Decoding the secret in U.S. Cyber Command logo

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Maybe it’s a test: Figure out what 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a means, and you’re smart enough to work for U.S. Cyber Command.

Or maybe not. Those 32 numbers and letters are in the inner gold ring of the new unified command’s logo. And although it’s not immediately apparent to noncryptologists, the 32-character code is an encryption for the command’s 55-word mission statement, complete with punctuation.

“It’s our mission statement,” spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Steve Curry said. “If you miss a comma or misspell a word, you’ll get a completely different code.”

A blog post on wired.com on Wednesday posted a call to readers to crack the code. A few commenters had a bit of fun — “If you can read this, send your résumé to [email protected]” — and the techy readers needed just a few hours to realize the code was an MD5 hash, an early-’90s encryption algorithm.

It must be some serious shorthand because the command’s mission statement is “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.”

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