Publication Date

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


Homophonic substitution ciphers employ a one-to-many key to encrypt plaintext. This is in contrast to a simple substitution cipher where a one-to-one mapping is used. The advantage of a homophonic substitution cipher is that it makes frequency analysis more difficult, due to a more even distribution of plaintext statistics. Classic transposition ciphers apply diffusion to the ciphertext by swapping the order of letters. Combined transposition-substitution ciphers can be more challenging to cryptanalyze than either cipher type separately. In this research, we propose a technique to break a combined simple substitution- column transposition cipher. We also consider the related problem of breaking a combination homophonic substitution-column transposition cipher. These attacks extend previous work on substitution ciphers. We thoroughly analyze our attacks and we apply the homophonic substitution-columnar transposition attack to the unsolved Zodiac-340 cipher.