of several major newspapers. He stumbles upon a series of 27 10-digit numbers, one set for each World Series the Yankees have won, that, by way of historic baseball dates, lead to a group of names. And when he finds a sheet of paper marked with 21 three-letter clusters, it's described as a "simple" code designed to direct the recipient to particular letters in a certain book.

    source: “Conspiracy thriller 'Rubicon' challenges viewers”, reviewjournal.com, 1 August 2010

  • Will's observational gifts begin to decipher clues for him that may uncover a sinister and complex conspiracy.

    source: “Will Travers”, rubicon.wikia.com, 1 August 2010

As for your questions:

Are they real?

Obviously, the answer is “yes”… based on the fact that an amatuer/home-brew way exists with which viewers have been challenged. But it is my no means something you’ld expect to be known in the realms of professional cryptography.

So, they are “real” in the sense that they ”exist” as amateur/home-brew puzzles. Yet, there is a huge difference between amateur/home-brew puzzles or “deciphering riddles” and well-vetted, professional cryptography!

If so where could I find more info about them?

We don’t tend to handle amateur/home-brew ciphers at Crypto.SE, and we’re definitely not a valid replacement for your favorite search engine. But using the later, you should be able to find fan-sites and forums providing according information. One of many starting points would be the Rubicon Wiki.

Besides that, something tells me that watching the series might help too… but that might just be me.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid that you'd created your opinion basing just on a video trailer and a short review of a whole tv series and didn't bother even to check linked subtitles. The context of quotation is a professional analysis of a geographical pattern and I couldn't find any reason/clue why have they used such a terms. (“home-brew riddle” just do not match to the situation) Of course if you found anything useful and helpful in your favorite search engine, please share. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2016 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Michal_Szulc Please note that “Requests for analyzing ciphertext or reviewing full cryptographic designs are off-topic, as the results are rarely useful to anyone else and/or would be too long for this site.” Even though I provided an answer, chances are other people might still drop close-votes based on that reason. (I tried to be constructive instead of dropping such a close-vote myself.) As is, your Qs have been answered within the rules of this website… pulling apart amateur cipher riddles would definitely render this Q&A off-topic. After all, they‘re not professional algorithms. $\endgroup$
    – e-sushi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Michal_Szulc Erm, just in case you’re not aware of the help center yet… to understand what exactly is on-topic at Crypto.SE, see “Can I get data analysed here?” as well as the other information at that page. $\endgroup$
    – e-sushi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ I've checked them before I wrote my question and I'm still pretty sure question meets crypto.SE standards basing on "we welcome questions on topics such as: (...) Cryptanalysis techniques". I'm just looking for more info, so if you do not know anything about topic I'm afraid our discussion is pointless. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2016 at 12:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Michal_Szulc I’ll ignore the prejudice and simply agree. Maybe next time we stumble upon each other, things turn out to be more fruitful. Until then, I wish you all the best. $\endgroup$
    – e-sushi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 12:44

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