Code & Cypher School workshop

Cryptology - hiding the meaning of information using a code or cypher

These days the security of data and information is very important and our Code & Cypher School will show you the basics of coding and encrypting data to make it safe from hackers.

Encryption and Code breaking

Encryption is the process of hiding the real meaning of a message by using a cypher so that only the person that knows the cypher used can read and understand the message.

Code breaking is the process used to try and crack the encrypted message to discover it’s real meaning when you do not know the cypher used to encrypt it.

Bletchley Park and World War 2

During World War 2 the British (through Bletchley Park), and their allies, were able to crack the top-secret German codes and cyphers used with Engima machines to encrypt military traffic. The Germans didn’t realise that we were reading their communications and using the intelligence obtained to turn the war in our favour.

GCHQ and the Cold War

Soon after World War 2 finished the Cold War started and this was to last 43 years,  in 1991. This wasn’t a war as we understand it, missiles weren’t exchanged. The Cold War was a political, economic and propoganda war between the United States and the USSR and their associated allies that started in 1947 and was waged right through to 1991.

Bletchley Park morphed in to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and it started to undertake covert signals intelligence gathering against the Soviet Union. this undoubtedly helped the Americans and their allies stay one step ahead of the Russians.

Many of the staff employed at GCHQ were interceptors obtaining the intelligence, but there were also significant numbers of code breakers and language specialists employed to crack the cyphers used and translate the decoded messages in to English.

Modern Code & Cypher cracking

These days GCHQ is still involved in cracking codes and cyphers, but these days the main targets are terrorist organisations and hackers looking to extort money from businesses and members of the public.

Code & Cypher School workshop

In this workshop you will be introduced to encryption techniques using simple cyphers. As a “World War II spy”, you will be tasked with encrypting highly secret messages that will help the allies to win the war. You will also receive encrypted messages which you will have to decrypt to reveal the important messages needed to defeat the axis powers.

Why not visit our Enigma Machine workshop to build a working model of this famous encryption machine using just a Pringles tin.