Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type

Master's Project


Cryptanalysis is the process of trying to analyze ciphers, cipher text, and crypto systems, which may exploit any loopholes or weaknesses in the systems, leading us to an understanding of the key used to encrypt the data. This project uses Expectation Maximization (EM) approach using numerous restarts to attack decipherment problems such as the Purple Cipher. In this research, we perform cryptanalysis of the Purple cipher using genetic algorithms and hidden Markov models (HMM). If the Purple cipher has a fixed plugboard, we show that genetic algorithms are successful in retrieving the plaintext from cipher text with high accuracy. On the other hand, if the cipher has a plugboard that is not fixed, we can decrypt the cipher text with increasing accuracy given an increase in population size and restarts. We performed the cryptanalysis of PseudoPurple, which is less complex but more powerful than Purple using HMMs. Though we could not decrypt cipher text produced by PseudoPurple with good accuracy, there is an increase in accuracy of the decrypted plaintext with an increase in the number of restarts.