Edinburgh Napier Team Wins University Cipher Cracking Award


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In the shadow of the great John Napier and with Alan Turing’s work being showcased, a cipher cracking team from Edinburgh Napier University has won the 2015 University Cipher Challenge, beating off finalists which included Royal Holloway (University of London), Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Teeside and Bristol. See Storify for images etc.

Edinburgh Napier University has been a finalist in each year of the competition, and managed to crack more codes this year than any other university, while creating an innovative cipher.

The team will receive their award on 13 March 2015 at a grand event in London, attended by many computer security leaders in the UK.

Cipher Cracking Challenge

The competition is open to every university in the UK, and involves university teams creating cipher codes, which the other universities try and crack. The assessment team includes security experts from GCHQ.

The team was led by Prof Bill Buchanan, from the School of Computing, and included a number of students who managed to directly crack the ciphers:

Along with other students providing support. 

Showcasing Excellence

The award continues to showcase the lead that the university has in the area of Cyber Security, including being one of the first four universities to have full GCHQ certification for their MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics.  

The other finalists where RHUL (Royal Holloway), Teesside, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bristol and Sunderland.

Prof Bill Buchanan says: "We are all so proud of our amazing students, and that we have some of the best students around, especially as it confirms our leadership for our GCHQ-certified MSc. I have personally never seen such dedication of students, and in them have such fun in working together to solve complex puzzles."

Edinubrgh Napier's Cipher

Here are some of ENU’s solutions:


The team also managed to partially crack most of the other ciphers too.

If you are interested … here’s ENU cipher:


And related video: http://youtu.be/5SCirDE8Nkw

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Associated people

Peter Aaby
Research student
+44 131 455
Charley Celice
+44 131 455
William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759
Richard Macfarlane
+44 131 455 2335
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