Extending Ciphey

The biggest change in Orwell is the revamped interface. It is now very simple to add your own cipher, checker, decoding or even search algorithm!

All of these interfaces (and more) can be found in the ciphey/iface directory, which you should definitely refer to as you go!

Ciphey uses camelCase for abstract method names, so it is more easy to spot them in your (and our!) code.

Registering your module

Ciphey has a singleton Registry object that keeps track of all of the modules. After getting your code imported with -m (or by integrating it into the source), your class must use one of the following decorators:

@ciphey.iface.registry.register examines the decorated class to determine what interface it uses, and then registers it:

from ciphey.iface import registry, Cracker

class DesBruteForce(Cracker[bytes]):

This covers pretty much every use case, but there may exist a case where the class can accept multiple different types, such as for some ResourceLoaders. In this case, you should use @ciphey.iface.registry.register_multi:

from ciphey.iface import registry, Decoder

@registry.register_multi((str, str), (bytes, bytes))
class Reverse(Decoder):

@registry.register_multi(str, bytes)
class EveryNthSymbol(Cracker):

Note how the type parameters are not given to the interface name; these are filled in by the decorator

If you are generating your own classes, or somehow the decorators do not cover what you need, you can manually call the decorators as functions. See ciphey/basemods/Decoders/bases.py for an example of this.

Base classes

These provide various attributes of the module you wish to add:


The ConfigurableModule interface forms the basis of all modules, and has two abstract methods (methods that must be implemented in any derived class)

First, you must have an __init__(self, config: Config) method, which is how your object will be constructed. You must also invoke the base class’s constructor with super().__init__(config) inside your override.

Secondly, you must implement getParams() -> Optional[Dict[str, ParamSpec]]. This method should return None if there are no parameters, and a dictionary with elements param_name: param_spec. This parameter specification object has a large range of fields, which can be found in the source code.


The Targeted interface only has one abstract static method: getTarget() -> str. This should return the name of the cipher/encoding this module attacks, so that users can gather all of the modules for a specific target.


The checker is a simple interface used to determine whether a given result is the sought-after plaintext. There exists a simple regex checker, and a brandon natural language checker, but it is perfectly possible that these do not fulfill your needs. It has two abstract methods:

check(self, text: T) -> Optional[str] should check to see if text is the solution. It should then return a str containing information about how it worked out it was the solution (or an empty string if this isn't possible), or ``None if it wasn’t the solution.

getExpectedRuntime() -> float should be used to give a rough idea about how many seconds this should take to run. If you don’t know, a value of 1 is absolutely fine.


This interface is what you likely came here for, it represents a system for cracking ciphers. This has 2 abstract methods:

getInfo(self, ctext: T) -> CrackInfo is a more refined form of the priority method of Decoder. It should make an accurate assessment of how likely it is that it will crack the code (including the likelihood that this is even the cipher that has been used), as well as the time taken if it succeeds or fails. Do not spend too long calculating this, but a greater accuracy will allow the Searcher to be more efficient.

attemptCrack(self, ctext: T) -> List[CrackResult] actually performs the cracking. It should return an empty list on failure, or a list of potential ciphertexts (please not too many!), with keys and other information if it is appropriate. The CrackResult class is also located in iface.py, and is pretty self-explanatory.


The decoder represents the undoing of some encoding, and is the only module capable of translating between data types. As such, it has two type parameters. The first (T) is the source type, and the last (U) is the destination type. It has two abstract methods:

decode(self, ctext: T) -> Optional[U] does pretty much what you expect. It attempts to decode some data ctext, returning None on failure. Be aware that most of the data passed to this function will not be of your decoding, so it is worth optimising towards recognising false candidates rather than towards decoding correctly passed data.

priority() -> float is an static method that should return a very rough estimate of the liklihood that this encoding will turn up. Base64 and Base16 have this set to 0.4, whereas Morse has this set to 0.05. Use that as a rough guide.


This is a rather odd interface, and sits rather awkwardly with the rest of Ciphey. Resource loaders are responsible for loading distributions and wordlists (and potentially other data) from some source, be it from the filesystem, the Internet, or even dynamically generated. Before adding your own, check if the Json, Csv or CipheyDists resource loaders fit your needs already.

The first abstract method is whatResources(self), which should return a list of the names of resources that can be provided by this module, or None if this list cannot easily be obtained.

The esecond is getResource(self, name: str) -> T, which should return the named resource. Bear in mind that this function may be called with something that was not returned from whatResources, and should handle it with some form of exception where appropriate.


This is the heart of Ciphey, and is what sets it above similar tools. It must intelligently work out how to crack the ciphertext using the modules found in the registry. It took us more than a month to come to AuSearch, which is the default Searcher, and it still isn’t perfect ;). In fact, we are planning on replacing it with an A* search when we can work out how.

As such, implementing one of these is a significant undertaking, and a successful implementation is definitely worth a pull request!

For such a complex module, it has a very simple interface: a single abstract method search(self, ctext: Any) -> SearchResult, which should accept the ciphertext, and output the plaintext, with some information on how it got there.