David in Israel on Practical "Pocket" Cryptography

Permalink | Print

In the absence of computing power if we are reduced to using tiny QRP [low power] transmitters for communication, then there may come a time where some messages require heavy duty encryption. This is the easiest method I know of the Solitaire card deck encryption method. A group could even generate one time pads which would be starting order for a deck and store them in a secure location. See: http://www.schneier.com/solitaire.html Here is a snip from this site:

"In Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon, the character Enoch Root describes a cryptosystem code-named "Pontifex" to another character named Randy Waterhouse, and later reveals that the steps of the algorithm are intended to be carried out using a deck of playing cards. These two characters go on to exchange several encrypted messages using this system. The system is called "Solitaire" (in the novel, "Pontifex" is a code name intended to temporarily conceal the fact that it employs a deck of cards) and I designed it to allow field agents to communicate securely without having to rely on electronics or having to carry incriminating tools. An agent might be in a situation where he just does not have access to a computer, or may be prosecuted if he has tools for secret communication. But a deck of cards...what harm is that?"

[See the URL cited above, for the details on this enciphering system]

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending that, David. In the near future I plan to post a brief article about "book codes" --using two identical books as one-time pads. This method is called a Buchspiel ("book game") by the German spymasters that perfected it.

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2013 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles - SurvivalBlog.com

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on November 24, 2005 1:44 PM.

Letter Re: Amateur Radio in Survival Planning was the previous entry in this blog.

Note from JWR: is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Visitor Map



counter customisable
Unique visits since July 2005. More than 300,000 unique visits per week.