Mission Six: Code Words
Codes and ciphers are both used in cryptography. While ciphers are a set of instructions for changing one set of symbols into another (like converting letters into numbers, for example), codes work by using words that normally mean one thing to mean another.
Codes are relatively simple to use. As long as both sender and recipient know the meaning of the codewords, they can communicate easily. This generally requires the use of a codebook, which must be kept hidden, in which all the codewords are listed.
Use the code words in the codebook to figure out which of the three meanings provided is the correct interpretation of the message below.
Remember, when trying to decode a coded message, WHERE and HOW the words are used within the message can be just as important as WHAT words are being used. This is known as context, and it lets spies send complex messages without needing a specific codeword for everything they are trying to say!
Coded Message: Red Riding Hood has lost her basket. Visit the woodcutter’s camp, bring biscuits. Wait for the woodcutter and his two friends, they have an axe. Foxglove.
Axe = Help
Banana Bread = Osprey
Basket = Information, Supplies
Big Bad Wolf = Enemy Operative/Agent
Biscuits = Raven
Bluebell = Be careful
Bring = Password is
Candy = Crow
Chocolate = Eagle
Coat = Cover, Identity
Daffodil = Flee immediately
Donuts = Condor
Ears are Keen = Our communications are being monitored
Eyes are wide = looking for you
Foxglove = Proceed quickly
Gingerbread = Falcon
Grandma = Central Command
Grandma’s House = Safehouse
Muffins = Buzzard
Porridge = Vulture
Raisins = Hawk
Red Riding Hood = Operative, You
Shoes = Transport/Vehicle
Snowdrop = Go to ground, Remain hidden
Teeth are sharp = Actively pursuing
Wolf’s Lair = Enemy Base
Woodcutter = Friendly Operative/Agent
Woodcutter’s Camp = Meeting Point
Woods = Hostile/Enemy held territory
Pathway = Public areas
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Can be used to securely communicate sensitive information even over non-secure channels
- Single words can be used to represent complex instructions or messages
- Complicated code systems require the use of a code book
- Security of the code is entirely dependent on the security of the code book. If the code book is captured, the code becomes useless