Browse Definitions :
Definition

cryptogram

A cryptogram is a word puzzle featuring encrypted text that the user decrypts to reveal a message of some sort. Once used for message security, cryptograms are now typically only used for entertainment purposes in newspapers and magazines. Cryptoquotes and cryptoquips are common variations that feature quotations.

Cryptograms in newspapers and magazines are usually based on a simple substitution cipher, often replacing each letter in the alphabet with a different one. The letter A, for example, might be represented by the letter K, while the letter K is represented by the letter R. Puzzle solvers use a number of methods to help them decrypt the messages.

Frequency analysis can be applied to note how often words or particular combinations of letters appear. Coupled with a knowledge of common short words, that information can yield helpful clues. A single letter usually represents either "A" or "I," common two-letter words include "if," "as" and "at," and a three-letter word is quite often "the" or "and." If a single letter also appears as the start of a three-letter word, then that word has a better-than-average chance of being "and," since "T" (the first letter in "the") is not a word.

Patterns of letters and words provide more clues for cryptanalysis. For example, a four letter word starting and ending with the same letter has a better-than-average possibility of being "that." You might then notice a three-letter word starting with the two same letters, which is likely to be "the" if "that" is correct. Penciling in every occurence of those letters that can be guessed will provide the solver with clues about the other letters and words.

Cryptograms have a long history. One of the best known is Caesar's cipher, which is said to be among the less complicated used by the Roman Emperor. According to Suetonius, who wrote a set of biographies of Julius Caesar in 121 A.D.:

"If he had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word could be made out. If anyone wishes to decipher these, and get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others."

From Caesar's day (at least), cryptograms were used to protect the content of military and personal messages. Cryptograms designed purely for entertainment purposes made their appearance in the Middle Ages as an intellectual pastime for monks. More recently, in 1929, the American Cryptogram Association was formed with the goal of making the cryptogram as valued by hobbyists with chess, in the words of the ACA: “thus contributing to the happiness of mankind.”

Here's an example of a cryptogram based on one of our Favorite Technology Quotes:

All hail the computer!
This was last updated in November 2017

Continue Reading About cryptogram

Networking
  • subnet (subnetwork)

    A subnet, or subnetwork, is a segmented piece of a larger network. More specifically, subnets are a logical partition of an IP ...

  • Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

    Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a standard protocol on the internet that ensures the reliable transmission of data between...

  • secure access service edge (SASE)

    Secure access service edge (SASE), pronounced sassy, is a cloud architecture model that bundles together network and cloud-native...

Security
  • intrusion detection system (IDS)

    An intrusion detection system monitors (IDS) network traffic for suspicious activity and sends alerts when such activity is ...

  • cyber attack

    A cyber attack is any malicious attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer, computing system or computer network with the ...

  • digital signature

    A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a digital document, message or...

CIO
  • product development (new product development)

    Product development -- also called new product management -- is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, ...

  • innovation culture

    Innovation culture is the work environment that leaders cultivate to nurture unorthodox thinking and its application.

  • technology addiction

    Technology addiction is an impulse control disorder that involves the obsessive use of mobile devices, the internet or video ...

HRSoftware
  • organizational network analysis (ONA)

    Organizational network analysis (ONA) is a quantitative method for modeling and analyzing how communications, information, ...

  • HireVue

    HireVue is an enterprise video interviewing technology provider of a platform that lets recruiters and hiring managers screen ...

  • Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)

    Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) is a U.S.-based credentialing organization offering certifications to HR ...

Customer Experience
  • What is lead-to-revenue management (L2RM)?

    Lead-to-revenue management (L2RM) is a set of sales and marketing methods focusing on generating revenue throughout the customer ...

  • What is relationship marketing?

    Relationship marketing is a facet of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on customer loyalty and long-term ...

  • contact center burnout

    Contact center burnout refers to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion experienced by contact center employees.

Close