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Archive for May, 2011

RGB Cipher

Like my first haiku,
It came to me in a dream.
I saw its colors.

(Note: This will only make sense if you know a thing or two about ciphers. For the rest of you, I’m afraid this won’t be very interesting.)

Last night I had a dream that I was trying to break a cipher. But this was no ordinary cipher: instead of using numbers, it used colors. Ciphers were suddenly even more beautiful than they had been before.

When I woke up, I was dismayed to realize that it is mathematically impossible for an encryption algorithm to use colors. Nonetheless, I was infatuated with the idea.

What would it mean to have a colorful cipher? I realized that the rounds could be colored. There are three core rounds (red, green and blue) that each represent a different operation. For instance, the red round could be a data rotation, and the green round could be a substitution-box permutation.

The encryption would move through a six-round cycle as the algorithm flows through the color wheel: red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta. Each secondary color represents the combination of two primary colors: yellow is a red round plus a green round, cyan is a green round plus a blue round, and similarly for magenta. Then there are the black and white rounds. The black round is no operation (maybe just adding the key to the text) and the white round is all operations. These eight colors could be arranged to paint a picture—the world’s first cryptographically-secure picture.

How exactly these colors would be arranged to create a secure algorithm, I do not know. All I know is that this is what I saw in my dream, and it was beautiful.

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Categories: Cryptography, Math