The Fourier plane encryption algorithm is subjected to a known-plaintext attack. The simulated annealing heuristic algorithm is used to estimate the key, using a known plaintext-ciphertext pair, which decrypts the ciphertext with arbitrarily low error. The strength of the algorithm is tested by using this estimated key to decrypt a different ciphertext which was also encrypted using the same original key. We assume that the plaintext is amplitude-encoded real-valued image, and analyze only the mathematical algorithm rather than a real optical system that can be more secure. The Fourier plane encryption algorithm is found to be susceptible to a known-plaintext heuristic attack. (c) 2006 Optical Society of America.