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Spring Symposium on UR and Community Engagement has ended
Tuesday, April 24 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Testing The Strength Of Polyphonic Ciphers

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In this presentation, I intend to demonstrate that, even with modern software, polyphonic ciphers can be incredibly difficult to decrypt, and are often functionally unbreakable. Specifically, I will construct 35, 55 and 65 character polyphonic ciphers, and will tabulate the results of my attempts to decrypt known messages. Polyphonic ciphers have fallen out of popularity after the development of RSA ‘public key’ ciphers and ‘brute force’ decryption methods; the assumption has been that polyphonic ciphers are susceptible to decryption from a variety of ‘brute force’ decryption methods if sufficient time is allocated using powerful computers. But recent efforts using ‘hill-climbing’ software seem to indicate that this may not be the case. As recent research has suggested, polyphonic ciphers of > 50 alphabets may be functionally unsolvable, and the actual limits of solvability may be lower. The software used for testing this hypothesis will be the ZKDecrypto software created by Brax Sisco. The software was developed specifically for solving encrypted messages created with polyphonic and monophonic ciphers. All ciphers created for this research were constructed manually by hand, without the use of any software, and are rather simple to construct in a short amount of time.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 2:20pm - 2:40pm
012 Karpen Hall