In Neal Stephenson's novel Cryptonomicon, the character Enoch Root describes a cryptosystem code-named "Pontifex" to another character named Randy Waterhouse, and later reveals that the steps of the algorithm are intended to be carried out using a deck of playing cards. These two characters go on to exchange several encrypted messages using this system. The system is called "Solitaire" (in the novel, "Pontifex" is a code name intended to temporarily conceal the fact that it employs a deck of cards) and I designed it to allow field agents to communicate securely without having to rely on electronics or having to carry incriminating tools. An agent might be in a situation where he just does not have access to a computer, or may be prosecuted if he has tools for secret communication. But a deck of cards...what harm is that?. Solitaire is strong even if the enemy knows you are using it, and a simple deck of playing cards is still much less incriminating than a software encryption program running on your laptop, but the algorithm is no substitute for street smarts.. Solitaire (cipher) However, as Schneier warns in the appendix of Cryptonomicon, just about everyone with an interest in cryptanalysis will know about this algorithm. Additionally, it was found to have a significant bias towards repeating characters (1/22.5 rather than 1/26), so it is considered insecure..