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Published by: Grayson Dinsmore on Apr 24, 2012
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Grayson DinsmoreEnglish 202C
How to Utilize a Double Transposition Cipher 
In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for performing the encryption and decryption of messages, both plaintext and ciphertext.
is information a sender wants to send to areceiver which is normally written in a common language.
is that same message thathas gone through encryption and is often unreadable to keep the message a secret. Atransposition cipher is a method of encryption in which the positions held by units of plaintext ina sentence are shifted according to a particular system. There are many different versions of transposition ciphers however the one that this instruction set will cover is the double columnartransposition, or more simply known as the double transposition. This type of cipher utilizes twospecific keywords in order to shift the order of the plaintext to hide the message. This cipher is
also known as a “pen and paper” cipher as a computer 
and/or complex mathematics are notrequired and a user is able to utilize the cipher with only a pen and piece of paper.
To start, the only thing that is required is a pencil, a piece of paper and the two keywords thatwill be used to encrypt your message. It is important that both you and the receiver of themessage know the two words and which order they will be used in; without them the receiverwill be unable to decrypt the message.
In this example we will be using the keywords
, however longer keywords canbe used to provide additional security.
You must also come up with the message youwish to send; be aware that the longer themessage is the harder it will be to encrypt. Inthis example we will be sending the message:
They found us, flee
as is shown in the picture to theright.
Step 1 - Placement:
Now that you have your message and keywords selected itis time to encrypt them.
To put the message in the correct placement you need towrite out the first keyword, in this case
, and thenwrite out the message beneath it row by row while keeping
the row length the same number of characters as the keyword. Because our first keyword,
, is six characters, the row length of our message will be six, as is shown in the image onthe previous page.
As you can see, the last row of the message only hasthree letters (L,E,E). In the event of any spaces in the
message, you fill those spaces with “nulls”, or randomletters. In this example we will use the letter “X” as
our null.
Step 2 - Columns:
Now that your message is written out it is time to find the order that your columns will be shiftedby in order to jumble the message. We find the order of thecolumns by using the keyword and the alphabeticalordering of its letters.
is the first letter so it is designated asnumber one with the number placed above it. Since
isnext in the alphabet, it receives a two. Continue this untileach column has a number.In the event that your keyword has more than one of the same letters, they are numbered thesame however their order goes from left to right.
Step 3 - First Encryption:
In this step we will see our message become cipher text. In order to do this you will want towrite out each column in the order they have been designated in the last step.
If we write out each column in the correctorder we get the message:
Now that you have thefirst iteration of your cipher text, it is timeto jumble it again using your secondkeyword.
Step 4 - Second Placement:
To encrypt your message a second time you will use the samesteps as before, however with the keyword
. As shown in the
image to the right, you take your cipher text of: “
HNE” and write it out row by row underneath the word
. Once you have done that you must also number the columns onceagain by their alphabetical order.
Because of the two gaps in the last row we must once again usenulls. For the second keyword it is recommended that you usedifferent null letters than the first. In this case we will use
 instead of 
. An image of our new cipher is shown to the left.
Step 5
Completed Ciphertext 
Once you have figured out the ordering of the columns you can now write out your fullyencrypted cipher text.Congratulations you have now encrypted your original message of:
They have found us
flee, into:FUEYNTDXHZSLOUEXEFXZ.When sending your newly encrypted message it is important to not include any spaces betweenletters as well as make all letters capitalized. This will make it harder for unwanted readers tofigure out what your message says.
You may not always be the one encrypting messages, sometimes you’ll need to dec
rypt them.The steps taken to decrypt a message are the same that are done to encrypt, just backwards. Inorder to describe decryption we will be using the same message we just encrypted.
When you receive your jumbled message you first will need to figure out the column lengths forthe first keyword. This can be done by dividing the message length by the keyword length. In
twenty letters long. When you divide it by thefour letters in
you get five, which is the length of the columns for the first keyword.
Once you have written out
and numbered the columns by alphabetical order you can thentake the first five letters in the message (FUEYN) and place them under the first column.
Then take the next five letters and place them under the second column and follow this patternuntil each column is filled.

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