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Decipherment means analyzing and understanding an illegible or incomprehensible script . It is important both in cryptology when deciphering encrypted ciphertexts and in archeology when indexing texts that are written in an unknown language or script , as well as in linguistics , literary studies and palaeography .

Deciphering in cryptology

In cryptology is deciphering a cryptanalytic technique , consisting of a ciphertext without knowledge of the key, the clear text wins. The deciphering of a ciphertext is also referred to as “ breaking ” or colloquially as “cracking” (see also: code breaker ; English codebreaker ).

The decipherment is offset by the decryption of a ciphertext by the authorized recipient. He is in possession of the key. With it he can decipher. Deciphering is not necessary.

In addition, the cryptanalysis considers the weaknesses of the encryption methods used . Those methods that are found to be unsuitable for secure encryption are referred to as "broken". Famous examples of broken historical encryption are the ADFGX method used in World War I and the ENIGMA machine in World War II .

Famous cryptanalysts

Decipherment in archeology and linguistics

In archeology , the term “ decryption ” is also used as a synonym for decipherment and is understood to mean the analysis of an old, no longer known script . In archeology, the document to be deciphered has often not been encrypted to prevent the uninitiated from reading, but the meaning of the text or the ability to read it has been forgotten over time.

Examples of ancient writings

Famous documents already deciphered or still awaiting decipherment:

Famous decipherers of ancient writings

Web links

Wiktionary: deciphering  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich L Bauer: Deciphered secrets. Codes and ciphers and how to break them. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1995.
  2. ^ Ernst Doblhofer : The decipherment of ancient scripts and languages . Reclam, Stuttgart 1993. ISBN 3-15-008854-2 .
  3. Gero von Wilpert : Specialized Dictionary of Literature (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 231). 6th, improved and enlarged edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-520-23106-9 , keyword: "Handschrift".
  4. High Command of the Wehrmacht: General key rules for the Wehrmacht . Berlin 1944, p. 5f. Accessed: August 26, 2010. PDF; 0.9 MB .