Monthly Archives: September 2017

Click, Clack, Moo

Click, Clack, Moo is a Caldecott Medal Winner written by Doreen Cronin and pictures by Betsy Lewin. The book is about various types of farm animals and their interactions with the farmer, Farmer Brown. Farmer Brown’s problem is that his cows are clicking and clacking away at a typewriter. However, his real problem comes when […] Continue reading

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The Greatest Cipher

Louis XIV’s Great Cipher was unique in its complexity, far far beyond the other ciphers used during the time period. Indeed at the time, by far the most popular type of cipher was the mono alphabetic substitution cipher, yet that is easily deciphered by a good cryptanalyst through the use of frequency analysis.  The Great […] Continue reading

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I Don’t Really Think There Was Difference

What was the difference? There was none! The environment that Mary Queen of Scots experienced is quite the same compared to the environment leading up to the development of the Vigenère cipher. In fact, it even states in the book that Vigenère’s publication of Traicté des chiffres happened “ironically… [in] the same year that Thomas […] Continue reading

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200 Years of Strength

The first thing The Great Cipher used by Louis XIV did well was not being a monoalphabetic cipher. These ciphers are too susceptible to frequency analysis, making them crackable in a matter of hours at the most. Instead, the Great Cipher is more along the lines of a polyalphabetic cipher. Instead of letters, however, the […] Continue reading

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Assume the Worst

Before the Vigenère cipher, a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher was the most advanced encryption. This is a weak way of coding however, as an encryption is only as strong as the key used to create it, and tools such as frequency analysis make this easy to conquer. Any code could be broken if the person […] Continue reading

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Diffusion of Knowledge and Awareness

In the time of Mary Queen of Scotts, Mary, her conspirators and others trusted the encrypted messages would remain secret, trusted the difficulty of their key, and trusted the inability of others to decipher coded messages. Even though they were not aware that their trust ended in Mary Queen of Scotts death sentence, it was […] Continue reading

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The Great Cipher: Coding in a primitive form

Great Cipher used by Louis XIV was such a successful cipher because it incorporated many types of cryptography, but also “foolproofed” itself by creating almost a ciphertext keyboard. For example, certain numbers created sounds, similar to how computer code can prompt a computer to emit audio. Similarly, certain groups of numbers deleted the previous letter/cluster, […] Continue reading

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The Greatness of the Great Cipher

I see The Great Cipher is synonymous to the simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher, just on steroids. The concept is the same—one cipher letter or multiple cipher numbers represent a number of plaintext letters. However, what makes the two so different in their difficulty to be cracked lies in the sheer possibility of combinations that could be created from […] Continue reading

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Necessity is the Mother of Public Use

Necessity is the mother of invention. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that cryptography began to amass a large public following. According to Singh, it was the invention of the telegraph that made the use of ciphers common in the general public. Since telegraph operators had to read a message to send it, those […] Continue reading

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An Insecure Environment

Before the Vigenère cipher, which gave more security for code makers, “anybody sending an encrypted message had to accept that an expert enemy codebreaker might intercept and decipher their most precious secrets.” (Singh, p. 45).  Nothing of extreme importance should have been sent because the risk that it could be read by a code breaker was […] Continue reading

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