Character (char ac ter) - A letter, figure, punctuation mark, or other symbol used in writing or printing.
Cipher (ci pher) - A method or system of changing text to hide its real meaning where each letter is changed to something else. For example: A=D or A=# or A=._
Cipher Alphabet (ci pher al pha bet) - A table that shows what each letter is replaced with. For example: A=Z, B=Y, C=X, etc.
Code (code) - A system of changing entire words or phrases into something else. For example: President = Eagle or Battleship = 13425
Codebook (code book) - A book or other document that lists the answers (the key) to the secret code.
Codebreaker (code break er) - A person who uses cryptanalysis to solve secret codes and ciphers without having the key.
Codemaker (code mak er) - A person who makes new secret codes and ciphers.
COMINT (Communications Intelligence) - Technical and intelligence information gathered from foreign communications by other than the intended recipients.
Crib (crib) - A method of codebreaking that uses part of the assumed (guessed) plain text to compare against the cipher.
Cryptanalysis (crypt a nal y sis) - The part of cryptology that deals with studying a secret message or a group of secret messages and breaking the system so you can read what it says without first knowing the key.
Cryptogram (cryp to gram) - A message that has been written in a secret cipher. Try It! Visit Cryptograms in the Games & Puzzles section...
Cryptography (cryp tog ra phy) - The part of cryptology that deals with making codes or cipher systems so that others cannot read what is in the secret message.
Cryptologist (cryp tol o gist) - A person who makes and/or breaks codes.
Cryptology (cryp tol o gy) - The art and science of making (cryptography) and breaking (cryptanalysis) codes.
Cryptosystem (cryp to sys tem) - A method or process for changing regular text to hide its real meaning.
Decipher (de ci pher) - To change a secret encoded message back to the real text so you can read it. Pssst! The words decode or decrypt mean the same thing as decipher!
Encipher (en ci pher) - To use a secret system to change a message into a secret that only you and your friends know how to read. Pssst! The words encode or encypt mean the same thing as encipher!
ENIGMA (e nig ma) - Name for a machine used by the Germans to encrypt and decrypt secret messages in World War II.
IA (Information Assurance) - The codemaking half of cryptology. This is one of NSA's main missions.
Intelligence (in tel li gence) - Information about an enemy that has been studied for its importance and accuracy, and provided to warfighters and decision makers.
JADE (jade) - Codename for machine used by the Japanese Imperial Navy to encrypt and decrypt messages during World War II.
Key (key) - A symbol or group of symbols used for controlling the making (cryptography) and breaking (cryptanalysis) of codes. For example: If your key is A=B, B=C, C=D, both you and your friends need to know that to encrypt and decrypt the message.
Plaintext (plain text) - A message written in regular characters readable by all without any hidden or secret meaning.
PURPLE (pur ple) - Codename for the Japanese system of encrypting diplomatic messages during World War II.
Recovery (re cov er y) - The process of figuring out a code or key by studying (cryptanalysis) the message or messages.
SCE (Service Cryptologic Elements) - Branches of the armed services that are members of the Intelligence Community:
U.S. Naval Security Group
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Army Intelligence Security Command
U.S. Air Force Intelligence Agency
Setting (set ting) - The position of parts of a cryptosystem or cipher machine, like a starting point. For example: The Germans needed to set the ENIGMA machine to the right rotor setting before beginning to encrypt or decrypt their messages during World War II.
SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) - Information gathered from the foreign signals environment that enables our government to make important decisions. This, the codebreaking half of cryptology, is one of the main missions of NSA/CSS.
Slide (slide) - The number of position changes between the plaintext and the encoded text.
Substitution Cipher (sub sti tu tion ci pher) - A method of encrypting a message where the chracters of the plaintext are in the same order but are switched to other characters. For example: A=D, B=E, C=F, etc.
Transposition Cipher (trans po si tion ci pher) - A method of encrypting a message where the character positions are changed but the characters themselves stay the same. For example: SECRETS = ECTSRES