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Encryption was a method of coding information in a way intended to make it unreadable to anyone but the intended recipients.

Several species used encryption to protect their data and the access to it. The way encryption codes were created differ; some codes were easy to break or to circumvent and other codes were difficult or even impossible to break. The Qomar, a Delta Quadrant species, thought at first that Earth music was a form of encryption. (VOY: "Virtuoso")

Encryption was not only used to protect data, such as personal files, but also for communication protocols. The ops protocol on Deep Space 9 was protected by an encryption system. (DS9: "Battle Lines")

In Earth's 20th century, some databases were also protected by encryption codes. A 24th century Starfleet tricorder had no problem with breaking such a code. (VOY: "Future's End")

As encryption codes differ in complexity – a fractal-based encryption code could lock out the main computer of a Sovereign-class starship in such a way that even the Borg had trouble bypassing it – encrypting or decrypting such codes might take some time. (Star Trek: First Contact)

In the 24th century, encryption programs were used to bypass access protocols. (DS9: "The Quickening")

Although an encryption sequence could be broken by a computer a person could also connect themselves directly to a terminal by means of a dataport and so try to break the encryption. (DS9: "A Simple Investigation")

Known implementations


Xindi-Aquatic encryption protocols consisted of at least one encryption layer. (ENT: "Countdown")


A 22nd century Klingon encryption protocol had encryption layers which extended to the quantum level. (ENT: "Cold Station 12")


Elim Garak once said he invented the basic encryption codes for the Obsidian Order. (DS9: "Afterimage")

Most 24th century Cardassian encryption codes used a recursive encryption algorithm. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow") When created on some computer systems (such as the one on Deep Space 9), an encryption could only contain seven sequences. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")

Cardassian Prefects tended to encrypt their files. (DS9: "Battle Lines")


Romulans used a progressive encryption lock. This lock consisted of a 43-part cipher key and was used in their encryption entry sequence. Data could not break the 29th level of such an encryption code while Spock could. (TNG: "Unification I")


The Komar used at least six levels of encryption to prevent access to USS Voyager's holo-emitters in the hope of preventing the reactivation of The Doctor. (VOY: "Cathexis")

The Hierarchy

The Hierarchy could not break Voyager's encryption sequences used for their security protocol, and compromised The Doctor's holographic program instead. (VOY: "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy")


The Borg had their own encryption codes, by which they even could block Starfleet commands. (VOY: "The Raven", "Prey") Encryption code 294 was used to perform such a block. (VOY: "Bliss")


24th century Starfleet codes were made up of encryption algorithms. (TNG: "Preemptive Strike") Every encryption key had an implementation date, the time and date it was to be used. One encryption key on Voyager had a stardate of 48423, one month after they had left Deep Space 9. (VOY: "Maneuvers")

Starfleet also had emergency encryption codes. These were used for short messages in case of emergency. (VOY: "Deadlock")

An encryption circuit contained hardwired security codes. The processing of encryptions was done by encryption subprocessors. 24 isolinear chips with the number 58966/D made up the asymmetric encryption circuits of a Defiant-class starship. (DS9: "One Little Ship")

Starfleet encryptions even had a frequency. (VOY: "Renaissance Man")


In 2151, Trip Tucker discovered encrypted messages from the Vulcan combat cruiser Ti'Mur while working in engineering. He asked communications officer Hoshi Sato to decrypt the messages only to find personal letters adressed to T'Pol. (ENT: "Breaking the Ice")

Hoshi Sato remarked that breaking a Vulcan encryption code would be easier than finding out what Malcolm Reed's favorite food was. (ENT: "Silent Enemy")

See also

External link