What are Ciphers?

Ciphers are methods to encrypt messages. The origins of modern cryptography date back approximately 3000 years. The procedures used to encrypt messages before 1900 were primitive compared to modern approaches, but they are easy to understand and provide a good basis to study the more complicated methods.

In recent times, especially after the emergence of telecommunication equipment, more complex encryption methods have become necessary. Today, an exorbitant amount of information is transmitted via the internet. Millions of people use websites for their banking activities causing the transmission of sensible data via networks where the precise routing of data is not always known and data may be manipulated or stolen.

This website gives you the opportunity to learn about ciphers and to test them in an interactive way within your browser. Try to encrypt a message for yourself and send it to a friend. Learn about the weak spots of popular ciphers and how they can be decrypted without knowing the key.

Ciphers are popular for geocaching (https://www.geocaching.com, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching) to provide hints for the "treasure hunt". The ROT13 cipher is mostly used for geocaching, but also other classic ciphers like substitution, rail fence, Enigma. Often a hint is provided which indicates the cipher that was used.