In Simon Singh’s The Code Book, he states “Cryptanalysis could not be invented until a civilization has reached a sufficiently sophisticated level of scholarship.”  If such a sophisticated level of scholarship was needed to invent cryptanalysis, and cryptanalysts were considered to be of ‘higher’ scholarship, why are amateurs capable of decoding ciphers themselves?

Is the world becoming more intelligent? That I do not know.  But it is obvious that knowledge is spreading and learning is occurring more vigorously throughout the world than in the past.  As children grow, they are expected to conquer challenges using the mind, not their fists, and grow mentally as they progress through the education system.  They are expected to continue their path of learning to higher degrees in high school and college, and expand on their critical thinking abilities.  Therefore, society’s expectations have furthered amateur cryptanalysts ability to decode messages.

Frequency analysis is a very complex approach to cracking a code.  Yet our minds are capable of applying frequency analysis subconsciously when the opportunity presents itself.  For example, in the word game, Hangman, our mind subconsciously guesses letters that are frequently seen in words (vowels, specific consonants).  Ultimately, people can only apply “on their own” approaches if they have been exposed to higher levels of critical thinking.  Education and the accessibility of knowledge provide the world with these abilities to critically think and solve problems. Amateur cryptanalysts, though untrained, can accredit their code breaking skills to the education they’ve received from such an early age.