Welcome to Willy Wonka’s Cryptography Factory! Unfortunately, somebody had been stealing the Chocolate Factory’s secret recipes to create knock-off candies. On January 17th’s Cryptography Workshop led by Katherine and Selena, we worked together as detectives to find the culprit!
First off, what is cryptography? Cryptography is the art of hiding secrets with codes, and it's helpful in many ways. First, it can be used to make sure only the intended recipient can decrypt and read them. Additionally, it can be used for secret sharing and also multi-party computation. But of course with encryption, there must also be decryption in order to decode those secret messages.
In order to practice our skills with encryption and decryption, all 60 girls and AGSS's volunteers worked together as teams to encrypt and decrypt clues using different cryptography methods. For instance, using the Caesar Cipher method, in which each letter is shifted slightly in the alphabet, each team encrypted the phrase “IS AGE ODD?” into “NX FLJ TII,” and decrypted the phrase “XYZIJSY” into “STUDENT.” Some other methods we put to use included the substitution method, in which each letter is substituted by another, and the Vigenere method, a polyalphabetic substitution. As one girl said, “acting as a detective and solving these challenges” to eliminate suspects was no doubt her “favorite part.” With these clues, we successfully eliminated suspects and figured out who was the thief of the Chocolate Factory’s secret recipes!
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