As kids, we had our own secret codes and words that we used to communicate when outsiders were around. That was a basic from of cryptography. Computer users today have sophisticated tools at their disposal to encrypt messages, so that only they and designated recipients can understand those messages.
Scambled Egg is an Open Source cryptography program for Windows and Linux that offers an easy way to decrypt and encrypt messages.
When you start the program for the first time after installation you will notice that the interface is divided into two panes; The Encrypt Mode on the left and the Decrypt Mode on the right.
The left pane displays the original message, the right the encrypted message. To encrypt text paste textual information into the left pane or add it manually. The editor supports rich text, it will for instance retain different font sizes or types.
Various encryption algorithms and codecs are selectable at the top. You can keep the default selection which uses AES and Base64 Codec, or change it to other algorithms like Blowfish or DES3. It is furthermore possible and suggested to add a password which is then needed to decrypt the message.
The decrypt mode pane displays the encrypted information. You can copy and paste the information directly into text documents, emails or message boards on the Internet, or use the Export button at the bottom to add obfuscation to the protection.
Obfuscation? When you select Export, you get the option to save the encrypted message as a png image. An attacker would have to identify the right image before attempting to decrypt the message.
The image is an actual image, which means that you can post it on the Internet or send it as an image attachment via email.
Received messages can be decrypted in the application. If the message is inside an image, you need to import that image. If it is a message, you need to paste that message into the application, select the correct algorithms and the password.
If that's all correct you get to see the message on the left pane. You need to make sure to add the password to the Decrypt Mode pane before you import encrypted images or messages. You'd otherwise get an error, and adding the password afterwards has no effect on the process anymore.
The developer has posted two example images on the project website. One is a 28 Kilobyte png image that contains the excellent Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery.
The encryption software Scambled Egg is available for download at Google Code.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.