Tag Archives: Python

Breaking the Vigenère cipher…

Whenever I encounter a problem that interests me, I get some kinda obsession to solve it. Happens all the time! And this time, it was in a course on “Cryptography” (in Coursera). Well, it’s been an year since I pursued online courses, because I’m simply more occupied by my own works, and I also got bored of those submissions, deadlines, quizzes, etc.

One fine day, I got a mail advertising this course, which got me curious. I wanna know how it’s gonna be. After all, cryptography is the one that got me into some serious programming in Python & Javascript (about a year ago). Anyways, there was this problem, where we’re expected to decipher a “ciphertext” encrypted using a variant of the Vigenère cipher. I got interested as soon as I saw that…

Even though they expect people to solve the problem in C/C++, I (being a Pythonist) decided to get it done with Python! The Vigenère cipher is nothing but a major update to the Caesar cipher. I presume you already know about the Caesar cipher has a keyspace of “1” – just a number to say how much to shift all the characters (so, anyone with a pen & paper can crack it, as it contains only 26 possibilities), but Vigenère extended it, giving additional security.

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Just how beautiful is the idea of encryption?

I feel kinda unlucky over the past two months. Diluted dialup, relocation, exams, I was constrained. Well, that explains why I wasn’t active for a while. Even after this disaster, this “brain” just can’t give up screwing the computer.

I assaulted Python in those days. I was coding. If you haven’t got into Python, trust me. You should get started. It’s a stunning pseudocode-like high level language. That means, you can take any Python code, and start reading. It’s that easy! On the other hand, it’s powerful. It can do a great deal of things that goes beyond storytelling…

Okay, the subject I got interested in lately, was encryption. In the gigantic universe of computing, there’s a galaxy called cryptography. What the species lying there do, is what we’re going to talk about today.

What if I tell you that encryption lies all around us geeks? What if it’s been protecting your money, reputation, status in this computing universe all the time? From money transfers to online payments, from GMail to Facebook, from the boring WiFi routers in your college, to NSA’s top-level secret information, everything uses encryption!!!

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