0
$\begingroup$

I am having a very difficult time trying to understand what exactly this question is asking.

How many valid English plaintexts are there for the ciphertext message CJU using a length-3, one-time pad of cyclic shifts, (i, j, k)?

If the encrypted question message is CJU and the one time pad is i, j, k would there not be exactly 1 solution? We are given the one time pad i, j, k so we can derive the plaintext simply by some alagebra

(x + 9) % 26 = 3

(y + 10) % 26 = 10

(z + 11) % 26 = 21

Where x, y, and z are the plaintext letters T, Z, J?

I feel like this is a trick question that I am not understanding

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I think you are misreading the statement, $(i, j, k)$ isn't supposed to be the key $(9, 10, 11)$, but some key. $\endgroup$ – Aristu Oct 16 '16 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ how does i, j, k help me narrow down my resulting set? $\endgroup$ – TemporaryFix Oct 16 '16 at 3:39
2
$\begingroup$

$(i,j,k)$ is not a specific OPT. It's three variable names that you can use to talk about the key. The question is just asking, "Given all possible three-character OTPs, how many valid English plaintexts are there for the ciphertext CJU?"

In other words, how many different values are there for the triple $(i,j,k)$ such that "CJU" decrypts to an actual English word.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ ahhhh, so $(i, j, k)$ is just a generic. So the solution is every possible english 3 letter word since we do not know the pad $\endgroup$ – TemporaryFix Oct 16 '16 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ Where i !=j and j != k and i != k $\endgroup$ – TemporaryFix Oct 16 '16 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Programatic There's no reason to assume that the successive characters of the pad are different. Indeed, if you did include the rule that consecutive characters of the pad must be different, that would leak a small amount of information. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 16 '16 at 18:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.