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Emiratis ex-banker builds "unbreakable.

Abu Dhabi An Emirati and former banker has created a secret code language he says is unbreakable.

Mohammad Gaith Bin Mahah Al Mazroui is challenging skilled coders, hackers and cryptographers to break the encryption of his cipher.

Al Mazroui said there might be only one known cipher to date that had proven to be unbreakable,.

This was called the one-time pad, where every letter was transposed to another letter located a random distance away. But Al Mazroui said his cipher, which he called Abu Dhabi Code, was based on a group of symbols he said he designed himself.

"Encryption takes a written document and scrambles it, making it an unreadable document," he said.

"This is called ciphertext and requires a ciphertext decoder to uncode it and return it back to a readable format." Encrypting, he said, might replace, for example, every letter (a) with (z) and replace the letter (e) with (x) every time it saw it. So if you were to look at the document it would be difficult to read but a reader could quickly recognise the pattern and replace the letters correctly.

In his cipher, Al Mazroui said every letter was replaced by a symbol that he designed, which he said did not belong to any language in the world. "I worked for a year-and-a-half till I could reach this international code serving English, Arabic and any other language," Al Mazroui said. "I made the symbols up, designed them myself making sure they don't belong to any language in the world. It's a totally a new secret language," he said.

Al Mazroui said anyone could create their own cipher, and the key length determined the strength of a cipher. Al Mazroui said many ciphers were a "64 bit" which was considered somewhat strong, but not excessively. The cipher which the internet used was a 128 bit, which was deemed very strong by industry standards, he said. Although it seemed even the strongest encryption could be broken by hackers using coder skills and software, Al Mazroui vowed his Abu Dhabi Code was unbreakable and could be the safest on offer for a host of different applications. "Experienced coders can use cryptanalysis known as brute force. This is a technique that attempts to decrypt a document by running through all the possible keys. But it would be almost impossible to decrypt any document encrypted using the Abu Dhabi cipher," Al Mazroui said.

Some famous unsolved codes

Kryptos: A sculpture at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia has baffled some for two decades. The sculpture contains four encrypted messages, of which only three have been solved. Kryptos was created and encoded by Washington DC sculptor Jim Sanborn with a system designed by the Chairman of the CIA's Cryptographic Centre.

The Zodiac Killer: This serial killer terrorised the bay area of San Francisco in the mid 1960s. He killed seven people (although he claimed to have killed 37), and taunted police by sending a series of coded letters to newspapers. Most of the codes were broken but one remains a mystery. The killer has never been caught.

Shugborough: An art history mystery in the form of a sequence of random letters at the bottom of a monument at Shugborough Hall in England. The inscription (O U O S V A V V) is underneath a reversed replica of a painting called the Shepherds of Arcadia by Nicholas Poussin.

The Beale ciphers: The Beale ciphers date back to an 1885 pamphlet which contained the location of buried treasure in the US state of Virginia. The story goes that a Thomas Jefferson Beale gave a box with three encrypted messages in it to an innkeeper in 1820. Attempts have been made to decode the ciphers over the years and it is now believed that the pamphlet may have been a hoax.


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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 12, 2010
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