Ciphers invented before the era of computers and modern cryptographic theory. Classical ciphers typically operate on letters instead of bits and are usually designed to be implemented by hand or using simple mechanical devices.

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How would you encrypt-then-MAC when using pen-and-paper and a Caesar cipher?

I'll probably get shot for asking this, but I've got some kids (aged 8-10) in my neighbourhood that I've been showing/teaching the simple pen-and-paper Caesar cipher and they're successfully playing ...
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1answer
214 views

Feasibility of using a base 26 LFSR for cryptography by hand

I have been playing with base 26 LFSRs (i.e. using the alphabet) and noticed that the XOR operation for base 26 is just the tabula recta and so can be done very quickly. This made me wonder whether a ...
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354 views

What is the limit of plaintext required to break the Vigenère encryption?

A theoretical question about the Vigenère cipher: Without any knowledge about the key (not even it's length) can we tell how much known or chosen plaintext is needed for the adversary to completely ...
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2answers
633 views

What are requirements for this grille?

I'm trying to program a Cardan grille, but I can't find requirements for grille. In my case, grille is square matrix A with $N$ x $N$ size, and elements are $0$ or $1$ (where $1$ means that it is ...
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2k views

Using one-way hash functions as the encryption method

Suppose two parties want to communicate securely with each other (Bob and Alice) using a simple messaging system in English. There are approximately 180,000 currently used words in the English ...
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1answer
90 views

Different patterns of different paterns, wildcard [closed]

I'm not realy experienced with programming and such but I am wondering if the following could be implemented in, lets say, python we have the following ciphertext sequence ...
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202 views

Are there any good examples of Contemporary Mechanical Cryptography?

Are there secure mechanical cryptosystems in use today? Not necessarily alphabetic either, ie digital but mechanical?
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453 views

Four-Square cipher and its keyspace

Am I thinking about this correctly? Consider that the keyspace of the Playfair cipher is equivalent to all permutations of the alphabet, e.g. the number of distinct permutations of 25 objects, and ...
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2answers
6k views

Finding a keylength in a repeating key XOR cipher

In an old cryptography FAQ, I found the following step described for determining a the length of the key a cipher was repeatedly XORed against: Discover the length of the key by counting ...
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1answer
717 views

Can two cipher letters per plaintext letter easily defeat character frequency analysis?

For a class 5 years ago I wrote a paper about "defeating character frequency analysis by using two cipher letters per plaintext letter" ...
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1answer
697 views

How to build an electro-mechanical public key cipher machine?

It is generally assumed that asymmetric encryption schemes were invented in 1973 at GCHQ in Britain and, independently, in 1976 at the MIT. Imagine, if the abstract idea of having a public key and a ...
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1answer
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How do I decrypt ciphertext with this cipher?

I have an encryption function $$E(p) = (ap + b) \mod{26}$$ where the parameters are $a=7$, $b = 10$, and $p$ is the plaintext letter. I was asked to decrypt the ciphertext ...
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651 views

Hill-cipher, disordered alphabet

I am going to apply a simple substitution cipher to my input, then encrypt the result with a Hill cipher. How can this be broken, in a chosen-plaintext threat model? In other words, instead of the ...
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1answer
586 views

Attacking historical ciphers methodology

It's more a theoretical question of how would you approach it. All you know about the ciphertext it's was generated with a historical cipher. The ciphertext appears to be random, BUT it's divided into ...
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2answers
647 views

Is this hand cipher any more secure than the Vigenère cipher?

I know that inventing one's one crypto always sucks, but the problem is that hand ciphers are usually very insecure very slow. This is an attempt to make a relatively secure, keyable, and ...
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1answer
388 views

What is total key space in transposition algorithms

How we can measure key space in transposition algorithms? Should we specify the method, like rail fence?
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251 views

Any historical accounts of cryptanalysis of Jefferson's wheel cipher?

David Kahn in his book "The Codebreakers" wrote about Jefferson's wheel cipher, saying that To this day the Navy uses it… (the book was first published in 1967) Are there any historical accounts ...
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527 views

What are some approaches to attack an triple key polyalphabetic cipher when the IV key and PT key are known?

The cipher is an triple key polyalphabetic cipher also known as an Quagmire IV by the ACA. An example would be here: Quagmire IV example and info (pardon the ads) I posses the IV key and the PT key. ...
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1answer
783 views

Using Chi-Square for Vigenère Cipher

I am writing a program which will use Chi-Square to determine which is the correct keyword for a ciphertext via Vigenère cipher. I came across a website that describes the Chi-Square statistics in a ...
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Kryptos : K1. What is the origin of the “palimpsest” keyword?

I'm studying the Kryptos sculpture with its cryptographic puzzles K1 to K4. I understand that the keyword "palimpsest" was reverse-engineered using the tableau (and brute-force computer processing), ...
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2answers
877 views

Benefit of combining classical substitution ciphers with modern cryptography

I know that a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher is considered extremely weak, on account of linguistic frequency-analysis attacks. However, assume the following: cleartext is encrypted ...
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2answers
649 views

security of Felix cipher

I just find this pencil and paper cipher 'Felix' and I want to know how secure it is? EDIT From http://web.archive.org/web/20110825142054/http://topcat.hypermart.net/papers/felix.txt Felix a ...
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2answers
1k views

Can a shift cipher attain perfect secrecy?

On a practice question for my intro cryptography exam, it asks the following: Assuming that keys are chosen with equal likelihood, the shift cipher provides:    A) computational security ...
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680 views

Cracking WWII-era codes - code found on a pigeon's leg in Surrey

A recent BBC article entitled WWII code 'may never be cracked' posted a code: AOAKN HVPKD FNFJW YIDDC RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRZH NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AKEEQ WAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH ...
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Cracking the Beaufort cipher

Is there any easy way to crack a Beaufort cipher? We have a Vigenère table, and are trying to guess the keyword. Any easier way?
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How can I break a Vigenère cipher with partial plain text?

I have an exercise to do regarding Vigenère encryption. I've got the cipher text: WNZTNVIEEGTJYKRRWYUELWNZTNV and a partial plain text: ...
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How weak/strong is this hand cipher? (updated) [closed]

In simple steps here the system: first write text. hand cipher then divide into groups of three letters: han dci phe r then choose a key consisting of three letters, for example ...
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406 views

Is frequency analysis a useful tool against encryption by multiplication?

If I transform natural plaintext by: making each letter two decimal digits, considering the whole as a decimal number; multiplying by the key (some integer constant), giving the ciphertext; would ...
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3answers
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Possible ways to crack simple substitution ciphers

We had a quiz in class today where we had to break the ciphertext with the key given, but not the algorithm. Suffice to say that I wasn't able to decrypt it within the allotted time of 12 mins and ...
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2answers
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How many keys does the Playfair Cipher have?

I was just studying the Playfair cipher and from what I've understood, it is just a slightly better version of a Caesar cipher, in that it isn't actually mono-alphabetic but rather the 'digrams' are ...
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2answers
694 views

Can I make a cipher (ex: Vigenère) harder to break?

The Vigenère cipher can relatively easy be broken when the key size is small compared to the size of the message. One first finds the length of the key, and then uses frequency analysis to actually ...
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1answer
718 views

Cryptanalysing Affine cipher

I am trying to cryptanalyse a cipher–text encrypted by Affine cipher. The encryption formula is: $c = f(x) = (ax+b)\bmod m$, where $a$ and $b$ are unknown constants; $x$ is a plain-text symbol, and ...
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Why does ROT13 provide no cryptographic security?

I can understand that ROT13 is not secure for obvious reasons, but I'm looking for the theoretical answer. Wikipedia says "The algorithm provides no cryptographic security.." What does it mean to ...
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Toy cipher — does it have a name?

When I was perhaps nine years, I borrowed a book from the library on various maths and CS topics. It outlined various simple ciphers, including one that I used a lot, just for fun. I can't remember ...
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How to get the keyword from a keyword cipher?

I was given a ciphertext and now I am trying to break it via looking for the keyword. This is a keyword cipher. So: PlainEnglish: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ If ...
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Assistance Cracking Classical Cipher

Below is the cipher text I am trying to break and as you can see its rather short which is why I am having so much trouble. ...
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341 views

Has there been any cryptanalysis of RC4-52?

Several websites ( such as Is there a secure cryptosystem that can be performed mentally? ) briefly mention RC4-52 as a modification of standard RC4. RC4-52 has only with 52 instead of 256 elements ...
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How secure is the Vigenère cipher in file encryption if you encrypt the password first?

I created a basic file encryption method, that seems pretty secure to me (based on an answer below, it seems to be an implementation of the Vigenère cipher) , but one of my colleagues claims that it ...
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612 views

Brute forcing Cardan grille

Having a "rotating" square Cardan Grill with sides long n cells, how could i determinate the cost of a brute-force attack? How many configurations should be considered to perform an exhaustive ...
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2answers
3k views

How to attack a general polyalphabetic cipher?

I am able to decrypt vigenere cipher text using the index of coincidence and chi test. However out of interested how do you go about attacking ciphertext that was encrypted using a mix alphabet ...
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Encryption/ciphers/codes in Chinese

I am quite curious as to how you can perform simple encryption for the Chinese language. Saw a similar question related to encryption/Chinese here: About cryptography in a character language, ...
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What is the most secure hand cipher?

By "hand cipher", I mean a symmetric cipher for which encryption and decryption can can both be performed with a pencil on graph paper, consuming about 10-20 seconds per character by a proficient ...
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1answer
1k views

Obtaining the key length from the ciphertext of an auto-encipher

I'm revising for a cryptography exam at the moment and I'm having some problems with a question. The question looks for the key length of a cipher given that the word "earthquake" appears in the ...
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5answers
3k views

Is a book cipher provably secure?

I've seen ciphers (usually in spy drama shows) that involve taking a book and writing down an index to individual characters. Essentially it's a keyed substitution cipher, where the key is the name ...
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Example of CHI Square test on Caesar Cipher?

I am trying to get my head round the chi square test, when used with the Caesar cipher. I started off using this formula, $$ X = \sum_{i = 1}^k \frac{f_i · f'_i}{n · n'} $$ Where ...
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1answer
836 views

How to deduce enigma settings given a partial plaintext?

Assuming some large block of text is encrypted with an enigma machine and I only know a small subset of letters before and after encryption, how do I go about figuring out the enigma settings from ...
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2answers
551 views

How can one break a monoalphbetic substitution chipher at pseudorandom text?

Does anybody know how to break monoalphbetic substitution cipher, if it is applied to some pseudorandom text (for example to some surrogate key filed in a database)? Let us assume that we have only ...
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Using a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher with a different language per word

How much harder is it to determine the secret key for a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher, if each word is translated into a different language before the cipher is applied? If somehow computers ...
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How to attack a classical cipher using known partial plaintext?

I have a ciphertext generated by a classical cipher. I do not know what was cipher used to generate it. I do however have the beginning of the plaintext. What are the cryptanalysis approaches for ...
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644 views

What is the best method to determine the language used in a monoalphabetic substitution cipher?

Working on a cipher (which I assume to be a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher due to the letter frequency) I struggle with the fact that I don't know which language the plain text is written in. ...