Update (April 2, 2024): April Fools!

Today, we’re announcing an ambitious new venture that expands Symbolic Software’s forays into applied cryptography and puzzle games by aiming for new heights, blurring the lines between physical and digital puzzles: CryptoScape™.

Slated to be the world’s first escape room experience powered entirely by cryptographic algorithms, CryptoScape challenges participants to crack codes, solve cryptographic puzzles, and navigate through a maze of the latest in applied cryptography – all while having fun!

Unraveling Cryptography Through Interactive Play

CryptoScape™ is designed to introduce the principles of cryptography in a fun, engaging, and entirely unconventional way. Participants will find themselves locked in a room filled with puzzles that range from simple Caesar ciphers to complex quantum encryption challenges. The twist? Each puzzle solved will bring them one step closer to escaping the room, with each step designed to educate players on the fundamentals and importance of cryptography in securing digital communication.

The Fusion of Physical and Digital Worlds

Unlike traditional escape rooms, CryptoScape™ incorporates augmented reality (AR) technology to bring cryptographic puzzles to life. Players will use a special AR app developed by Symbolic Software to uncover hidden messages, decrypt virtual locks, and interact with objects that blend the physical and digital realms. “We’re leveraging AR to immerse players in the enigmatic world of cryptography, making complex concepts accessible and entertaining,” said Nadim Kobeissi, founder of Symbolic Software. “It’s an escape room where your mind is the key.”

Symbolic Software sees CryptoScape™ not just as an entertainment venture but as a community-building initiative aimed at demystifying cryptography for the general public. “We envision schools, universities, and cybersecurity enthusiasts visiting CryptoScape™ to both challenge themselves and deepen their understanding of cryptographic principles in a memorable way,” Kobeissi added.

Expanding the Experience

By integrating educational content into an escape room format, CryptoScape™ aims to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical understanding of cryptography. It’s an innovative approach to making the seemingly complex field of cryptography accessible and exciting to a broader audience.

Following the launch of the flagship CryptoScape™ room in Paris, Symbolic Software plans to expand the concept globally. Each room will feature unique puzzles that reflect the cryptographic heritage and challenges pertinent to its location, offering a tailored experience that encourages learning and engagement with local cryptographic history.

Meet Some of Our Puzzles

Here’s a small taste of the bevy of enticing puzzles that await players on the CryptoScape™:

1. “Learning with Errors: The Misplaced Manual”

Based on the Learning with Errors (LWE) problem, a foundation for lattice-based cryptography, this puzzle involves finding a misplaced manual needed to fix a “broken” machine in the room.

Players find a machine with jumbled letters and numbers on its display. Around the room, pages from a manual are scattered, each with seemingly nonsensical instructions. The twist? The instructions are encrypted messages that, when decoded, provide hints to reorder the pages correctly. The final order of pages reveals the correct settings to input into the machine, “fixing” it and revealing a code to unlock the next challenge.

2. “Lattice-Based Brew Cryptography”

A playful take on lattice-based cryptography, this puzzle involves mixing the correct “ingredients” to create a magical brew.

Players are presented with a set of ingredients, each labeled with complex lattice structures and names of cryptographic schemes (e.g., “FrodoKEM Hops,” “NTRU Nectar”). A recipe book provides a list of brews that correlate with specific cryptographic protocols, but the recipes are encrypted. Players must solve simple lattice problems to decrypt the recipes. Mixing the correct ingredients in the right order based on the decrypted recipes opens a compartment containing the key to the next puzzle.

3. “The RSA Carnival Wheel”

A fun twist on the RSA algorithm, a staple of public-key cryptography. This puzzle incorporates the concept of prime numbers and modular arithmetic into a carnival game setup.

Players encounter a large wheel divided into sections, each marked with a number. A nearby board presents a challenge: “Spin the wheel to generate your public key!” To solve the puzzle, players must find prime numbers hidden around the room. These numbers correspond to sections on the wheel. Players spin the wheel to land on the prime numbers in a specific sequence, mimicking the process of generating RSA keys. Successful completion reveals a digital “key” displayed on a screen, allowing progress to the next challenge.

4. “Diffie-Hellman Musical Chairs”

This puzzle is inspired by the Diffie-Hellman key exchange, which allows two parties to securely share a secret key over an insecure channel.

The room is set up like a musical chairs game with chairs arranged in a circle. Each chair has a number, and there’s a central console with inputs for two numbers and a “play music” button. The puzzle requires players to select two “private” chairs (mimicking the private keys in Diffie-Hellman) and input their numbers into the console. When the music stops (initiated by pressing the play button), players must sit in the chairs that correspond to the shared “secret” number, calculated similarly to how the Diffie-Hellman shared key is derived. The correct choice reveals the next clue.

Join the Cryptographic Adventure

CryptoScape™ is expected to open its doors in mid-2024 – participants and cryptography enthusiasts are encouraged to sign up for early access by emailing cryptoscape@symbolic.software. Early access participants will have the unique opportunity to be among the first to experience the fusion of cryptography and immersive puzzle-solving, providing valuable feedback to refine the experience.

CryptoScape™ represents a significant step forward in Symbolic Software’s mission to promote the understanding and application of cryptography. By combining education with entertainment, CryptoScape™ goes beyond the traditional escape room concept to offer a deeply engaging experience that enlightens, challenges, and delights participants.

See you soon – in the CryptoScape™!

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