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The Double Transposition Cipher

The Double Transposition Cipher

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Published by bloodymonday

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Published by: bloodymonday on Mar 30, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/31/2013

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TheDoubleTranspositionCipherBacktoCracktheCiphersThiswasoneofthemostsecurehandciphersusedintheSecondWorldWar.ItwasusedbyboththeAlliesandtheAxis,andservedbothwell.Itsmainweaknesswasthatiftheattackerinterceptedtwoormoremessagesofthesamelengthusingthesamekey,theycouldbecomparedbyatediousprocessknownas"multipleanagramming,"findingsolutionstoboth.Thisweaknesswasnotimportantifonlyonemessagewassentusingeachkey.Ithadanadditionalproblem:Executingitcorrectlyrequiresconsiderablecare,leadingtodifficultiesindecryptionifanerrorismadeatasensitivepoint.IntheUnitedStates,informationaboutcryptanalysisofthecipherremainedclassifieduntilafewyearsago.DoubleTranspositionconsistsoftwoapplicationsofcolumnartranspositiontoamessage.Thetwoapplicationsmayusethesamekeyforeachofthetwosteps,ortheymayusedifferentkeys.Columnartranspositionworkslikethis:Firstpickakeyword,suchasDESCRIBE,thenwritethemessageunderitinrows:DESCRIBE---------------YOURMOTHERWASAHAMSTERANDYOURFATHERSMELTOFELDERBERRIESNownumberthelettersinthekeywordinalphabeticalorder.34827615DESCRIBE---------------YOURMOTHERWASAHAMSTERANDYOURFATHERSMELTOFELDERBERRIESThenreadthecipheroffbycolumns,startingwiththelowest-numberedcolumn:Column1isTHNTTB,followedbyRAERMDEYEMYEFRORSORERHADHOEOAAALRMSRFEESUWTUSLI.Thiscompletesthefirstcolumnartransposition.Next,selectandnumberasecondkeyword,andwritethisintermediateciphertextunderitinrows:271895463COASTLINE-----------------THNTTBRAERMDEYEMYEFRORSORERHADHOEOAAALRMSRFEE

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