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Sunday nite fun: English composer wrote unbreakable (?) cipher

Here:

Elgar’s scribble was actually a cipher. It consisted of 87 glyphs unevenly spread over three lines. It contained 24 different symbols that featured one, two, or three cusps or curves. The glyphs were tilted in what appeared to be eight various angles. In a glance it gave the sense of seagulls, or sheep, or bits of stubble. Dora looked at it, couldn’t figure it out, put it in a drawer, and didn’t draw it out again for 40 years.

The scribble, known as the Dorabella Cipher, has never been decrypted and stands with such other famous unsolved puzzles as the Voynich Manuscript, a 240-page codex dating from the 15th century; the Phaistos Disk, an apparently Bronze-age piece of clay found in Crete in 1908; and the Zodiac Killer ciphers of the 1960s and ’70s.

Countless cryptographers have ardently attempted to crack the Dorabella Cipher, employing deft math and analysis. A few quite accomplished cryptanalysts insist they have solved it. But the Elgar Society begs to differ. More.

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16 Responses to Sunday nite fun: English composer wrote unbreakable (?) cipher

  1. Cryptography is one of my interests. There is a cipher that is mathematically impossible to crack, and it’s called a one-time pad cipher.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad

    For those of you who want to send an encrypted message that will never be cracked, there is a very simple computational way to do this.

    Write a text file with unsigned ASCII characters (e.g., with Notepad on a Windows machine). XOR every byte with a series of random bytes (the one-time pad) included in a file that is sent by a means other than that with which you sent the original file. (This is known as the key distribution problem, but you could send the one-time pad by mail, or upload it to a website and inform the recipient by phone where to find it,etc.)

    The XOR operation with the one-time pad, when applied a second time to the cipher text, will return the encrypted file to its original state.

    Creating the random file is where all the fun comes in. For example, you could record some street noise and extract bytes from the audio file, skipping randomly through the file by randomly pressing a key on your computer.

    Unless the one-time pad (XOR file) is intercepted, you have a mathematically insoluble cipher.

  2. One guess as to whether Darwinists or Cryptographers first cracked the genetic code.

  3. I’ll upload at my website a cipher file and the one-time XOR file. I’ll provide the links in this thread.

    Each file will contain the exact same number of bytes. The first person to post the correct decryption will get a free set of my classical piano CDs.

  4. Interesting. Rather than being intelligible, I wonder if it’s something simple like a musical scale. There are supposedly 24 symbols. That’s enough for three octaves or a way of denoting flats/sharps & duration.

  5. OT: Denyse O’Leary has an excellent condensed history of Big Bang denialism up on ENV

    Big Bang Exterminator Wanted, Will Train – Denyse O’Leary – October 20, 2013
    Excerpt: “Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory.”
    - Cosmologist Christopher Isham
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....77961.html

  6. I’ve always enjoyed interesting codes. Here are some fairly predictable examples.

    - Two people can share an image over the Internet, using the pixel color data as one-time pads.

    - A message can be encrypted in an image by altering the least-significant digits in each pixel.

    - You can create two or more images that need to be combined to form a sequence of numbers.

    - And then there are the innumerable discussion group posts. Lessee, the first letter of the first mispelled word in a post is used to find a word up to 26 words deeper within a message. That subsequent word can be translated into a string of numbers that point to other words or letters in the message. The final number points to the next word to be converted into the next series of numbers.

    Could some of the messages posted here, especially those that include strange ideas and weird spelling errors, might actually be secret messages?! :o

    So . . . Kamph -> K = 11 -> 11th word that follows “kamph” . . . convert that word into a numbers . . . etc. ;-)

  7. 7
    sagebrush gardener

    Still waiting for Gil’s promised cipher.

    This message has been double-ROT13 encoded for super-extra-strength security.

  8. Okay, here it is:

    http://worldchampionshipchecke.....ndom_Bytes

    http://worldchampionshipchecke.....hered_File

    Both files are binary. Ciphered_File is the encrypted secret message. Random_Bytes is the one-time pad XOR file.

    By the way, if you need some really good random numbers, go here:

    http://www.random.org/bytes/

    These are truly random (not pseudo-random) and are generated from atmospheric noise.

    I’ll mail a set of my three (remastered!) classical piano CDs to the first person to post the secret message in this thread.

  9. 9
    sagebrush gardener

    The universe and the laws of physics were designed by a super-intelligence who transcends space and time.

    Claude Shannon proved, using information theory considerations, that any theoretically unbreakable cipher must have keys which are at least as long as the plaintext, and used only once: one-time pad.

  10. 11
    sagebrush gardener

    Hurray! :)

  11. On the weekends I often listen to Leo Laporte (the tech guy) on the radio. One day he was discussing the NSA and their ability to intercept our communications. He mentioned that if you use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy, a popular RSA-based open-source encryption program) for your e-mails, this immediately flags your communication as suspicious and worthy of investigation.

    However, using the one-time XOR pad, you can just attach a binary file (you could even append a dummy extension, like .wmv, .pdf, etc.) which would not raise suspicion, and inform the recipient by phone where to download the one-time pad.

  12. congrats!

  13. Here’s my code in C. You can easily alter this code to decrypt. Just read in the encrypted file and XOR it with the same random bytes. Write out the result which is the original message.

    I knew the file size so I hard-coded it (308 bytes). You could fancy this code up to automate the whole process.

    By the way you could use this to encrypt virtually any file, not just a text file.

    #include <stdio.h>
    #define FILE_SIZE 308

    int main()
    {
    unsigned char randombytes[FILE_SIZE], plaintext[FILE_SIZE];
    FILE *randomfile, *textfile, *outputfile;
    int i;

    textfile = fopen(“Message.txt”, “rb”);
    randomfile = fopen(“Random_Bytes”, “rb”);
    outputfile = fopen(“Ciphered_File”, “wb”);

    fread (&randombytes[0],1,FILE_SIZE,randomfile);
    fread (&plaintext[0],1,FILE_SIZE,textfile);

    for (i=0; i<FILE_SIZE; i++)
    {
    plaintext[i] ^= randombytes[i];
    fprintf (outputfile,”%c”,plaintext[i]);
    }

    fclose(randomfile);
    fclose(textfile);
    fclose(outputfile);

    return 0;
    }

  14. 15
    sagebrush gardener

    Since you didn’t specify we had to write our own code, I used this…

    http://monolith.sourceforge.net/

    But now that you have shamed me into it…

    [code language="perl"]
    #!/usr/bin/perl
    undef $/;
    open CF, 'Ciphered_File';
    binmode CF;
    my $cf = ;
    open RB, 'Random_Bytes';
    binmode RB;
    my $rb = ;
    my $out = ( $cf ^ $rb );
    print "$out\n";
    [/code]

  15. 16
    sagebrush gardener

    Oops, looks like UD doesn’t have the WordPress source code plugin enabled. Let’s try again…

    #!/usr/bin/perl

    undef $/;
    open CF, ‘Ciphered_File’;
    binmode CF;
    my $cf = <CF>;
    open RB, ‘Random_Bytes’;
    binmode RB;
    my $rb = <RB>;
    my $out = ( $cf ^ $rb );
    print “$out\n”;

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