WASHINGTON D.C., USA, January 30 – The NSA’s youth-targeted website about safe online practices has a new set of faces – anthropomorphic faces, to be exact.
Nine characters make up the CryptoKids®, each of which has a specialty and a backstory.
The lead character appears to be Crypto Cat®, a white feline character in a blue turtleneck and cargo pants, wearing a large cellphone and a headset, whose family history section reads:
“When I was three, I lived next to a Navajo reservation in Arizona with my parents who were schoolteachers on the reservation. I learned a lot about the cutsoms and culture of the Navajo Indians from my babysitter who was an elderly Navajo woman. She even taught me how to speak the native Navajo language – pretty cool huh? My family moved away from the reservation right before I entered high school. It was pretty tough moving away from all my friends, but after I adjusted to my new surroundings and high school, I met a lot of great friends that I love hanging out with every day.”
The next section in her profile, “How I became interested in Cryptography…” reads:
“I guess you could say I really got into cryptography at an early age. When I was at school on the reservation, I learned that many of the other children didn’t know how to speak the old native language. I thought it would be a lot of fun to teach them the language and we eventually began communicating to each other using Navajo code words. Eventually, our teachers began to figure out our messages and we had to learn new ways to create codes. The only way to break one of our new codes was to know the Navajo word we used as the “key” to crack each message. The encryption was so tough that even our tachers couldn’t break them!
“In high school, I became well known for my code making skills and was asked to enter a cryptography competition with my friend Decipher Dog. We had such a great time and learned so much that D-Dog and I started our own club called the CryptoKids. And the rest is history!”
Her profile goes on to describe her after-school life, including the time she spends with her sister who has Down Syndrome, and her best friend Decipher Dog®.
“D. Dog” also has his own page, which talks about his life, including his father, a police officer, and his step-mother, an NSA agent. His specialty is Cryptanalysis.
Joules, is an engineering beaver. Slate the rabbit does mathematics. T. Top the turtle is into computer science. Rosie is a language analyst and a fox. The eagle, Sergeant Sam, is in the Central Security Service branch of the military. Cy and Cyndi make up the CyberTwins™, who are blue felines in cyber security awareness.
Each character has a story and their profiles are available as PDF downloads. The site features games and activities, as well as links for parents and teachers.
The site’s header reads “America’s CryptoKids® – Future Codemakers & Codebreakers.”
The section for students has information for kids who want to work for the NSA someday.