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GCHQ launches new code-making app

News article - 12 Dec 2014
Cryptoy is a fun, free, educational app about cryptography, designed by GCHQ for use by secondary school students and their teachers.
The app enables users to understand basic encryption techniques, learn about their history and then have a go at creating their own encoded messages. These can then be shared with friends via social media or more traditional means and the recipients can use the app to try to decipher the messages.
Cryptoy is mainly directed at Key Stage 4 students but can be used by anyone with an interest in learning about or teaching cryptography.
The app was designed by students on an industrial year placement at GCHQ. It was created as part of a project to demonstrate encryption techniques at the Cheltenham Science Festival and has since been used at several other outreach events. The app was a hit and GCHQ received interest from teachers who wanted to use it as a teaching aid, therefore it was decided to make it publicly available.
Cryptoy promo graphic
Cryptoy in use showing Enigma options

Who we are

GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation, working to keep Britain safe and secure in the challenging environment of modern communications.


What we do

UK citizens today conduct much of their lives over the internet, as do the Government, the Armed Services, Law Enforcement and industry.

For the UK to be safe and successful, the cyber connections and infrastructure we use need to be safe and secure. GCHQ plays a major role in making that a reality using our expertise and experience.

Image of a hand making a stop sign

How we work

GCHQ strives to ensure that life in the UK isn't compromised through cyber attack or on-line serious crime, employing some of the world's leading experts on Information Security.

Everything we do is governed by law, and overseen by the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers.


Latest news


GCHQ recreates wartime code-breaking environment for students in the Cyber Games 3.0.
GCHQ donates 125 bags of underwear, food, toiletries and sleeping bags to a local charity for the homeless.
GCHQ's award winning innovation culture is examined by InfoQ magazine in "Mission-critical: a case study of GCHQ’s culture of innovation".
Minister for Cabinet Office Francis Maude announces initiative to improve UK's security skills for the next generation.
The Prime Minister announced today a new specialist unit at the #WeProtectChildren Global Summit in London.
Second call for applications has been extended to Master's degrees in Digital Forensics.

Press Releases

CESG, the Information Security arm of GCHQ, in partnership with APM Group, has today launched the CESG Certified Training (CCT) scheme to assure high quality cyber security training in the UK.

Support to Military Operations​

Today, one of GCHQ's main tasks is to help protect the UK Military wherever they are deployed. This is not a new remit; it is in fact the whole reason GCHQ was formed in the first place.
The need to help protect the Military and arm them with the knowledge to keep them one step ahead proved to be the catalyst needed to develop Signals Intelligence at the start of World War One.
A lot has changed since 1914. The way the world communicates today is vastly different, but some things remain constant.
GCHQ is still committed to supporting the Military.

Our journey


GCHQ has been on a long and fascinating journey from the earliest days of the UK's Signals Intelligence effort at the beginning of World War I to the challenging technologies of today.

Director GCHQ, Robert Hannigan

Director GCHQ writes an opinion piece for the Financial Times

News article - 04 Nov 2014
In his first public statement, the new Director GCHQ Robert Hannigan discusses terrorist use of the Internet and how the security and intelligence agencies need greater support from technology companies to tackle this challenge.
A hand using a touchscreen device

Today's technology

GCHQ depends heavily on its use of technology to succeed in its vital intelligence and security mission.

As the digital world changes increasingly rapidly, it demands a furious pace of innovation in our technical systems.