Category Archives: cipher

Not So Easy Anymore

In the previous chapter of The Code Book, Singh discussed cryptography during the time of Mary Queen of Scotts. During her time, cryptographers needed to be highly skilled and educated people who spent time dedicating themselves to the art of code breaking. The average person could not decipher encrypted messages. As I mentioned in an […] Continue reading

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Feeble Attempts

People say love is the most powerful force on Earth, and if that is the case, then the lure of money is an extremely close second. The Beale Papers basically gave an open invitation to a $20 million treasure (over $500 million in today’s money!) just with a catch– decipher some unbreakable ciphers. With that […] Continue reading

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The Perils of Hubris in Cryptography

On page 41 of Simon Singh’s The Code Book, Singh makes the interesting assertion that “a weak encryption can be worse than no encryption at all.” This seemingly paradoxical statement reveals how hubris can be the downfall of any great cryptographic scheme. Best exemplified in the case of Mary Queen of Scots, when two parties […] Continue reading

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The Ubiquity of Cryptography

In the opening pages of the Simon Singh’s The Code Book, he asserts that cryptanalysis – the science of de-encrypting encrypted messages and text – was only possible once the upper echelons of society had reached a sufficient level of mastery in mathematics, statistics, and linguistics. This argument is predicated on the idea that the very […] Continue reading

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Different Applications of Cryptography Over Time

The only records we have of cryptography used in the past come from people with the resources and technical skills to encrypt and decrypt messages, whether they were World War II spies, Arab scholars, or Greek military leaders. Although not all of the encryption methods mentioned by Singh in Chapter 1 required exceptional resources (the […] Continue reading

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A Weak Cipher Turned Enemy’s Advantage

The quote “weak encryption can be worse than no encryption at all” describes the phenomenon in which sender of an encrypted message is more likely to state clearly and in detail his or her intentions than when writing a unencrypted message with full knowledge the enemy will be inspecting the text. When writing an unencrypted […] 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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