Tools to decode/encode Rail Fence, a cipher using zig-zag writing, automatic decryption with brute-force mode.
Rail Fence (Zig-Zag) Cipher - dCode
Tag(s) : Transposition Cipher
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The Rail Fence cipher (also called zigzag) is a transposition cipher consisting in writing a text in zig-zag and reading it in a straight line.
Rail Fence Encryption uses an integer for the number of levels of the zigzag.
The encoded message is written in zig-zag (like a rail fence/sawtooth) along a path with N levels/floors.
Example: Encrypt DCODEZIGZAG with N=3 is writing
The cipher message is read by rows.
Example: The encrypted message is DEZCDZGAOIG
RailFence decryption requires knowing the number of levels N.
Example: Decrypt the message DEZCDZGAOIG with N=3
Write the expected zigzag form and complete it by lines, before reading as zig zag
Example: The original plain text is DCODEZIGZAG.
A message encoded by Rail-Fence has an index of coincidence equal to that of the language of the original text.
Frequency analysis reveals usual occurrences of common letters similar to a plain text.
All references to zig-zag, sawtooth, up and down, path/track/route, etc. are clues.
Anything in the shape of bumps can also be a clue: camel, speed bump, etc.
The word rail can be the target of puns about trains, railroads, railway, cocaine/coke, etc.
Rail Fence can be cracked by testing all levels from 2 to N. Use the Brute-force attack button.
There are several variations:
— The fence may begin with a peak or a hollow (up or down).
--C-- (↘↗ hollow)
A---E (↗↘ peak)
— The first letter is not necessarily the base of the peak or hollow, the zig zag can start in the middle (equivalent to add spaces at the beginning)
--B--- (One shift)
— It is possible to allow spaces and punctuation, which shifts the characters.
If the value of the number of levels is greater than or equal to the size of the text, then the text undergoes no encryption (no change).
None, Rail Fence is the original word, ZigZag is the mnemonic term.
Rail-Fence is a basic transposition, no date or creator is recognized.
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Cite as source (bibliography):
Rail Fence (Zig-Zag) Cipher on dCode.fr [online website], retrieved on 2023-05-31,