E-Learning Program for Cryptology
Developer(s) Bernhard Esslinger,
– University of Darmstadt
– University of Duisburg-Essen
– University of Kassel / Applied Information Security
– University of Siegen
Initial release 1998 (1998)
Stable release
CT 1.4.30 (August 4, 2010)
CT 2.0 (August 20, 2014)
Preview release
CT 1.4.31 Beta 6b (October 2013)
JCT 1.0 RC8 (October 2016)
Operating system CT1 and CT2: Microsoft Windows,
JCT: Win, Linux and MacOS
Type Cryptology, Encryption, Privacy, E-Learning
License Apache Licence 2.0

CrypTool is an open source e-learning tool illustrating cryptographic and cryptanalytic concepts.

CrypTool implements more than 300 algorithms.[1] Users can adjust these with own parameters. The graphical interface, online documentation, analytic tools and algorithms of CrypTool introduce users to the field of cryptography. Classical ciphers are available alongside asymmetric cryptography including RSA, elliptic curve cryptography, digital signatures, homomorphic encryption, and Diffie–Hellman key exchange, many of which are visualized by animations.

CrypTool also contains some didactical games, and an animated tutorial about primes and elementary number theory.

Development, history and roadmap

The development of CrypTool started in 1998. Originally developed by German companies and universities, it is an open source project since 2001. More than sixty people worldwide contribute regularly to the project. Contributions as software plugins came e.g. from universities or schools in the following towns: Belgrad, Berlin, Bochum, Brisbane, Darmstadt, Dubai, Duisburg-Essen, Eindhoven, Hagenberg, Jena, Kassel, Klagenfurth, Koblenz, London, Madrid, Mannheim, San Jose, Siegen, Utrecht, Warsaw.[2]

Currently 4 versions of CrypTool are maintained and developed. The CrypTool 1 (CT1) software is available in 6 languages (English, German, Polish, Spanish, Serbian, and Greek). A project for a French version was begun end of 2013. CrypTool 2 (CT2), JCrypTool (JCT) and CrypTool-Online (CTO) are available in English and German.[3]

The goal of the CrypTool project is to make users aware of how cryptography can help against network security threats and to explain the underlying concepts of cryptology.[4]

The current release version of CT1, CrypTool 1.4.30, was published in August 2010. It is written in C++ and designed for the Microsoft Windows operating system. A port of CrypTool 1 to Linux with Qt4 was started, but currently there is no progress.[5]

In 2007, development began on two additional projects, both based on a pure-plugin architecture, to serve as successors to the original CrypTool program. Both successors regularly publish new stable betas:

uses the concept of visual programming to clarify cryptographic processes. Currently CT2 contains more than 100 crypto functions.
runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, and offers both a document-centric and a function-centric perspective. Currently JCT contains more than 100 crypto functions.


CrypTool has received several international awards as an educational program, such as the TeleTrusT Special Award 2004, EISA 2004, IT Security Award NRW 2004,[10] and Selected Landmark in the Land of Ideas 2008 award.[11]


CrypTool is used in schools, universities,[12] companies and agencies for education and awareness training.[13]

Worldwide, the CrypTool 1.x package is downloaded more than 6000 times per month from the CrypTool website. Just over 50% of the downloads are for the English version.


The CrypTool project also includes the websites CrypTool-Online[14] and CrypTool Mobile.[15] These websites allow users to try cryptographic methods directly within a browser on a PC or a smartphone (using JavaScript), without the need to download and install software. These two sites aim to present the topic in an easy and attractive way for new users and young people.[16] Advanced tasks still require the offline versions of CrypTool.

MysteryTwister C3 (MTC3)

In 2010, the international cipher contest MTC3 started as part of the CrypTool project.[17] The contest currently offers more than 200 challenges derived from old and modern ciphers and designed by more than 30 different authors from different countries. All challenges are presented in PDF templates in English and German. The challenges are clustered in four levels of difficulty, which range from simple riddles solvable with paper-and-pencil to mathematical challenges from modern cryptanalysis for researchers and experts. Additionally, a moderated forum, user statistics and a hall-of-fame are available. Currently, more than 7000 registered users are engaged in solving these challenges.

See also


  1. Algorithms: Functions in different CrypTool versions Within a table all functions implemented are listed. This list can be adjusted using categories, search phrases and by specifying the CT versions.
  2. Presentation given at workshop in Norway lists the contributors on page 7
  3. CrypTool 1 download page
  4. CrypTool webpage: CrypTool for Awareness.
  5. CrypTooLinux project, porting CT1 to Linux.
  6. CrypTool 2.0: Developer site of the CT2 project Besides release and beta versions, each day a so called "Nightly Build" is produced for download.
  7. CrypTool 2.0: Facebook Site of the CT2 project
  8. JCrypTool 1.0: GitHub project of JCT Beta versions are updated each weekend as so called "Weekly Builds" for download.
  9. JCrypTool 1.0: Site of the JCT project
  10. Verleihung des »IT-Sicherheitspreis NRW 2004« (German)
  11. Germany. Land of Ideas: Ort des Tages: CrypTool, Siegen (German)
  12. Adamovic, Sasa; Sarac, Marko; Veinovic, Mladen; Milosavljevic, Milan; Jevremovic, Aleksandar (2014). "An Interactive and Collaborative Approach to Teaching Cryptology". Educational Technology & Society. 17 (1): 197–205. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  13. Overview presentation given 2013 at Finse
  14. CrypTool-Online
  15. CrypTool Mobile
  16. "The CrypTool project – The best way, to learn and apply cryptography" – Article in Hackin9 by Arkadius Litwinczuk, March 2011, page 10-14 (PDF 6.1 MB)
  17. International Cipher Contest "MysteryTwister C3" (MTC3)

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