Article | Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2018 | Uruguayan Cryptographic Carpet Linköping University Electronic Press Conference Proceedings
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Title:
Uruguayan Cryptographic Carpet
Author:
Juan José Cabezas: Instituto de Computación, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay Joachim von zur Gathen: B-IT, Universität Bonn, Germany Jorge Tiscornia: Presidencia Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
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Full text (pdf)
Year:
2018
Conference:
Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2018
Issue:
149
Article no.:
009
Pages:
21-27
No. of pages:
7
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2018-06-13
ISBN:
978-91-7685-252-1
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköpings universitet


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We present a unique item in the history of cryptography: a woollen carpet woven in a Uruguayan penitentiary in 1980 during the dictatorship in that country. The colors of a pair of horizontally adjacent knots encrypt a single letter. The carpet is in moderately good shape, with loss of colors and some damage by moths. We had obtained the original code and here report on the deciphering. The plaintext is a political message destined to comrades outside, with a description of the political situation and directives for actions. The cryptosystem is a simple substitution. Breaking such codes is trivial. The real task here is to translate the knots into a machine-readable representation of their colors, in the presence of unclear colors and damage to parts of the carpet. The encrypted carpet is an important document from the dark times of the Uruguayan dictatorship, manufactured by prisoners from the guerrilla movement Tupamaros. Two of the present authors (JJC and JT) were active members of this group. Their personal memories were essential for our successful reconstruction of the plaintext.

Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2018

Author:
Juan José Cabezas, Joachim von zur Gathen, Jorge Tiscornia
Title:
Uruguayan Cryptographic Carpet
References:

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Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2018

Author:
Juan José Cabezas, Joachim von zur Gathen, Jorge Tiscornia
Title:
Uruguayan Cryptographic Carpet
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