One-time pad cipher system

One-time pad cipher system

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: One-time pad (OTP) system, TAPIR conversion table. This table is used to convert plaintext to numbers before it is encrypted. The OTP cipher system is an encryption algorithm that uses a single-use, randomly generated key (pad) that is as long as the message itself. This key is subtracted from the TAPIR numbers to give the ciphertext. If the system is followed correctly it is considered to be an unbreakable 'perfect cipher'. The OTP system was invented in 1917 by the US cryptographer Gilbert Vernam (1890-1960). The TAPIR conversion table was used in the former DDR (East Germany). As well as letters and combinations of letters (yellow), it includes numbers and punctuation (green), and switch signals (red) for line breaks or switching between letters and numbers.

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