If you don't know Greek (and not many of us do) the above letters could be a form of code themselves!

Although the distinction is fuzzy, ciphers are different from codes.

Substitution ciphers replace letters in the plaintext with other letters or symbols, keeping the order in which the symbols fall the same.

Transposition ciphers keep all of the original letters intact, but mix up their order.

The resulting text of either enciphering method is called the ciphertext.

Of course, you can use both methods, one after the other, to further confuse an unintended receiver as well.

You rotate the outside ring and substitute the letters in your message found on the outside ring with the letters directly below on the inside ring (see diagram).

Here, the algorithm is to offset the alphabet and the key is the number of characters to offset it.

After all, you wouldn't want your competitor to know that you were about to acquire their company with a leveraged buy-out.

The study of enciphering and encoding (on the sending end), and deciphering and decoding (on the receiving end) is called cryptography from the Greek κρυπτός (kryptos), or hidden and γράφειν (graphia), or writing.

Julius Caesar used this simple scheme, offsetting by 3 characters (He would have put the "A" on the outer ring of letters over the "D" on the inner ring if he had owned a Captain Midnight decoder ring.) The word "EXPLORATORIUM" thus becomes "HASORUDWRULXP." Such a scheme was easily broken and showed a certain level of naivete on Caesar's part concerning the enemy's intelligence.

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