The Use of Project Gutenberg and Hexagram Statistics to Help Solve Famous Unsolved Ciphers

Richard Bean
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland, Australia

Ladda ner artikelhttps://doi.org/10.3384/ecp2020171005

Ingår i: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 171:5, s. 31-35

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Publicerad: 2020-05-19

ISBN: 978-91-7929-827-2

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Project Gutenberg, begun by Michael Hart in 1971, is an attempt to make public do-main electronic texts available to the pub-lic in an easily available and useable form. The number of available texts reached 60,000 by 2019. Classical cryptanalysis methods rely on the development and use of high-quality frequency tables of letter arrangements from a variety of sources. As the amount of text grows, frequency ta-bles of higher orders can be developed and may provide more solving power for clas-sical cryptographic algorithms. As a side-e?ect of the availability of a wide range of public domain texts, we were able to develop hexagram frequency tables of let-ters in the English language which were then a crucial factor to solving an unsolved transposition cipher of Mahon and Gillo-gly (2008). The texts themselves were then used as input to solve a book cipher of Thouless (1948) using the same scoring method.


cryptanalysis; frequency tables; hill climbing; book ciphers


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