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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Decoding Nazi Secrets - How the Enigma Works



Possibly the most well-known of all cipher machines is the German Enigma. It became the workhorse of the German military services, used to encrypt tens of thousands of tactical messages throughout World War II. The number of mathematical permutations for every keystroke is astronomical. However, the Enigma is not famous for its outstanding security, but rather for its insecurities. Allied forces were able to read most of the Enigma encrypted messages throughout most of the war as a result of the tireless effort of many Allied cryptologists.

The Enigma machine, first patented in 1919, was after various improvements adopted by the German Navy in 1926, the Army in 1928, and the Air Force in 1935.

It was also used by the Abwehr, the Sicherheitsdienst, the railways, and other government departments.

From then until 1939, and indeed throughout the war, successive refinements were introduced, varying from service to service, and there were detailed changes in operating procedure until 1945....

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