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Meaning Of Life

Problem

You were always amazed by your German grandmother's knowledge. Whether it be history, languages, philosophy, science, mathematics or theology, she seemed to know everything. What impressed you most was the sense of contentment and peace that seemed to surround her. Through her lifelong search for knowledge she seemed to have found the answers that most of us never quite find.

Sadly she passed away, but a few days later you receive a letter and computer disc in the post:

My dear child,
If you are reading this letter then I am no longer with you. I have sent a copy of this letter to each of my relatives. The accompanying disc contains the IP address of a remote server on the internet, which contains all of the discoveries and great secrets I have uncovered during my lifetime. They have been securely encrypted and can be unlocked with a single password. However, if anyone attempts to access the server they will have one minute to transmit the correct password or all of the data will be destroyed.

So as to not cast pearls under the feet of swine you will need to discover the correct password for yourself...

B

C

 

A

 

H

A

H

 

H

 

E

 

I

B

 

Solution

Begin by writing the alphabetic position of each character below the cipher.


B

C

 

A

 

H

A

H

 

H

 

E

 

I

B

 

2

3

0

1

0

8

1

8

0

8

0

5

0

9

2

0

Then read-off pairs: 23 01 08 18 05 09 20.
These represent the alphabetic positions of the message:
W A H R H E I T.
Which is, of course, German for TRUTH.

If you keep the message in English, can you see any flaws with this method of encryption? For example, try encoding HELLO.

What could be done to overcome this problem?

Problem ID: 6 (Aug 2000)     Difficulty: 2 Star

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