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Hill Cipher

Tool to decrypt/encrypt with Hill cipher, a ciphering system similar to affine cipher but using a coefficient matrix instead of 2 affine coefficients (gradient).

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Hill Cipher -

Tag(s) : Poly-Alphabetic Cipher

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Hill Cipher

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Hill Decoder





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See also: Affine Cipher

Hill Encoder




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See also: Affine Cipher

Matrix Inversion

Tool to decrypt/encrypt with Hill cipher, a ciphering system similar to affine cipher but using a coefficient matrix instead of 2 affine coefficients (gradient).

Answers to Questions

How to encrypt using Hill cipher?

Hill cipher encryption uses an alphabet and a square matrix $ M $ of size $ n $ made up of integers numbers and called encryption matrix.

Example: Encrypt the plain text DCODE with the latin alphabet ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ and the matrix $ M $ (size $ 2 $): $$ M = \begin{pmatrix} 2 & 3 \\ 5 & 7 \end{pmatrix} $$

Split the text into $ n $-grams. Complete any final incomplete ngrams with random letters if necessary.

Example: The matrix $ M $ is a 2x2 matrix, DCODE, split in 2-grams, becomes DC,OD,EZ (Z letter has been added to complete the last bigram)

Substitute the letters of the plain message by a value: their rank in the alphabet starting from $ 0 $.

Example: The alphabet ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ leads to A=0,B=1,...,Z=25.
Groups of letters DC, OD, EZ become the groups of values (3,2), (14,3), (4,25)

It is possible (but not recommended) to use ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY in order to get A=1,B=2,...Y=25,Z=0.

For each group of values $ P $ of the plain text (mathematically equivalent to a vector of size $ n $), compute the multiplication">matrix product: $$ M.P \equiv C \mod 26 $$ where $ C $ is the calculated vector (a group) of ciphered values and $ 26 $ the alphabet length.

Example: $$ \begin{pmatrix} 2 & 3 \\ 5 & 7 \end{pmatrix} \begin{pmatrix} 3 \\ 2 \end{pmatrix} \equiv \begin{pmatrix} 12 \\ 3 \end{pmatrix} \mod 26 $$

From cipher values $ C $, retrieve cipher letters of the same rank in the alphabet.

Example: $ 12 $ is equal to M and $ 3 $ is equal to D.
And so on, DCODEZ is encrypted MDLNFN.

How to decrypt Hill cipher?

Hill cipher decryption needs the matrix and the alphabet used. Decryption involves matrix computations such as matrix inversion, and arithmetic calculations such as modular inverse.

To decrypt hill ciphertext, compute the matrix inverse modulo 26 (where 26 is the alphabet length), requiring the matrix to be invertible.

Example: Using the example matrix, compute the inverse matrix (modulo 26) : $$ \begin{pmatrix} 2 & 3 \\ 5 & 7 \end{pmatrix}^{-1} \equiv \begin{pmatrix} -7 & 3 \\ 5 & -2 \end{pmatrix} \equiv \begin{pmatrix} 19 & 3 \\ 5 & 24 \end{pmatrix} \mod 26 $$

Decryption consists in encrypting the ciphertext with the inverse matrix.

Note that not all matrices can be adapted to hill cipher. The determinant of the matrix has to be coprime with 26. For a 2x2 matrix, the 4 numbers $ \{ a,b,c,d \} $ must satisfy the condition that $ ad-bc $ is coprime with 26.

How to recognize Hill ciphertext?

The ciphered message has a small index of coincidence and similar ngrams can be coded using the same letters.

Any reference to an actual hill or mountain is a clue.

How to decipher Hill without matrix?

dCode proposes to bruteforce test around 6000 combinations of 2x2 matrices (with digits between 1 and 9) and alphabets.

What are the variants of the Hill cipher?

Hill is already a variant of Affine cipher. Few variants, except the use of large size matrices.

When Hill cipher have been invented?

In 1929 by Lester S. Hill

Source code

dCode retains ownership of the online 'Hill Cipher' tool source code. Except explicit open source licence (indicated CC / Creative Commons / free), any algorithm, applet or snippet (converter, solver, encryption / decryption, encoding / decoding, ciphering / deciphering, translator), or any function (convert, solve, decrypt / encrypt, decipher / cipher, decode / encode, translate) written in any informatic language (PHP, Java, C#, Python, Javascript, Matlab, etc.) no data, script or API access will be for free, same for Hill Cipher download for offline use on PC, tablet, iPhone or Android !

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Thanks to your feedback and relevant comments, dCode has developped the best Hill Cipher tool, so feel free to write! Thank you !


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