Historical codes

Codes have quite a historical significance, especially in relation to military and government practices. These code systems were of utmost importance because if these messages where intercepted and easily translated it could have disastrous consequences.

There are many famous examples of code systems that have been used at different points throughout history. The Ceaser shift and the enigma machine are two examples of code systems that were invented to encrypt military messages. There are even examples of codes which still to this day have not been deciphered due to their unique styles or lack of living ancestors with the ability to translate the code, examples of codes like this include the Vonyich manuscript and the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians. There are even modern day codes created intentionally to test the skills of code breakers all over the world with agencies such as the CIA creating almost unbreakable codes for their agents to crack such as the Kyrptos in the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

This wide selection of codes could easily be turned into a history assignment for students in a middle to upper primary class. Students could be asked to research one of these significant codes throughout history. They could then present any findings they have and discuss the significance of the code in that time period. This would easily be relatable back to cyber security and awareness because it could show the importance of encrypting messages you don’t want unknown parties getting their hands on.

(Image – Kryptos, CIA Headquarters, Langley.)


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