A team of Computer Scientists from Sweden and the US have managed to crack a 250-year old secret message by using modern day statistical translation techniques instead of using any code breaking techniques involved in cryptography.
Copiale Cipher, the original document, was written during the late 18th century and was found in the East Berlin Academy after the Cold War. After the discovery, the documents were held in a private collection and secrets were not revealed until now reports Wired (opens in new tab).
The team led by Kevin Knight of the University of Southern California initially managed to extract the symbols that were Roman and Greek. Then they managed to crack the cipher by using automated translations techniques - the ones used by Google Translate and managed to guess the contents of symbols for which the original language wasn't known.
"This opens up a window for people who study the history of ideas and the history of secret societies," said Knight (opens in new tab). "When you get a new code and look at it, the possibilities are nearly infinite," he further added.
Knight has expressed his intentions of targeting other coded messages using the same technique he and the team adopted to crack the Copiale Cipher.
More information about the cipher can be obtained from here (opens in new tab).