Classical Ciphers and Application

Dublin Core


Classical Ciphers and Application


Classical Ciphers and Application


Classical Ciphers and Application features analyses of various ciphers- including classical ciphers and the application of ciphers used during WWII. The purpose of the collection is to explain how classical ciphers work and show the patterns among substitution (replacement) and transposition(scramble) ciphers. For further understanding in application, it attempts to provide an analysis of the famous substitution ciphers- the Zimmerman Telegram and WWII Pigeon Cipher.

Collection Items

The Zimmermann Telegram
The Zimmerman Telegram, sent from Germany to Mexico during WWI, was intercepted and decoded by the British early 1917. It took them approximately a month to send the decoded message to the U.S. British intelligence decoded the message in Room 40 of…

Vigenère Cipher
The Vigenère cipher was created in the 16th-century by French cryptographer Blaise de Vigenère. It was revered as "le chiffre indéchiffrable" or "the unbreakable cipher" for many years after its invention.

It works by concealing the original…

Playfair Cipher
The Playfair Cipher was created in 1854 by Charles Wheatstone, and named after Lord Playfair for promoting its use. Initially, it was rejected by the British Foreign Office for appearing complicated. Later, the military began to use it for being…

Caesar Cipher
The Caesar Cipher is one of the oldest ciphers, used by Julius Caesar to communicate with his generals. It works by shifting the alphabet down by a fixed number, or key. Due to the simplicity, it can be broken if the crypanalyst knows that a simple…

The ADFGVX cipher was developed by Colonel Fritz Nebel and introduced in March 1918. Germany used it as a field cipher during WWI. It was named the ADFGVX cipher for the letters used to create ciphertext, chosen for their distinctiveness in morse…

WWII Pigeon Cipher
The WWII Pigeon Cipher describes a coded message found on the remains of a carrier pigeon discovered in 1982. This message was sent to the curator of the Pigeons at War exhibit at Bletchly Park, however he found it impossible to crack.

In 2012,…

Pigpen Cipher
The Pigpen Cipher is a form of substitution cipher that uses symbols, rather than other letters. Although its origin is unknown, this cipher was most famously used by the Freemasons in the 18th century- to the point that some know it as the…

Affine Cipher
The Affine Cipher is a form of substitution cipher that involves math. The shift of the alphabet- while transpositioning plaintext into ciphertext is determined by a mathematical equation. This equation is:

E(x) = (ax+b) mod m

E(x) = The…

Rail Fence Cipher
The Rail Fence Cipher is form of transposition cipher that scrambles the letters. It does this by using a grid of x many rows, and the sender writes the plaintext in the grid in a vertical zig-zag pattern. The key for this cipher is the number of…

Route Cipher
A Route Cipher is a type of transposition cipher where you write the message into a grid box and read the letters in a certain route. This cipher was used by the Union forces during the Civil War. However, they took care to use it in a way that moved…
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