The development of CrypTool started in 1998. Originally developed by German companies and universities, it is an open-source project since 2001. More than sixty people worldwide contribute regularly to the project. Contributions as software plugins came from universities or schools in the following towns: Belgrad, Berlin, Bochum, Brisbane, Darmstadt, Dubai, Duisburg-Essen, Eindhoven, Hagenberg, Jena, Kassel, Klagenfurth, Koblenz, London, Madrid, Mannheim, San Jose, Siegen, Utrecht, Warsaw.
Currently 4 versions of CrypTool are maintained and developed: The CrypTool 1 (CT1) software is available in 6 languages (English, German, Polish, Spanish, Serbian, and French). CrypTool 2 (CT2) is available in 3 languages (English, German, Russian). All others, JCrypTool (JCT) and CrypTool-Online (CTO), are available only in English and German.
The goal of the CrypTool project is to make users aware of how cryptography can help against network security threats and to explain the underlying concepts of cryptology.
CrypTool 1 (CT1) is written in C++ and designed for the Microsoft Windows operating system. A port of CT1 to Linux with Qt4 was started, but there is no progress anymore.
In 2007, development began on two additional projects, both based on a pure-plugin architecture, to serve as successors to the original CrypTool program. Both successors regularly publish new stable versions:
CrypTool 2 (built with C#/.NET/WPF) (abbreviated CT2)
uses the concept of visual programming to clarify cryptographic processes. Currently, CT2 contains more than 150 crypto functions.
JCrypTool 1.0 (built with Java/Eclipse/RCP/SWT) (abbreviated JCT)
runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, and offers both a document-centric and a function-centric perspective. Currently, JCT contains more than 100 crypto functions. One of its focal points are modern digital signatures (like Merkle trees and SPHINCS).
CrypTool has received several international awards as an educational program, such as the TeleTrusT Special Award 2004, EISA 2004, IT Security Award NRW 2004, and Selected Landmark in the Land of Ideas 2008 award.
CrypTool is used in schools, universities, companies and agencies for education and awareness training.
Worldwide, the CrypTool packages are downloaded more than 10,000 times per month from the CrypTool website. Just over 50% of the downloads are for the English version.
CrypTool-Online (abbreviated CTO)
This site aims to present the topic in an easy and attractive way for new users and young people. Advanced tasks still require the offline versions of CrypTool.
MysteryTwister C3 (MTC3)
In 2010, the international cipher contest MTC3 started as part of the CrypTool project.
The contest currently offers more than 200 challenges derived from old and modern ciphers and designed by more than 30 different authors from different countries. All challenges are presented in PDF templates in English and German. The challenges are clustered in four levels of difficulty, which range from simple riddles solvable with paper-and-pencil to mathematical challenges from modern cryptanalysis for researchers and experts. Additionally, a moderated forum, user statistics, and a hall-of-fame are available. Currently, more than 8000 registered users are engaged in solving these challenges.