Summary: This paper addresses the cryptanalysis of a secure communication scheme proposed by X.-J. Wu
[Chaos 16, No. 4, 043118, 12 p. (2006; Zbl 1151.94586
)], where the information signal is modulated into a system parameter of a unified chaotic system. It is demonstrated that a parameter observer can be designed to identify the parameter determined by the transmitted information and then the transmitted information can be obtained. Compared with the existing analysis using adaptive observer, the cryptanalysis based on parameter observer is much simpler and needs less structure information of the transmitter system. With numerical simulations, it is shown that the parameter observer has stronger practicality and robustness. Furthermore, it is still possible to obtain the transmitted information, even if the derivative of the transmitted signal is unknown.