In a genius move I can barely comprehend because, alas, I am not a woman in STEM, a 14-year-old Tassie kid managed to crack a code by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in just over an hour.
The ASD is the section of the Aus Government in charge of code breaking, dealing with cyber threats, foreign signals intelligence and the like.
In celebration of its 75th birthday, the ASD released 50,000 limited edition 50 cent coins for sale last Thursday with a bunch of hidden code on them. Seems like a fitting birthday celebration TBF.
To commemorate our #75YearsOfASDHistory, today we are excited to unveil a limited edition 50c commemorative coin. The coin, designed in collaboration with @RoyalAustMint will be a keepsake for years to come. Learn more about our anniversary coin at https://t.co/zdWpcQP8IG pic.twitter.com/DiHIaOi5c1
— Australian Signals Directorate (@ASDGovAu) September 1, 2022
You’d think a cybersecurity agency could get better graphics but who am I to judge.
The 50 cent coin wasn’t just any coin though — is it ever? It contained four layers of encryption, with each code harder and harder to crack. Each code held lil messages about the Australian Signals Directorate.
This teen managed to catch ’em all, like little cyber Pokemon. An adorable concept.
The ASD’s director-general Rachel Noble confirmed the wee legend’s code-cracking at a Lowy Insitute think tank Q&A.
“The coin was launched at 8.45am; we put up our web form and said, ‘Hey, if you think you’ve got the answers fill in the form’,” she said in a speech, per the ABC.
“And believe it or not, a boy, 14-year-old in Tasmania, was the first person in just over an hour to get all four layers right.”
Just imagine the absolute ego boost of cracking that coin in an hour. That is truly the ultimate school yard show-and-tell.
“We’re hoping to meet him soon… to recruit him,” Noble joked.
Apparently though there’s actually a fifth, even harder level of code to crack on the coin. I wouldn’t even know how to begin cracking a code, so godspeed to all the incredibly brainy 14-year-olds.
I just know Juni and Carmen Cortez of Spy Kids fame would be all fkn over this 50 cent coin code challenge. Give us Spy Kids 5 and include some coin-based code cracking, I’m begging.
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