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  • Marie Minzlaff

Codes

There are a lot of codes for you to use, and each one is unique. Today I am going to guide you through the most well-known ones. But before I begin, I will explain the difference between a code and a cipher. A code is, very simply, a method of concealment by changing entire words or phrases for other words or phrases. A cipher is a method that uses substitution to conceal a message.


Morse code:

Morse code is one of the most famous codes you will come across. This code uses dots and dashes, long and short taps, or light flashes to convey a message. Here are the letters and numbers in morse code.


Morse code was first used in 1844. It was invented by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail in around 1837.


Ciphers:

Ciphers are codes that use substitution to encrypt a message. For example, “ebiil” would mean hello if the key were 3. To crack the code, you would shift the letters of the alphabet backwards by three so that H became E, and E became B etc. The earliest cipher is a cipher discovered in the main chamber of the nobleman Khnumhotep II in 1900 BC. However, the first recorded use of a cipher for military use was used by the Spartans in around 500BC. They used an invention called the “scytale”. The scytale was used by wrapping a piece of paper around a stick, then writing the message vertically. Then, you would unwind the stick, fill in some random letters, and then give it to your correspondent. The message would just look like random letter written on a strip of paper until it was wrapped around a stick of the same size again. The Caesar Cipher is one of the is one of the most widely known techniques. It was solved by the Arab mathematician Al-Kindi using frequency analysis. The word cipher originated in the late 14th century from the Arabic word “sifr”, which means zero. However, in English the spelling of words was often changed as few concrete spellings had been defined, so many authors often substituted a Y for an I.


The American spelling of cipher is more widely known and used, but the English spelling of cypher is also correct.


Did you know that:

➢ The Arab world excelled at codes. Books on mathematical cryptology were published in as early as 1000 CE by Arab authors.

➢ Mary Queen of Scots used over 100 codes to plan and send messages to her most trusted

correspondents.

➢ George Washington had a code sheet of unique symbols for every letter of the alphabet.

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