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Text file Decryption....

Posted on 1998-11-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
As part of a test, I recived an Encrypted text file.  I do not know anything about the encryption engine, except that it is "Home Made".  My question is:  Does any one know of a freeware/shareware prgram, that can try to decrypt text files?
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Question by:hayton
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8 Comments
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:kretzschmar
ID: 1727758
hi hayton,

it depends on the encryption-typ. if you don't know the typ, then i think there is no change to decrypt the textfile, except you give it to a hacker.

meikl
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Expert Comment

by:dtavassoli
ID: 1727759
The encryption could be anything from a simple ROT13 (tried that ?) to a nice PGP-like algorithm (RSA).

I don't think any "ultimate decoders" are around, maybe home-made by the CIA or KGB...

You could always post the document to alt.2000 or similar (if you want to attract attention) or ask your colleague/friend a hint on the coding method.

FYI, in a lot of European countries, coding/decoding tech is still considered as a military weapon and is highly controlled.

D
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Tim Holman
ID: 1727760
Ask the encrypter !
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1727761
Wht do you mean "as part of a test"?  If I understand what you might be saying here, you are taking some class and part of an examination is to decrypt a message.  Right?  If so, I'd also assume that some part of the class is about encryptioin/decryption schemes.  Didn't you learn anything about the various encryption techniques and what methods exist for breaking them?  There are many methods depending on what you suspect the method used is and the content of the plaintext.  If you know nothing about this, I'd suggest a good place to start might be Bruce Schneier's book "Applied Cyptography".  It's an excellent indroduction to the subject and covers many of the most popular schemes in use.
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Author Comment

by:hayton
ID: 1727762
jhance, your answer was very technical.  However, my question pertained to locating software for decryption.  I am not in any classes or schooling.  I recived the file from a Programming fourm on the www.  It was something that cought my attention.  I was just looking for some decryption software that I could run it through.  Where might I find a PGP (prety good protection) decrypter?
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Accepted Solution

by:
schmox earned 20 total points
ID: 1727763
You can get PGP (international version) here: http://www.pgpi.com/download

However, you will not be able to decrypt a PGP-encrypted text, unless you have the appropriate private key! PGP is virtually uncrackable, so don't even think about it. It wouldn't be called "pretty good privacy" if you could crack it easily, would it? :-))

If your text is not PGP-encrypted, you need to know what it is. Note, there's a difference between "encoded" and "encrypted". If it's encoded, it would probably help if you'd post a couple of lines of the text, so I could have a look at it and determine the decoder you need.
If it's really encrypted (in the sense of key-encrypted) and "home made", forget it. There's no shareware in the world that would help you. There are "password crackers" for known encryption algorithms (like DES), which you can use to guess passwords, but for example trying all possible combinations of an 8 character password would take your PC years to calculate, not to mention other password lengths. And if you don't even know the encryption algorithm, a password cracker is of no use to you.

Cheers,
Schmox

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Author Comment

by:hayton
ID: 1727764
Thank you for the Insight schmox.  For Kicks and Giggles, here is a portion of the mystery text....

–ÌûC7°Òý(bD¼é6™Áó# )Ksö_WkßìYCË÷Jn”…ù P± ªÒ;€·ì õX›¬øûPž„-U;µß ñqšÌç"F*©Ï«%Qz´æB˜·ã#úz–Ôûê H°õbakßövŸÑìK/®Ô° V
¹ë=¼èõ
›Ù×E}¦Ï8UE¨àA©¾ö(R*§Óà`†x—<]N»é<{®Ë±&N3°Ø¾.d…È <eŸÛý-x®›º.V<´Ý!òeŠ½÷ÔSz£Æ¶2_‡©×üx¹éA'¦Åñ1      ˆ¤â
êm‚¿—Ff Òô$Jtg†ò5V=¶âBdJÀîX
WÖõ
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Expert Comment

by:schmox
ID: 1727765
Well, that text doesn't look like any standard encoding (like uuencoding or base64), so I assume it's encrypted and if you don't have the slightest hint about the algorithm used, there's no way to find out.
It could of course be a very simple XOR algorithm, which means every character is XORed with some other character, but it could as well be something completely different.

Cheer,
Schmox

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