December 15, 2009
The affine-shift cipher is simple but cryptographically weak. It works by mapping the twenty-six letters of the alphabet onto the integers 0 through 25, then applying the function (ax + b) mod 26 to each character in turn, finally mapping back from integers to letters. The key is formed by the numbers a and b. Decryption is the inverse operation, a-1(x − b) mod 26, where a-1 is the modular inverse of a modulo m; this means that a and m must be coprime. For instance, the plain-text PROGRAMMINGPRAXIS is enciphered with a=5 and b=8 as FPAMPIQQWVMFPITWU, and deciphered with 21 as the modular inverse.
Your task is to write functions to encipher and decipher messages using the affine-shift cipher. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.
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