Pigpen cipher goes with other names like (masonic cipher, Napoleon cipher and tic-tac-toe cipher).
Pigpen cipher is simple substitution cipher that works by replacing each letter of the message with a symbol.
A brief history of pigpen cipher:
The origin of this cipher is not known or whoever invented it but it has been used for a long time.
- Read: Complete list of ciphers.
Here are the groups of people that used the pigpen cipher:
- Freemasons, the secret society in the 18th Century.
- Union prisoners in Confederate camps during American Civil War.
Basically pigpen cipher uses symbols to share messages. The bizarre shapes are secret codes for transmitting information without getting detected easily.
Pigpen cipher is the most popular secret writing alphabet in the history.
Here are six most popular uses of pigpen cipher:
- Encrypted gravestone inscriptions.
- Encrypted certificates.
- Encrypted testaments.
- Mug inscriptions.
- Beer labels.
- Encrypted treasure maps.
In this guide I will be discussing the following:
- How to solve pigpen cipher.
- Various pigpen cipher variants.
1) How to solve pigpen cipher
Generally with pigpen cipher you turn each letter of your message into its symbol equivalent based on this grid:
All you have do is replace each occurrence of a letter with a given symbol. Each letter is assigned to a symbol based on where the letter is located.
For example “A” is inside a backwards L, “N” is inside a box with a dot near the bottom, and “T” is in a V turned on its side.
Here is an example of pigpen cipher encryption:
Plaintext: Who do you think invented pigpen cipher.
Am going to use the grid above to form the symbols associated with each letter in my message to encrypt it.
Decoding is equally simple, you need to locate the symbol depicted in the ciphertext and replace it with the letter given in the grid above.
Try out the following example to enhance your understanding of pigpen cipher:
Plaintext: Pigpen is the best symbol substitution cipher.
If you need more help there are a few online tools that will help you learn more about this cipher:
2) Various pigpen cipher variants
Here are three most common variants of pigpen cipher:
a) Changing the order from grid, grid, X , X to grid, X, grid, X:
b) Placing the letters alternatively the dot and non-dot parts to split adjacent letters:
c) Using three grids, and using either a full stop, or space o occupy the last position:
As you can see pigpen code is about making a kind of alternative alphabet and making messages by translating words through it.
Since pigpen is a also a monoalphabetic substitution cipher, it’s very prone to cryptanalysis and breaking it is extremely easy.
- Read: Caesar Cipher.
Due to its simplicity, pigpen cipher has been included in several children’s books that talk about ciphers and other secret codes writing.
What aspect of pigpen cipher was unclear?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.