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Kasiski examination

In cryptanalysis, Kasiski examination (also referred to as Kasiski's Test or Kasiski's Method) is a method of attacking polyalphabetic substitution ciphers, such as the Vigen€re cipher. It was first published by Friedrich Kasiski in 1863,[1] but seems to have been independently discovered by Charles Babbage as early as 1846.[2]

How it works

The Kasiski examination allows a cryptanalyst to deduce the length of the keyword used in the polyalphabetic substitution cipher. Once the length of the keyword is discovered, the cryptanalyst lines up the ciphertext in n columns, where n is the length of the keyword. Then, each column can be treated as the ciphertext of a monoalphabetic substitution cipher. As such, each column can be attacked with frequency analysis. The Kasiski examination involves looking for strings of characters that are repeated in the ciphertext. The strings should be three characters long or more for the examination to be successful. Then, the distances between consecutive occurrences of the strings are likely to be multiples of the length of the keyword. Thus finding more repeated strings narrows down the possible lengths of the keyword, since we can take the greatest common divisor of all the distances. The reason this test works is that if a repeated string occurs in the plaintext, and the distance between corresponding characters is a multiple of the keyword length, the keyword letters will line up in the same way with both occurrences of the string. For example, consider the plaintext: crypto is short for cryptography. "crypto" is a repeated string, and the distance between the occurrences is 20 characters. We will line up the plaintext with first a six-character keyword "abcdef" (6 does not divide 20) and a five-character keyword "abcde" (5 divides 20). abcdefabcdefabcdefabcdefabcdefabc crypto is short for cryptography. Notice that the first instance of "crypto" lines up with "abcdef" and the second instance lines up with "cdefab". The two instances will encrypt to different ciphertexts and the Kasiski examination will reveal nothing. abcdeabcdeabcdeabcdeabcdeabcdeabc crypto is short for cryptography. Note that both occurrences of "crypto" now line up with "abcdea". The two instances will encrypt to the same ciphertext and the Kasiski examination will be effective.

Once the interceptor knows the keyword. Kasiski then observed that each column was made up of letters encrypted with a single alphabet. cryptanalysis proceeds as described above using frequency analysis. but this description illustrates the principle that the computer algorithms implement. this is especially true for long matching strings. because then the adjacent letters are in the same language using the same alphabet. The generalized method 1. a modern analyst would take two copies of the message and lay one above another. with the one improvement of coincidence counting. . as above. the monoalphabetic ciphertexts that result must be cryptanalyzed. etc. However. The key letters are repeated at multiples of the key length. each encrypted using a one-alphabet substitution. the analyst might use guesses about the keyword to assist in breaking the message. The analyst records the distances for all repeated groups in the text. it is likely to be the length of the keyword. Modern analysts use computers. The analyst shifts the bottom message one letter to the left. and each piece can then be attacked using frequency analysis. so most of the distances found in step 1 are likely to be multiples of the key length.Kasiski examination 2 A string based attack The difficulty of using the Kasiski examination lies in finding repeated strings. but computers can make it much easier. 3. Then. the analyst has N "messages". then two letters to the left. care is still required.. the analyst can quickly determine what the keyword was. Or. so that some of the repeat distances are misleading. then every Nth letter must have been enciphered using the same letter of the keytext. A cryptanalyst looks for repeated groups of letters and counts the number of letters between the beginning of each repeated group. If the keyword is N letters long. in the process of solving the pieces. each one shifted left by the length of the key. 1. 2. 2. Using the solved message. The number of "coincidences" goes up sharply when the bottom message is shifted by a multiple of the key length. 5. each time going through the entire message and counting the number of times the same letter appears in the top and bottom message. the distance between FGX's is 10. If any number is repeated in the majority of these factorings. The analyst next factors each of these numbers. Once the keyword length is known. of course. A common factor is usually evident. This is because repeated groups are more likely to occur when the same letters are encrypted using the same key letters than by mere coincidence. but is perhaps easier to picture. Having found the key length. Superposition Kasiski actually used "superimposition" to solve the Vigen€re cipher. Instead of looking for repeating groups. the following observation of Babbage and Kasiski comes into play. since some repeated strings may just be coincidence. This is a very hard task to perform manually. that knowledge can be used to read other messages that use the same key. His method was equivalent to the one described above. Grouping every Nth letter together. Then he took multiple copies of the message and laid them one-above-another. The cryptanalyst has to rule out the coincidences to find the correct length. Modern attacks on polyalphabetic ciphers are essentially identical to that described above. For instance if the ciphertext was FGXTHJAQWNFGXQ. 4. 3. He started by finding the key length.

Mittler und Sohn [2] Franksen. F. O. Prentice Hall . Die Geheimschriften und die Dechiffrir-Kunst. 1863. Berlin: E. S. I. Babbage's Secret: the Tale of a Cipher-And APL. 1985 Mr.Kasiski examination 3 References [1] Kasiski. W.

Eyreland.0/ .org/w/index. Jdege. Diuturno. Oskar Sigvardsson. 11 anonymous edits License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3. R3m0t. Jotorious. Macarse.Article Sources and Contributors 4 Article Sources and Contributors Kasiski examination •Source: http://en. Clockwork Laser.org/licenses/by-sa/3. Matt Crypto. Matthias Castaing. Mattisse. Securiger. €•‚ƒ•„.wikipedia. Decrypt3. Mmernex.0 //creativecommons. BrokenSegue. DAGwyn.php?oldid=540491327 •Contributors: A5b.

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