Elonka Dunin is an executive and game developer at Simutronics Corp. in St. Louis, Missouri, and was a producer on the team that created CyberStrike, the multiplayer game which won the first award for Online Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World magazine in 1993. She is a co-founder and chairperson of the International Game Developers Association's Online Games group, and senior editor on peer-reviewed IGDA State of the Industry white papers.
Dunin graduated in 1976 from University High School. She was enrolled as an undergraduate at UCLA, majoring in astronomy, for roughly one year, after which she joined the United States Air Force, working as an avionics technician at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom and Beale Air Force Base in California. After the USAF, she traveled the world working at a variety of jobs, ranging from a computer programmer in Denver, Colorado to an English teacher in Rio de Janeiro.
In the 1980s, she became involved with the growing BBS culture and in one year spent $15,000 on computer time. In 1989, while working as a temporary legal secretary in Los Angeles, this interest overlapped into the early multiplayer games, such as British Legends on CompuServe and Simutronics' GemStone II on GEnie.
In 2000, Dunin cracked the PhreakNIC v3.0 Code, an amateur cryptographic puzzle created by a hacker group. In 2002, she spoke at CIA headquarters about steganography and Al-Qaeda. During this visit she began a closer study of the CIA's Kryptos sculpture. She began to build a website compiling all of the works of the Kryptos sculptor, James Sanborn. In 2003, she organized an effort to solve the code on a Kryptos sister sculpture, the Cyrillic Projector, which succeeded in September 2003 after the cryptographic portion was cracked by Mike Bales of Dunin's team, and Frank Corr of North Carolina.
According to Dunin, these events, as well as hints referring to Kryptos on the bookjacket of Dan Brown's 2003 bestseller The Da Vinci Code, steadily increased the popularity of her website. In May, 2003, Dunin, along with the late Gary Warzin, co-founded the Yahoo Group Kryptos which is a focal point for online Kryptos activity. In January 2005, an article, "Solving the Enigma of Kryptos" appeared in Wired about Kryptos, and more media attention followed, including segments by CNN, NPR, UK's The Guardian, France's Libération, and others. In mid-2005, she was approached by the British publisher Constable & Robinson about compiling The Mammoth Book of Secret Code Puzzles, which was released in both the United States (with publisher Carroll & Graf) and United Kingdom in March 2006. In July, 2007 she appeared on the PBS program NOVA scienceNOW, as an expert on Kryptos.