Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 at 10:37am

Mafia boss captured due to weak cryptography

Posted by Jordan Erickson

According to the Discovery Channel’s website ( http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060417/mafiaboss_tec.html?source=rss ),
the Sicilian Mafia’s “Boss of bosses”, Bernardo Provenzano, has been arrested. Police were able to capture him by deciphering a simple encryption scheme he used when typing letters on a typewriter. The scheme used was a modified version of the “Ceaser Cypher”, where each letter of the alphabet is replaced by a corresponding number – so A = 3, B = 4, C = 5, etc. The original Ceaser cypher, dated more than 2000 years ago, replaced each letter with the letter 3 places up (A = D, B = E, C = F, etc.). As you can see, with a little guesswork and time, these cyphers are easily broken. Too bad he didn’t use PGP!

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