Resources and Reflections

Learn definitions of common cybersecurity terms.

The following definitions are from Terminology Beginner Cheat Sheet for Cryptography Definitions, in Jason Fagone's The Woman Who Smashed Codes: a True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies (Dey Street Books, Harper, 2018).

A fixed relationship between one set of symbols or ideas and another.

A rule for altering the letters in a message. Usually it involves a one-to-one exchange: one letter gets replaced with one other letter, or a digit

You can think of codes and ciphers as different sorts of locks that protect words, like a padlock protects money in a safe

A catchall term for a string of garbled text, solution unknown. It can be generated by a code or a cipher.

The security professionals who make the locks and keys.

The thieves who try to pick the locks without having the keys.

The broad science of codes and ciphers-making them, breaking them, studying them, [and] writing about them.

Our interns reflect on their research

Alexandra Schrader-Dobris


"...women & specifically women of color contributed to code-breaking even in its earliest stages."~ Alexandra Schrader-Dobris, Lead research intern
Read Alexandra's reflection

Julie Stout


"It's important that others truly understand the impact these women have had, both on the field & in benefiting our country." ~ Julie Stout, research intern


Explore Cybersecurity HERstory

Get a small taste of twentieth century cryptography.

Try Solving a Cryptogram

Find definitions, a bibliography, and our interns' reflections.

Resources & Reflections