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What is Cryptanalysis? Types of Cryptanalysis Attacks

What is Cryptanalysis? Types of Cryptanalysis Attacks

Before we get into the details of Cryptanalysis, it’s better to understand the term cipher. Ciphers also termed Encryption Algorithms are systems that are used to encrypt or decrypt data. Cipher converts the original text popularly known as Plaintext, into cipher text using the key to determine how it is done and processed.

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What is Cryptanalysis?

Cryptanalysis is a field of study that involves decrypting and analyzing encrypted text and messages without the use of a key. It is a combination of practice and exercise.

It is based on the supposition that experts in the fields of arithmetic, physics, and cryptanalysis are ignorant of the procedure and are missing the key required for encryption and decryption.

It is also a way to check the communication’s plain text content when you don’t have access to the decryption key.

What is Cryptology?

Cryptology is the mathematics that underpins cryptography and cryptanalysis, such as number theory and formula and algorithm application. Because the principles of cryptanalysis are highly specialized and advanced, this talk will concentrate on some of the essential mathematical concepts underlying cryptography, as well as recent applications.

Data must be transformed in such a way that an unauthorized individual cannot understand its real meaning in order to be secure for storage or transfer. To do this, security systems and software use mathematical equations that are extremely difficult to solve unless certain conditions are met. The difficulty of solving a specific equation is known as its intractability. These equations form the foundation of cryptology.

Who are cryptanalysts?

Codes are deciphered by cryptanalysts. The term “cryptanalysis” is derived from the Greek words kryptós (meaning “hidden”) and analein (meaning “analysis”) (meaning “to analyze”). As a cryptanalyst, you are in charge of decoding or decrypting data to understand hidden signals, even if you do not have the encryption key.

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Roles and Responsibilities of a Cryptanalyst

Roles and Responsibilities of a Cryptanalyst

As a cryptanalyst, you will investigate ciphers, codes, and encryption systems in order to understand how they work and gain access to data that would otherwise be hard to read.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The particular responsibilities you will have as a cryptanalyst will vary depending on the company and organization for which you work.

The following are some real-world cryptanalyst positions and responsibilities:

  • Data collection, processing, and analysis
  • Investigate jumbled intercepts
  • Use encrypted materials
  • Debug software applications
  • Discover weaknesses in cryptography algorithms.
  • Make new tools for cryptanalysis.
  • Create tactics for taking advantage of computer network weaknesses.

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How does Cryptanalysis work?

While the goal of cryptanalysis is to uncover flaws in or otherwise circumvent cryptographic algorithms, cryptographers use the research of cryptanalysts to strengthen, replace, or otherwise advance subpar methods.

Cryptography, which focuses on creating and enhancing encryption cyphers and other techniques, and cryptanalysis, which focuses on deciphering encrypted data, are both included under the term “cryptology,” which is defined as the mathematical study of codes, cyphers, and related algorithms.

Researchers may develop attack strategies that entirely defeat an encryption technique, enabling the decryption of ciphertext encrypted with that algorithm without the need for the encryption key. Often, the results of cryptanalysis reveal flaws in the method’s conception or execution, reducing the number of keys that must be attempted on the target ciphertext.

Who uses Cryptanalysis?

  • A wide variety of organizations use cryptanalysis, including governments looking to decrypt the private communications of other nations, businesses creating security products testing the security features, hackers, crackers, independent researchers, and academics looking for vulnerabilities in cryptographic protocols and algorithms.
  • The advancement of the field of cryptology is driven by the ongoing struggle between cryptographers working to protect data and cryptanalysts working to crack cryptosystems.

What is a Cryptanalytic attack?

To determine a cryptographic system’s weak points, it must be attacked. They are known as cryptanalytic assaults. The attacks are dependent on the algorithm’s nature as well as knowledge of the general qualities of the plaintext, which can be a traditional English document or Java code. As a result, the nature of the plaintext should be known before attempting to use the attacks.

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Cryptanalysis techniques and attacks

Cryptanalysis techniques and attacks

Attacks using a man-in-the-middle (MITM)

This technique includes the attacker intercepting the message or key sent by two parties via a secure channel.


Similar to CPA, ACPA (Adaptive Chosen-Plaintext Analysis) is an attack. The attacker requests ciphertexts for further plaintexts after obtaining ciphertexts for certain messages.

Known-Plaintext Analysis (KPA)

In this kind of attack, some plaintext-ciphertext combinations have been known in the past. The attacker maps them in order to discover the encryption key. The availability of a wealth of information makes this assault simple to execute.

Chosen-Plaintext Analysis (CPA)

The attacker gathers the ciphertexts and makes an attempt to decipher the message by choosing random plaintexts. Although it is just as simple to put into practise as KPA, its success rate is substantially lower.

In a ciphertext-only analysis (COA)

The attacker tries to decrypt the plaintext and encryption key using just the ciphertext that is available to them. It is the most difficult to implement, but because it only needs ciphertext, it is also the most attackable.

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Difference between Cryptography and Cryptanalysis

Cryptography is used to disguise information, particularly via an unprotected route or transmission method. Most messages, including bank interactions and email correspondence, are now sent via the internet.

As a result, message security is essential. This technique converts a plaintext (message to be conveyed) message to a ciphertext using encryption techniques. Decryption is the process of converting plaintext to ciphertext.

Cryptanalysis is a method of converting ciphertext to plaintext. An unauthorized individual attempts to decode the communication by listening in on the unsecured connection. It is also known as code-breaking. This person is not bound by any rules. He may obtain it in any manner.


In a nutshell, that is what cryptanalysis is. It functions more like a tool than a direct assault. However, it qualifies as an attack if it initiates and facilitates an attack. Up until the payload—the decryption of your secrets—the cryptanalyst learns a little bit more knowledge at each game level. Once the attacker has your secrets, they have access to a whole new range of potential assaults and vulnerabilities.

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About the Author

Technical Lead - AWS Solutions Architect

Shivanshu is a Technical Lead and AWS Solutions Architect passionate about utilizing Cloud technology to empower businesses. Proficient in AWS, Terraform, and GCP, he crafts innovative solutions to propel companies forward. As an enthusiastic writer, he shares his expertise to inspire others in this field.