It makes a lot of sense for people to know the history of their profession from various points of view and I suppose especially in cryptography because people can still use old ciphers and no one likes inventing the wheel.

So I am wondering does it happen in modern life that crytpo specialist have to deal with Vigenère cipher or anything else from the history, or nowadays it's just interesting stories?


If you're doing reverse engineering, penetration testing, or generally involved in looking at things someone else has built, for some strange reason, folks always try coming up with their "own" encryption schemes, which are either flawed or embarrassing mis-interpretations of old ciphers, or just vanilla implementations of old algorithms.

Beyond that, you must be familiar with history, or you're doomed to repeat its mistakes.


A big reason for knowing outdated ciphers is so you can decrypt older documents that were made before the advent of modern cryptography methods. As a famous example, we have Kryptos, a sculpture by Jim Sanborn that's found outside the CIA offices in Langley. Kryptos has 4 different encrypted texts, 3 of which have been decrypted already, the 4th being one of the most famous unsolved codes in the world.

There are also a number of older encrypted documents, from older wars, serial killers, unsolved mysteries,... which are encrypted using older ciphers.

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