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Question: The term cryptology comes from two words, meaning “hidden” and “word,” in what language?
Answer: The term cryptology comes from Greek kryptós (“hidden”) and lógos (“word”).
Question: What is the digraph substitution cipher cracked by Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in Dorothy L. Sayers’s book Have His Carcase?
Answer: Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane crack the Playfair digraph substitution cipher in Dorothy L. Sayers’s book Have His Carcase.
Question: Who invented a type of simple polyalphabetic cipher that was once thought to be impregnable and hence was nicknamed “the indecipherable cipher”?
Answer: Italian cryptologist Giovan Battista Bellaso formulated a type of simple polyalphabetic cipher that was once thought to be impregnable and hence was nicknamed le chiffre indéchiffrable, literally “the indecipherable cipher.”
Question: What is the best-known public-key scheme cryptoalgorithm?
Answer: RSA is the best-known public-key scheme cryptoalgorithm. It makes the user secretly choose a pair of prime numbers p and q so large that factoring the product n = pq is well beyond projected computing capabilities for the lifetime of the ciphers.
Question: What militaristic people employed a cipher device called the scytale for secret communication between army commanders as early as 400 BCE?
Answer: The Spartans implemented the first recorded use of cryptography for correspondence as early as 400 BCE, employing a cipher device called the scytale for secret communication between military commanders.
Question: Who were the inventors of the first transposition cipher?
Answer: The Greeks were the inventors of the first transposition cipher.
Question: During the 4th century BCE who wrote On the Defense of Fortifications, one chapter of which was devoted to cryptography?
Answer: During the 4th century BCE Aeneas Tacticus wrote On the Defense of Fortifications, one chapter of which was devoted to cryptography, making it the earliest treatise on the subject.
Question: Which Greek inventor devised a means of encoding letters into pairs of symbols by using a device named after him?
Answer: The Greek inventor Polybius devised a means of encoding letters into pairs of symbols by a device called the Polybius square (or checkerboard), which is a true biliteral substitution and presages many elements of later cryptographic systems.
Question: Which ancient Roman cipher, using monoalphabetic substitution with a simple cyclic displacement of the alphabet, was named after a famous general and statesman?
Answer: The Caesar cipher was the ancient Roman cipher, using monoalphabetic substitution with a simple cyclic displacement of the alphabet, that was named after the Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar.
Question: HAL, the computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), encrypts to IBM using the cipher of which Roman emperor?
Answer: HAL, the computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), encrypts to IBM using Augustus’s cipher.
Question: About 1412 which Egyptian scholar discussed several cryptographic systems in his encyclopaedia, ?ubīal-aīshī?
Answer: About 1412 the Egyptian scholar al-Kalka-shandī discussed several cryptographic systems in his encyclopaedia, ?ubīal-aīshī.
Question: Who authored the first European manual on cryptography (c. 1379), a compilation of ciphers that contains a set of keys for 24 correspondents as well as symbols for letters, nulls, and several two-character code equivalents for words and names?
Answer: The first European manual on cryptography (c. 1379) was a compilation of ciphers by Gabriele de Lavinde of Parma, who served Pope Clement VII. This manual, now in the Vatican archives, contains a set of keys for 24 correspondents and embraces symbols for letters, nulls, and several two-character code equivalents for words and names.
Question: Who wrote in 1466 or 1467 the treatise "De componendis cyfris" (Latin: "On Writing in Ciphers"), which presented the first polyalphabetic cipher?
Answer: In 1466 or 1467 Italian humanist Leon Battista Alberti wrote the treatise "De componendis cyfris" (Latin: "On Writing in Ciphers"), which presented the first polyalphabetic cipher.
Question: What is the famous unsolved book cipher that purports to give the location of a buried treasure in Bedford county, Virginia?
Answer: The Beale cipher is the famous unsolved book cipher that purports to give the location of a buried treasure in Bedford county, Virginia.
Question: Who was the chief codebreaker for British commander Arthur Wellesley, later 1st duke of Wellington, during the Peninsular War (1808–14)?
Answer: During the Peninsular War (1808–14) George Scovell acted as the chief codebreaker for British commander Arthur Wellesley, later 1st duke of Wellington. Scovell devised a system for intercepting and interpreting encoded French communications.
Question: What was the brand name for a famous series of innovative electro-mechanical devices used by the German military during World War II to encode and decode its top-secret radio traffic?
Answer: Enigma was the brand name for a famous series of innovative electro-mechanical devices used by the German military during World War II to encode and decode its top-secret radio traffic.
Question: What early electronic computer, invented by Royal Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers, was used to decipher complexly encoded teleprinter messages from Hitler and the German High Command, enabling the Allies to eavesdrop on the Germans before D-Day?
Answer: The early electronic computer Colossus, invented by Royal Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers, was used to decipher complexly encoded teleprinter messages from Hitler and the German High Command, enabling the Allies to eavesdrop on the Germans before D-Day.
Question: What algorithm, submitted by IBM, became the Data Encryption Standard (DES) for the U.S. National Bureau of Standards in 1975?
Answer: The Lucifer algorithm, submitted by IBM, became the Data Encryption Standard (DES) for the U.S. National Bureau of Standards in 1975.
Question: Which Native American language was used by U.S. Army units during World War I to transmit secret tactical messages and proved instrumental in a successful surprise attack against the Germans?
Answer: The Choctaw language was used by U.S. Army units during World War I to transmit secret tactical messages and proved instrumental in a successful surprise attack against the Germans.
Question: What code did Napoleon and his officers begin using in 1811 after their previous code was broken by British Army Major George Scovell?
Answer: Napoleon and his officers began using the Great Paris Cipher in 1811 after their previous code was broken by British Army Major George Scovell.
Question: What late 18th-century code, deciphered only in 2011, was used to mask a text describing a ritual of a secret society that apparently had a fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology?
Answer: In 2011 a team of Swedish and American linguists applied statistics-based translation techniques to crack the Copiale Cipher, a late 18th-century code masking a text describing a ritual of a secret society that apparently had a fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology.
Question: What is the name of an extraordinary codex from the 15th or 16th century that is filled with bizarre illustrations and text in a unique alphabet that no one has ever deciphered?
Answer: The Voynich Manuscript is an extraordinary codex from the 15th or 16th century filled with bizarre illustrations and text in a unique alphabet that no one has ever deciphered.
Question: What is the name of the eight-letter carving of unknown meaning inscribed into the Shepherd’s Monument in Staffordshire, England?
Answer: The Shugborough Inscription is an eight-letter carving (OUOSVAVV) of unknown meaning on the Shepherd’s Monument in Staffordshire, England. Thousands of would-be code breakers, including Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens, searched without success for the meaning behind this inscription.
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