# Affine cipher easy question

I have this lecture slide. I am hoping someone can take me through line by line of how it works, because I cannot understand the a to the power of -1 part.

So far I have

Key(3,5).
EncLetter((3,5), 7) = 3 * 7 + 5 mod 26 = 0
DecLetter((3,5),0) = ???? * (0-5) mod 26 = ???


I need to calculate an inverse or something, but I have no idea.

From the comments it appears that I am very wrong. If someone could please provide a step by step instruction with how to calculate this I would be eternally grateful. • It's the multiplicative inverse. It's right there in the slide, $a^{-1}$ is the number such that $a^{-1}a \equiv 1 \bmod{26}$. – Morgan Rodgers Jul 31 '19 at 0:23
• Mind giving me a line with numbers, sorry I am just awful at maths. – plagiarism Jul 31 '19 at 0:24
• $3^{-1} = 9$, since $3\cdot 9 = 27 \equiv 1 \bmod{26}$. – Morgan Rodgers Jul 31 '19 at 0:26
• Why is 3 to the power of -1 = 9? How do I plug this into the decrypt line to end up with 7 (the number I encrypted at beginning)? – plagiarism Jul 31 '19 at 0:27
• $3^{-1} = 9$ because $3 \cdot 9 \equiv 1 \bmod{26}$. That's how it is defined. You plug the 9 in where $a^{-1}$ goes (where you have the ????), since $a=3$. You should look up some details about modular arithmetic, otherwise you won't have much chance of learning anything about cryptography. – Morgan Rodgers Jul 31 '19 at 0:28

So your encryption function for a letter $$m$$ is $$3m + 5 \pmod{26}$$, and indeed $$E(7) = 26 \equiv 0$$.

To go back we have to subtract $$5$$ first and we get $$-5 \equiv 21 \pmod{26}$$ and then we have to "divide by $$3$$", which just means, by definition really, to multiply by the inverse of $$3$$ modulo $$26$$ and this inverse of $$3$$ is $$9$$ as $$3 \times 9 = 27 \equiv 1 \pmod{26}$$

And $$21 \times 9 = 189 \equiv 7 \pmod{26}$$ as $$189 = 7\times 26+7$$, or alternatively $$-5 \times 9 = -45 \equiv -45 + 52 = 7 \pmod{26}$$.

In any case, we get back the $$7$$, as we should.

So decryption in a formula:

$$D(c) = 9(c-5) \pmod{26}$$

or using that $$-45 \equiv 7$$, as we saw,

$$D(c) = 9c + 7 \pmod{26}$$

and note that it is of the same form as the encryption formula.