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Cryptanalysis consists of the steps and operations performed in converting encrypted messages into plain text without initial knowledge of the key employed in the encryption.[1]

Elementary examples of cryptanalysis are presented in two famous short stories, Edgar Allen Poe's The Gold Bug and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Dancing Men." In each of these stories, a fictional detective solves a simple substitution cipher and explains to the reader how he does it.