GCHQ has released its Cryptoy tool as a free Android app.
Originally designed by GCHQ for use by secondary school students and their teachers to learn about encryption, Cryptoy enables users to understand basic encryption techniques, learn about their history and create their own encoded messages. These can then be shared with friends via social media or more traditional means and the recipients can use the app to try to decipher the messages.
An Android app is available from today, a version for iOS will follow in the new year. Speaking at an event in London this morning, Caroline Waterfield from GCHQ said that she was “really pleased and excited to launch GCHQ’s first ever app”. She said that its success is based on three areas: design by industrial placement students during a GCHQ science festival; the demonstration of four famous ciphers which allows the user to encrypt text while understanding the workings of code; and as an educational tool.
One of the developers, now a full time employee at GCHQ, “Rob” said that it was great to participate in technologies and support local schools and universities and encourage them to work with the public.
“Cryptoy was one of them and was built using the Android development kit,” he said. “It provided valuable experience to everyone in the team, allowed users to create and share encrypted messages and decide how much to share with the recipient. It was originally designed for internal exhibits and was used by thousands of school children. Following positive feedback, it can now be used by anyone with an Android tablet. We hope it inspires the next generation in ciphers, code and cyber.”
Launching the app at the third anniversary of the UK Cyber Security Strategy, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude MP said, “Famously, the Government recruited winners of a Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword competition to work at Bletchley Park. Today, I’m pleased to announce a similarly creative solution in the hunt for expertise, but with a 21st century spin.”