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In classical cryptography, the numerical chiper which combines the Polybius square with transposition, and uses fractionation to achieve diffusion. It was invented around 1904 by Albus VolgerTemplate:Citation needed.

Operation Edit

First, a mixed alphabet Polybius square is drawn up :

  1 2 3 4 5
1 A B C D E
2 F G H I J
3 K L M N O
4 P Q R S T
5 U V W X Y

The message is converted to its coordinates in the usual manner, but they are written vertically beneath :

F L E E A T O N C E
2 3 1 1 1 4 3 3 1 1
1 2 5 5 1 5 5 4 3 5

They are then read out horizontally in rows:

2 3 1 1 1 4 3 3 1 1 1 2 5 5 1 5 5 4 3 5

Then divided up into pairs, and the pairs turned back into letters using the square :

23 11 14 33 11 12 55 15 54 35
H  A  D  M  A  B  Y  E  X  O

In this way, each ciphertext character depends on two plaintext characters, so the numerical is a digraphic cipher, like the Bifid cipher. To decrypt, the procedure is simply reversed.

Longer messages are first broken up into blocks of fixed length, called the period. Each block is then encrypted separately. Odd periods are slightly more secure than even periods.