A simple zigzag pattern can scramble your messages beyond recognition.
In the last two issues, we’ve been exploring ciphers that use simple substitution. The first swapped letters of the alphabet around, which the second used ‘pigpens’ to designate each letter then used them to deliver an encrypted code. This issue, we’re going to be looking at a code that doesn’t simply replace letters with other symbols!
This is the case for the Rail Fence Cipher, a very interesting way of delivering messages. We’ll still be sending normal-looking letters as our message, but it’ll be so scrambled up that anyone who doesn’t know the code won’t know what it says. Even better, unlike simple substitution, it’s not just regular letters interchanged with other ones, meaning it’s a little trickier to crack!
So, let’s explore how you make a more complicated code with the Rail Fence Cipher. To start with, think of a message you want to send. For this example, we want to send the message “HELLO WORLD”.
Then, decide on the amount of ‘rails’ you want to use. For this example, and a good starting point in general, we’re going to use three rails. However many rails you choose, draw them out like this:
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Also In The December 2017 Issue
Building and creating your tools with the Minecraft toolbox helps you survive the game.
Sensors give robots the senses humans have.
30+ ideas for all age holiday gifts, from books to apps to board games to VR and more.
There might be a reason that too-real robot and video game character creeps you out.
You computer mouse cursor finally gets a cat to chase it.
Create turtles with Python, the programming language.
This programming language uses colors instead of text and punctuation to add and perform other tasks.
Use micro:bit to water your plants!
Knowing how passwords are cracked can help you create better passwords.
Studying satellite photographs shows a lot about what happens in the world.
There are a number of strategies teachers (plus parents and students) can take to learn programming.
Pigpen ciphers uses alien-like symbols to hide secret messages.
This project uses conductive thread to create a glove to activates your phone.
The repl.it website and React are one way to create mobile apps.
Software programming does neat things with language, in this case, mixing capital letters.
This Scratch game has lots of ways you can customize the game play. No cats were harmed in the making of this article either.
Links from the bottom of all the October 2017 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.
Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for October 2017.