Imprisoned for 18 years in England, Mary Queen of Scots welcomed the idea for a plan to escape the prison cell. However, as the plan was developed through writing, the use of an encryption system, even if it was weak, provided Queen Mary and Babington with a sense of security that prompted them to outlines all plans within these letters. This feeling of falsely assumed security not only put them at risk of their letters being deciphered easily, but also indicated through the use of an encryption system that the letters contained covert information.

As the courier or double agent encountered these encrypted messages it caused them to be immediately examined in order to determine its contents. To England’s advantage, the use of the weak encryption enabled the letter’s message to be exposed, and also granted the ability to be tampered with so Walsingham, one of England’s ministers, could acquire sufficient evidence to prosecute both Queen Mary and Babington with concrete details of their involvement.

Had the letters not been encrypted, not as much information regarding the plan would have been revealed leaving the English without unwavering evidence which could have prevented Queen Mary’s death sentence. The weak encryption was the underlying reason for Queen Mary’s death sentence.

The trial of Queen Mary served to illustrate that ignorance of one’s surroundings and trust is deadly. If coded information needs to be transported between two parties, steganography is not enough. A mixture of both steganography and a complex cipher must be utilized. The hiding of the letters adds one level of security but in the case of Queen Mary and the potential presence of a double agent, a complex cipher, not a nomenclature, should be utilized to ensure letters found cannot be interpreted by the unintended reader.

In conclusion, those who need to keep their communication a secret must prepare for the worst scenario. However, even the most remote hiding location or complex cipher cannot ensure complete secrecy. As a result, those who participate in cryptography must always recognize the risk of being exposed.