In the history of cryptography, the Nihilist cipher is a manually operated symmetric encryption cipher originally used by Russian Nihilists in the 1880s to organize terrorism against the tsarist regime. The term is sometimes extended to several improved algorithms used much later for communication by the First Chief Directorate with its spies.
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“It is not an arbitrary decree of God, but in the nature of man, that a veil shuts down on the facts of to-morrow; for the soul will not have us read any other cipher than that of cause and effect. By this veil, which curtains events, it instructs the children of men to live in to-day.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)