Julia classical ciphers suite
Author Smaug123
6 Stars
Updated Last
2 Years Ago
Started In
January 2016


Dev CI Coverage Status Code Style: Blue

Main Features

Provides access to encryption and decryption of strings according to a variety of classical algorithms. Classical ciphers were created before computers, and thus work on letters rather than bits.

The Solitaire cipher is included for completeness, though it is perhaps not strictly classical.

Currently Implemented


In general, encrypt functions turn text upper-case, while decrypt functions turn text lower-case. This is consistent with convention, but may not be expected.

Code samples

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Caesar cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with a Caesar offset of 3 (that is, sending 'a' to 'd'):

encrypt_caesar("Hello, World!", 3)
# outputs "KHOOR, ZRUOG!"

Notice that encrypt_caesar turns everything upper-case, but retains symbols.

Decrypt the same text:

decrypt_caesar("Khoor, Zruog!", 3)
# outputs "hello, world!"

Likewise, decrypt_caesar turns everything lower-case, but retains symbols.

Automatically crack the same text:

crack_caesar("Khoor, Zruog!")
# outputs ("hello, world!", 3)

Affine cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with the function x -> 3x+4:

encrypt_affine("Hello, World!", 3, 4)
# outputs "ZQLLU, SUDLN!"

Notice that encrypt_affine turns everything upper-case, but retains symbols. The multiplier is the second argument, and the additive constant is the third.

The multiplier must be coprime to 26, or an error is thrown.

Decrypt the same text:

decrypt_affine("ZQLLU, SUDLN!", 3, 4)
# outputs "hello, world!"

Crack the same text:

crack_affine("ZQLLU, SUDLN!")
# outputs ("hello, world!", (3, 4))

You can provide mult= or add= options to crack_affine, if they are known, to help it out.

Monoalphabetic cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with the same Caesar cipher, but viewed as a monoalphabetic substitution:

encrypt_monoalphabetic("Hello, World!", "DEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABC")
# outputs "KHOOR, ZRUOG!"

Decrypt the same text:

decrypt_monoalphabetic("Khoor, Zruog!", "DEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABC")
# outputs "hello, world!"

Encrypt using a Dict:

encrypt_monoalphabetic("aBcbDd", Dict{Char, Char}('a' => '5', 'B' => '@', 'b' => 'o'))
# outputs "5@coDd"

Notice that encrypt_monoalphabetic does not convert its input to uppercase when a Dict key is supplied. It simply makes all specified changes, and leaves the rest of the string unchanged.

Cracking a cipher:

crack_monoalphabetic(str, chatty=0, rounds=10)
# outputs (decrypted_string, key)

The various optional arguments to crack_monoalphabetic are:

  • starting_key="", which when specified (for example, as "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ"), starts the simulation at the given key. The default causes it to start with the most common characters being decrypted to the most common English characters.
  • min_temp=0.0001, which is the temperature at which we stop the simulation.
  • temp_factor=0.97, which is the factor by which the temperature decreases each step.
  • chatty=0, which can be set to 1 to print whenever the key is updated, or 2 to print whenever any new key is considered.
  • rounds=1, which sets the number of repetitions we perform. Each round starts with the best key we've found so far.
  • acceptance_prob=((e, ep, t) -> ep>e ? 1 : exp(-(e-ep)/t)), which is the probability with which we accept new key of fitness ep, given that the current key has fitness e, at temperature t.

The simulation is set up to start each round off at a successively lower temperature.

Vigenère cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with a Vigenère cipher of key "ab":

encrypt_vigenere("Hello, World!", "ab")
# outputs "HFLMOXOSLE"

Decrypt the same text with the offsets given as an array:

decrypt_vigenere("HFLMOXOSLE", [0, 1])
# outputs "helloworld"

Notice that the offset 0 corresponds to the key a.

Crack a text:


This attempts to use the index of coincidence to find the keylength, and then performs frequency analysis to derive the key. It returns (key, decrypted text).

If the keylength is known, specifying it as crack_vigenere(str, keylength=6) may aid decryption.

Portas cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with a Portas cipher of key "ab":

encrypt_portas("Hello, World!", "ab")
# outputs "URYYB, JBEYQ!"

Note that the input has been made uppercase, but symbols have been preserved. The key is expected to be letters only; it is converted to uppercase and symbols are stripped out before use.

Decrypt the same text:

decrypt_portas("URYYB, JBEYQ!", "ab")
# outputs "hello, world!"

Notice that the input has been made lowercase.

Hill cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with a Hill key of matrix [1 2; 5 7]:

encrypt_hill("Hello, World!", [1 2; 5 7])
# outputs "PHHRGUWQRV"

Notice that the input has been made uppercase and symbols have been stripped out.

The key matrix must be invertible mod 26. That is, its determinant must be coprime to 26.

Encrypt the same text with the same key, this time represented as a string:

encrypt_hill("Hello, World!", "bcfh")
# outputs "PLHCGQWHRY"

If the plaintext-length is not a multiple of the dimension of the key matrix, it is padded with X:

encrypt_hill("Hello", "bcfh")
# outputs "PLHCIX"

decrypt_hill("PLHCIX", "bcfh")
# outputs "hellox"

Decrypt the text "PLHCGQWHRY" with key of [1 2; 5 7]:

decrypt_hill("PLHCGQWHRY", [1 2; 5 7])
# outputs "helloworld"

Do the same, but using the string representation of the key:

decrypt_hill("PLHCGQWHRY", "bcfh")
# outputs "helloworld"

Playfair cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with the Playfair cipher, key "playfair example":

encrypt_playfair("Hello, World!", "playfair example")
# outputs "DMYRANVQCRGE"

The key is converted to "PLAYFIREXM", removing duplicate letters and punctuation. The padding character used to separate double letters, and to ensure the final plaintext is of even length, is 'X'; the backup character is 'Z' (used for separating consecutive 'X's).

Encrypt the same text using an explicitly specified keysquare:

arr = ['P' 'L' 'A' 'Y' 'F'; 'I' 'R' 'E' 'X' 'M'; 'B' 'C' 'D' 'G' 'H'; 'K' 'N' 'O' 'Q' 'S'; 'T' 'U' 'V' 'W' 'Z']
encrypt_playfair("Hello, World!", arr)
# outputs "DMYRANVQCRGE"

Note that the keysquare must be 25 letters, in a 5x5 array.

Optionally specify the two letters which are to be combined (default 'I','J'):

encrypt_playfair("IJXYZA", "PLAYFIREXM", combined=('I', 'J'))
# outputs "RMRMFWYE"
encrypt_playfair("IJXYZA", "PLAYFIREXM", combined=('X', 'Z'))
# outputs "BSGXEY"

In this case, the letters are combined in the plaintext, and then treated as one throughout.

Decrypt the same text:

decrypt_playfair("RMRMFWYE", "playfair example")
# outputs "ixixyzax"

The decrypting function does not attempt to delete padding letters. Note that in the above example, the text originally encrypted was "IJXYZA"; the 'J' was transcribed as 'I', as specified by the default combined=('I', 'J'), and then padding 'X's were introduced to ensure no digraph was a double letter. Finally, an 'X' was appended to the string, to ensure that the string was not of odd length.


The variant of Enigma implemented is the M3 Army version. This has five possible rotors, of which three are chosen in some distinct order.

The plugboard may be specified either as a Array{Tuple{Char, Char}} or a string. For example, both the following plugboards have the same effect:

[('A', 'B'), ('C', 'D'), ('E', 'F')]

For no plugboard, use Tuple{Char, Char}[] or "".

The rotor order may be specified as [5, 1, 2] indicating that the leftmost rotor should be rotor 5, the middle should be rotor 1, and the rightmost should be rotor 2. That is, when a letter goes into Enigma, it passes first through rotor 2, then rotor 1, then rotor 5. (That is, letters move through the machine from right to left, before being reflected.)

The ring settings may be specified as a three-character string. For example, "AAA" indicates no adjustment to the rings. TODO: expand this.

The initial key may be specified as a three-character string. For example, "AQY" indicates that the leftmost rotor should start at position 'A', the middle rotor at position 'Q', and the rightmost at position 'Y'.

Three reflectors are given; they may be specified with reflector_id='A' or 'B' or 'C'. Alternatively, specify reflector_id="YRUHQSLDPXNGOKMIEBFZCWVJAT" to use a custom reflector; this particular example happens to be reflector 'B', so is equivalent to reflector_id='B'.

For example, the following encrypts "AAA" with rotors 1, 2, 3, with key "ABC", an empty plugboard, the default 'B' reflector, and ring "AAA":

encrypt_enigma("AAA", [1,2,3], "ABC")
# outputs "CXT"

This is synonymous with:

encrypt_enigma("AAA", [1,2,3], "ABC", ring="AAA", reflector_id='B', stecker="")

And also with:

encrypt_enigma("AAA", [1,2,3], "ABC", ring="AAA", reflector_id="YRUHQSLDPXNGOKMIEBFZCWVJAT", stecker="")

And also with:

encrypt_enigma("AAA", [1,2,3], "ABC", ring="AAA", reflector_id='B', stecker=Tuple{Char, Char}[])

The arguments to decrypt_enigma are identical. (In fact, decrypt_enigma and encrypt_enigma are essentially the same function, because Enigma is reversible.) As ever, encrypt_enigma uppercases its input, and decrypt_enigma lowercases it.

Solitaire cipher

Encrypt the text "Hello, World!" with the Solitaire cipher, key "crypto":

encrypt_solitaire("Hello, World!", "crypto")
# outputs "GRNNQISRYA"

Decrypt text with an initial deck specified:

decrypt_solitaire("EXKYI ZSGEH UNTIQ", collect(1:54))
# outputs "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa", as per

Rail Fence cipher

julia> construct_railfence("WE ARE DISCOVERED. FLEE AT ONCE", 3)
3×26 Array{Char,2}:
 'W'  ''  ''  ''  'E'  ''  ''  ''  'C'  ''  ''  ''  'R'''  ''  'F'  ''  ''  ''  'A'  ''  ''  ''  'C'  ''
 ''  'E'  ''  'R'  ''  'D'  ''  'S'  ''  'O'  ''  'E'  ''     ''  '.'  ''  'L'  ''  'E'  ''  'T'  ''  'N'  ''  'E'
 ''  ''  'A'  ''  ''  ''  'I'  ''  ''  ''  'V'  ''  ''     'D'  ''  ''  ''  'E'  ''  ''  ''  'O'  ''  ''  ''

julia> encrypt_railfence("WE ARE DISCOVERED. FLEE AT ONCE", 3) # this reads the above matrix row by row

julia> decrypt_railfence("WECRFACERDSOEE.LETNEAIVDEO", 3)


encrypt_atbash("hello this is plaintext", "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz") == encrypt_substitution("hello this is plaintext", "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz", "zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba")