The Black Circle
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The Black Chamber cloaks the Inner Circle in the top-secret world of codes of cryptography
From the drunken, incestuous conquests of Julius Caesar to the illicit on-line purchases of today's identity thief, cryptography is supposed to vitally secure all communication. Throughout the 12 ages cryptographers and cryptanalysts have continually waging war, making, breaking and un-breaking, the best “unbreakable” ciphers. The Black Chamber gives the Inner Circle the opportunity to study and engage in this silent, ageless battle of codes.
The Monoalphabetic Substitution Cipher is the oldest form of cipher system. It uses a single cipher-alphabet (key) to encrypt a message. Although no longer used for military communications (due to every weekend armchair cryptologist knowing all about it), substitution ciphers are now found in newspaper crossword sections, on the backs of off-brand cereal boxes, and all in your sister's diary.
One example is the Caesar-shift substitution cipher, named for either the Roman Emperor or the Hockey Team. This cipher simply shifts the regular alphabet a certain number of places to the right. Encrypting a message in this manner has the effect of making the message illegible to random snoops and making it nearly impossible to decipher by the brute force method of trying every possible key.
Below is an example of a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher:
Plain-text : meet me at midnight under the bridge
Cipher-text: JAAH JA ZH JFMSFCRH USMAI HRA YIFMCA
The message is soon transparent to even the most rudimentary and stoned cryptanalyst. Frequency Analysis is the first step to breaking a substitution cipher. By counting and determining the percentage of occurrences of each character or symbol in the cipher-text and comparing them to the relative frequencies of each letter in the message's original language the cryptanalyst can break the cipher and reveal the messages contents.
Below is a table of relative frequencies for the English alphabet.
Letter = Percentage
Plain-alphabet : a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Cipher-alphabet: Z Y X M A O C R F T G N J S K L P I Q H U E V D W B
A = 8.2, N = 6.7, B=1.5, O=7.5, C=2.8, P=1.9, D=4.3, Q=0.1, E=12.7, R=6.0, F=2.2, S=6.3, G=2.0, T=9.1, H=6.1, U=2.8, I=7.0, V=1.0, J=0.2, W=2.4, K=0.8, X=0.2, L=4.0, Y=2.0, M=2.4, Z=0.1
In the case of the above message the frequency analysis would normally be confounded by it's brevity, however, the cryptographer failed to remove the spaces before sending the message. This gives the cryptanalyst additional clues as to the nature of the words contained in the message
The Inner Circle is not limited simply to using a single cipher-alphabet to write a secret message. Null characters (symbols that the intended receiver just ignores) and codes (symbols or words that replace words or whole phrases) are also commonly used. Steganography, Greek for “covered writing,” is employed by hiding the existence of the message. The Inner Circle could write messages on paper using invisible ink made from milk, lemon juice or their own urine. After the “ink” dries exposing the paper to a heat source will turn the “ink” brown thus revealing the message.
From polyalphabetic ciphers such as the Vigenere cipher, machine ciphers such as the Nazi Enigma machine, to today's encryption software, the Inner Circle has XKUSHGAHH opportunities to explore and exploit this secretive field.
IDEA: The Inner Circle creates a code book containing lists of code words and daily keys. Each Inner Circle member receives a copy of the code book. Using the code books, decks of playing cards and Bruce Schneier's Solitaire Bruce Schneier's Solitaire algorithm, Inner Circle exchanges encrypted emails when planning future sessions of Morton's List.
Possession of certain cryptographic materials, software, and equipment may be illegal in your country.
Transport of certain cryptographic materials, software, and equipment to other countries may be illegal in your country.
Obey all local and international espionage laws.
Concept for a new Mystery Quest?