Code Crackers, can You Find the Hidden Message?

The picture above looks like a normal picture of Albert Einstein – one of the world’s greatest ever mathematicians.  However, it’s concealing a rather surprising secret.  Within the picture is a hidden message.  This technique of hiding messages in plain sight is called Steganography.  This is a very powerful tool for code makers – after all no-one is going to be able to break your code if they don’t even realise they are looking at it.

To crack this particular code we can use a piece of online software here – all we need to do is save the file, upload it and then run it through the decoder.  Having done that we get the string text:


This looks promising – but obviously there’s another code to break.  Using some trial and error, along with some frequency analysis I find that this is a Caesar Shift with A-D which gives:


in other words:

www . ibmathsresources. com / cracked

It is possible to both encode and decode your own secret messages using the decoding tools and the encoding tools on the Utility Mill site.  Using the same method as above, try to find the hidden message in the picture below.


If you find the answer follow the link to leave your name on the leaderboard.

If you liked this post you might also like:

The Maths Code Challenge – three levels of codes to attempt, each one providing a password to access the next code in the series.  Can you make it onto the leaderboard?

RSA public key encryption – the code that secures the internet.

Essential resources for IB students:

1) Revision Village

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Revision Village has been put together to help IB students with topic revision both for during the course and for the end of Year 12 school exams and Year 13 final exams.  I would strongly recommend students use this as a resource during the course (not just for final revision in Y13!) There are specific resources for HL and SL students for both Analysis and Applications.

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There is a comprehensive Questionbank takes you to a breakdown of each main subject area (e.g. Algebra, Calculus etc) and then provides a large bank of graded questions.  What I like about this is that you are given a difficulty rating, as well as a mark scheme and also a worked video tutorial.  Really useful!

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The Practice Exams section takes you to a large number of ready made quizzes, exams and predicted papers.   These all have worked solutions and allow you to focus on specific topics or start general revision.  This also has some excellent challenging questions for those students aiming for 6s and 7s.

Each course also has a dedicated video tutorial section which provides 5-15 minute tutorial videos on every single syllabus part – handily sorted into topic categories.

2) Exploration Guides and Paper 3 Resources

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I’ve put together four comprehensive pdf guides to help students prepare for their exploration coursework and Paper 3 investigations. The exploration guides talk through the marking criteria, common student mistakes, excellent ideas for explorations, technology advice, modeling methods and a variety of statistical techniques with detailed explanations. I’ve also made 17 full investigation questions which are also excellent starting points for explorations.  The Exploration Guides can be downloaded here and the Paper 3 Questions can be downloaded here.