The very first encrypted messages were developed in ancient Egypt as series of disordered hieroglyphics. This was a very simple means of encryption using a method called simple substitution. The original message was encoded using a substitution cipher. Each letter of the plaintext was simply replaced by another letter of the alphabet, resulting in the encoded message, or cipher text.
In simple terms a cipher is an algorithm used to encrypt and decrypt some text. Ciphers have been used since ancient times for sending out encrypted messages which could not be read by an unintended party if they were intercepted. With time and modernization the cipher went through a drastic change, but no matter how much it changes, it will always be the cornerstone of cryptography.
The unseen difference between ciphers and cryptography is that ciphers are used in order to encrypt and decrypt the data in cryptography. From carved images and texts on Egyptian pyramids, through to the German Enigma machine’s cipher to modern era’s RSA, we can see massive change in the ciphers and they become more difficult to decipher without the key creating a secure digital environment. In this article we discuss my favorite ciphers and how they work.
1) Caesar Cipher : Caesar Cipher which is also known as shift cipher or substitution cipher is one of the simplest and earliest classical ciphers. As every other ciphers, this was also a game of mathematics where all the alphabets were shifted based on given shift numbers. One can shift an alphabet upto 25 shifts and can form a word encrypted in this cipher. To decrypt this encryption, one must know the shift key else we need to perform shifting from 1 - 25 until we find a shift number where the whole sentences makes sense to us.
Example : Encrypted: ymnx nx f xnruqj jcfruqj tk hfjxfw hnumjw.
The above text at one glance does not make any sense but when known its shift, we can decrypt it to get a meaningful sentence. This example is shifted 5 times. Upon decrypting, we can see the below sentence:
Decrypted: This is a simple example of Caesar Cipher.
Here the letter “T” shifted 5 times ahead and substituted by the letter “y” and so on. So in order to decipher it, we go back from “y” 5 times which will give us letter “t”.
2) Baconian Cipher : No! This is not edible bacon that you are thinking nor it is anything related to a bacon (🥓) 😝. Baconian or simple Bacon's Cipher is more than just a cipher, it is a method of hiding the messages (Steganography technique) which was created by Francis Bacon in 1605. The messages are hidden within the presentation of text rather than the content. This is another type of substitution cipher where each letters has a sequence of 5 characters. In the original cipher, the characters used to make a sequence were “A” and “B”. Moreover in order to fully understand how this works, we can learn from the below description and table from two types of Bacon's Cipher.
The 24 Letter Cipher: In this type of Bacon's Cipher, the two pairs of letters (I,J) and (U,V) has the same sequence while other 22 has unique sequence which can be interpreted either in letters “A” and “B” or binary “0” and “1” respectively. Below is the table of this cipher:
The 26 Letter Cipher: Unlike 24 Letter Cipher, here all 26 letters has the unique sequence of A's and B's or 0s and 1s. Below is the table representation of this cipher.
That's enough for today! I hope you learned something new about the world of cryptography. For sure this is not a pro level article, but I hope it helps if you are into ctfs or just want to manually send some encrypted messages to your friends for fun. Don't forget to share it with your friends and start having fun!
If you have any queries regarding these ciphers or any other, you can always comment down or ping me on my Twitter which is in my bio. Also you can suggest me what you wanna read from me for the next article. Have a nice time and keep learning and keep loving our Secjuice family!