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Monoalphabetic Cipher and Inverse Written in Python

introduction and background

A monoalphabetic cipher uses fixed substitution over the entire message.

You can build a monoalphabetic cipher using a Python dictionary, like so:

monoalpha_cipher = {
    'a': 'm',
    'b': 'n',
    'c': 'b',
    'd': 'v',
    'e': 'c',
    'f': 'x',
    'g': 'z',
    'h': 'a',
    'i': 's',
    'j': 'd',
    'k': 'f',
    'l': 'g',
    'm': 'h',
    'n': 'j',
    'o': 'k',
    'p': 'l',
    'q': 'p',
    'r': 'o',
    's': 'i',
    't': 'u',
    'u': 'y',
    'v': 't',
    'w': 'r',
    'x': 'e',
    'y': 'w',
    'z': 'q',
    ' ': ' ',

We can create an inverse of this cipher dictionary by switching the key and value places:

inverse_monoalpha_cipher = {}
for key, value in monoalpha_cipher.iteritems():
    inverse_monoalpha_cipher[value] = key

Now that we have both the cipher and the inverse_cipher, we may encrypt a message.

Encryption example:

message = "This is an easy problem"
encrypted_message = []
for letter in message:
    encrypted_message.append(monoalpha_cipher.get(letter, letter))

Tasi si mj cmiw lokngch

Using the inverse_cipher, We may decrypt a message.

Decryption example:

encrypted_message = "rmij'u uamu xyj?"
decrypted_message = []
for letter in encrypted_message:
     decrypted_message.append( inverse_monoalpha_cipher.get(letter, letter))

print(''.join( decrypted_message ))
wasn't that fun?


Here is a toy library I wrote to make the process repeatable -


from string import letters, digits
from random import shuffle

def random_monoalpha_cipher(pool=None):
    """Generate a Monoalphabetic Cipher"""
    if pool is None:
        pool = letters + digits
    original_pool = list(pool)
    shuffled_pool = list(pool)
    return dict(zip(original_pool, shuffled_pool))

def inverse_monoalpha_cipher(monoalpha_cipher):
    """Given a Monoalphabetic Cipher (dictionary) return the inverse."""
    inverse_monoalpha = {}
    for key, value in monoalpha_cipher.iteritems():
        inverse_monoalpha[value] = key
    return inverse_monoalpha

def encrypt_with_monoalpha(message, monoalpha_cipher):
    encrypted_message = []
    for letter in message:
        encrypted_message.append(monoalpha_cipher.get(letter, letter))
    return ''.join(encrypted_message)

def decrypt_with_monoalpha(encrypted_message, monoalpha_cipher):
    return encrypt_with_monoalpha(

monoalphabetic_cipher.py example usage

Here I show how to use the library:

>>> # load the module / library as 'mc'.
>>> import monoalphabetic_cipher as mc

>>> # generate a random cipher (only if needed).
>>> cipher = mc.random_monoalpha_cipher()

>>> # output the cipher (store if for safe keeping).
>>> print(cipher)

>>> # encrypt a message with the cipher.
>>> mc.encrypt_with_monoalpha('Hello all you hackers out there!', cipher)

>>> # decrypt a message with the cipher.
>>> mc.decrypt_with_monoalpha('sXGGt SGG Nt0 HSrLXFC t0U UHXFX!', cipher)
'Hello all you hackers out there!'

© Russell Ballestrini.