20 August, 2015

The Baconian Cypher

After reading over some of my old blog posts, I felt inspired to write another cryptography post. I really enjoy the topic and I like keeping a record of codes I study with these little monographs.

In this post I will discuss the Baconian Cypher. I first heard about this cypher from an old Sherlock Holmes radio program by the same name. It was created by renaissance man, Sir Francis Bacon, hence it's name. Without further ado, I present to you the Baconian Cypher.

A   00000   G     00110   N    01100   T     10010
B   00001   H     00111   O    01101   U/V   10011
C   00010   I/J   01000   P    01110   W     10010
D   00011   K     01001   Q    01111   X     10101
E   00100   L     01010   R    10000   Y     10110
F   00101   M     01011   S    10001   Z     10111
 
Traditionally As and Bs are used for illustrating the cypher, but like Morse Code, one only needs to use a two choice operator, i.e. on/off, true/false, dot/dash, or as in my case, 1s and 0s, like binary. It is, in fact similar to binary, but I won't go into that right now. Because of this two choice operation, the cypher can be used in a wide range of uses. I'll be explaining the most common use of this cypher, which is hiding a message in non-related text.

Say I want to encode the word "now". I would take the pattern from N, O, and W, and it would look like this: 011000110110010.

Now take a text 15 characters long (because "now" has 3 letters and each letter of the encoded text needs 5 characters in the text, 3*5=15). I will use "A Study in Purple." including the period as an additional character.

I will leave the 0 letters as they are and then put the 1 letters in bold, but one could italicize them, underline them, or use a different font, so long as a distinction between 0s and 1s can be made. It looks like this:

"A Study in Purple."

This could can be used with a book: all one would have to do is underline letters (or even whole sentences) to form "1"s.