One week ago, on August 21, a mysterious file of ciphertext was uploaded to the deep web forum known among cyber hackers as The DeCryPit, where many users claimed to recognize what has since been dubbed the “0407 Cryptograph”—the digits in reference to the date on which the encrypted message first made its appearance on the web.
It was on that night of July 4th, 2017—and the early morning of July 5th, the day following—when an estimated 12 million Google users are now reported by alexa.com, the Amazon site-traffic monitoring company, to have encountered the encrypted interference on Google’s landing pages, google.com and its international auxiliaries. According to various recounts, by 2 a.m. on July 5th, the tech conglomerate had yet managed to trace the roots of the tenaciously scripted hijacking, although the content of the webpage that users were being redirected to was removed from the unnamed public server at Google’s urged request.
Interestingly, despite these vivid recollections of the harsh backlash of complaints and concerns over the security vulnerability that could have exposed millions of users worldwide to the possibly malicious cyber threat, little else seems known about the origin of the hack—neither has there been any news in mainstream media regarding the message’s encrypted content.
In fact, the incident itself seems to have quickly faded into obscurity soon after occurring, and our investigations in the past week have uncovered zero evidence of any news reports or associated social media response to support the now resurfacing accounts of the incident, all of which seem to be gathered solely from memory after the instigation of the uploaded cryptograph’s ‘revival.’
In the post made to the onion forum where the cryptograph still resides at the time of this article’s publishing, the user who uploaded the file wrote:
“anyone remember or cracked this crybaby? found him sleeping in my backups”
* ‘crybaby’ is a term used on the forum to refer to cryptographs or hacks that have either no verified or claimed attribution, and/or no known purpose
Responses quickly trickled in after the upload was posted, with many users expressing their shock that they had “forgotten” and “lost” a cryptograph that is still regarded by many to be “literally unsolvable.” One user, however, who claims to be a cryptanalysis engineer currently receiving MIT funding for his research into quantum cryptography, noted in a follow-up post that there does seem to be a “distinct [vulnerability] signature” within the encryption that, to him, “confirms the message was intended to be decoded.”
Dissatisfied with our findings on the forum, most of which remains substantiated only by anonymous sources hidden behind disposable user handles, we unfortunately arrived at a dead end in our investigation. We have received no response from our ongoing attempts to contact Google for comment, and neither have users on the forum been cooperative in sharing more information beyond what was openly accessible.
As of this time, no one seems to have any clue as to who or where the message may have originated, or to whom the message was intended—if it was indeed intended for a recipient. Presuming, though, that it was, and that this mysterious cryptograph isn’t merely an elaborate prank aimed as a joke toward the hacker community, what reasons might this skilled ‘crybaby’ have to globally broadcast such a message, as if in search for life on Mars; and why does it seem as though a veil was suddenly lifted, such that the source of much interest and debate could vanish from collective memory, only to resurface in the same breath as the past weeks’ buzzing talk of ‘superheroes’ living surreptitiously among us.
— the watchmen