**Tags:** alphabet shift caesar caesar_shift crypto cipher history substitution rotated

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# julius-ancient-script - DCTF 2021

One of the easier crypto challenges of DCTF 2021 was "Julius' ancient script",

where we are given the ciphertext `rq7t{7vH_rFH_vI6_pHH1_qI67}` and the prompt

> I found this Ancient Roman papyrus. Could you decypher it for me?

which together with the name of the challenge very obviously demonstrates that

this is a Caesar cipher. The remaining information needed to decrypt this

ciphertext is the cipher's shift and the alphabet.

## Finding the shift

Since the flag starts with `dctf{` the cipher's shift is `+14` because

`d` has byte value 100 and `r` has byte value 114.

## Finding the alphabet

Simply using the classical alphabet (`a-z`) with the shift gives

`dc7f{7hT_dRT_hU6_bTT1_cU67}` which is not correct.

It is immediately apparent that the alphabet includes the digits

(`0-9`) so we can use the alphabet with both ranges concatenated

(`a-z0-9`). Note that the order of concatenation (`a-z0-9` or `0-9a-z`) does not matter

because the alphabet is circular and the shift is actually a rotation,

and in both cases `0` is immediately after `z` and `a` is immediately after `9`.

Using this alphabet gives the flag

```

dctf{th3_d13_h4s_b33n_c4st}

```

which is "The die has been cast" ("Alea iacta est"), a famous saying by

Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon River

against the Senate of Rome, which matches the background information we were given

and the title of the challenge.

Original writeup (https://github.com/wnfldchen/ctf/blob/main/dctf21/julius-ancient-script.md).