Cryptography

Month: October 2018 Page 3 of 4

Here’s Problem Set #4. It’s due at the beginning of class on Monday, October 15th.

And you might find these Excel files useful for the first question.

Talking about Poland’s contribution to the Allies in World War II, apart from being on the battlefield, many guests mentioned that before the start of World War II, Poland laid the foundation for the final victory of the Allies. This is the Polish deciphering the German Enigma code. Pioneering work is done.

In 2014, with the release of the movie “Imitation Game”, the British mathematician Alan Turing, known as the “father of computer science”, began to receive public attention. The film mainly talked about Turing’s assistance to the Allies to decipher Enigma. The password, thus reversing the legendary experience of the Second World War. But because the film attributed Enigma’s deciphering to Turing, it also caused a lot of controversies.

As early as 1921, the Poles received a commercial Enigma cipher from the Germans, three outstanding graduates of the Poznan Institute of Mathematics, Marian Reyevsky, Gertz Rozki, and Henrik Zogarsky began to study its principles and tried to decipher.

Of course, the military Enigma cipher machine is more complicated than the commercial machine. The Polish wants to decipher it and must touch the actual machine. Fortunately, Hans Tillow Schmidt, who worked in the German Defense Password Office, handed the French intelligence agency a cryptographic machine manual and a button from September to October 1932. The instructions were set and the Frenchman handed it over to Poland.

At the end of 1932, the Poles had already derived the internal workings of the military Enigma cipher. Subsequently, the Polish company began to copy the Enigma cipher machine. At the end of 1938, the Poles also invented a cryptograph called Bombe, mechanized to simulate the encryption process, which is equivalent to the cooperation of six Enigma cipher machines. The “bombe” machine can find the key of the day within 2 hours, which can save hundreds of people’s manual work.

And for the German, the most significant mistake of them is that they even don’t know the machines and the ciphers were spread to the other countries, and the cipher the German used in WWll, were too similar to the cipher they used in the Wwl. This also provides many chances and helps to the Allies. And before the German-occupied the Polan, the Poles already give the Bombe machine to the British, this also helps Turing to further decipher the German cipher.

For your next bookmarking assignment, find and bookmark a resource on a code or cipher appropriate for the class podcast. Note that you cannot choose a code or cipher that has already been covered on One-Time Pod, nor can you bookmark a student essay from the Wonders & Marvels collection.

The goal here is to generate possible podcast topics, and identify useful resources for those topics. Be sure to select a resource that’s credible. Save your bookmark to our Diigo group, and tag it with “historicalCrypto” and at least two other useful tags.

Your bookmark is due by 9 a.m. on Friday, October 12th.

In preparation for your upcoming podcast assignment, I want you to listen to a few podcast episodes that deal with cryptography. Listen to at least three episodes from the lists below, including at least one episode from List A and at least one episode from List B.

List A:

List B:

For your blog post, select one of the podcast episodes above and respond to one or more of the following questions:

• What did you find most interesting about the episode?
• What did the podcast producer do to make the material interesting?
• What did the producer do to make technical aspects of the material accessible?
• Based on this episode, what ideas do you have for the podcast episode you will produce? (Consider both topic and format.)

Your blog post should be between 200 and 400 words and is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 10th.

In the novel The Code Book, Singh argues that German overconfidence in the strength of Enigma was a primary reason why the Germans did not win the war. According to the blog post, “Never Become Lazy and False Genius During War”, the author, Naiksj, suggests that the laziness of the Germans and the way that they never change routine caused them the war. I agree with the author’s argument. The Germans would usually begin the day with a weather report and many of their messages would contain similar phrases. This allowed the codebreakers to notice different patterns in the code.

I believe that the Allied powers succeeded because of the logic of the codebreakers. The Germans used the Enigma machine in the same ways every day, and the codebreakers were logical enough to realize this. Any random person would most likely not be able to notice the patterns in the encoded messages. It takes a level of intelligence to figure out what different patterns can represent. When we were first asked what trait is most important on Top Hat the first time I said creativity. I recently changed my answer to logic because after reading more of the book, I decided that logical reasoning has to be involved in codebreaking. Creativity and luck are both important attributes to codebreaking; however, without logic, those two traits cannot do much. I believe that there needs to be a foundation of logic for a code to be broken.

Never Become Lazy and False Genius During War

(http://derekbruff.org/blogs/fywscrypto/2017/10/09/factors-of-victory/)

In this post, the writer describes what he calls “factors of victory” which were the outside components that helped the Allies crack the Enigma cipher and ultimately win the war. In the post, he says that the original Polish work on Enigma that was eventually given to the British played a role in helping with the cryptanalysis. Although he does mention the Poles in the post, he doesn’t go into that much detail on them. In my opinion, I believe that the work from Biuro Szyfrow and Marian Sejewski played a big role in the war, and deserves much more credit than it seems to be given.

First off, it’s possible that without the work from produced at the Biuro Szyfrow, British intelligence would have never even created Bletchley Park, or at least it would have been delayed by a few year, which is long enough to turn the tides of the war. It’s very likely that the only reason British intelligence created Bletchley Park was because they had a head start. Had they not received any information from the Poles, they would be just as stuck as they had been for the thirteen years prior. They had practically given up, and the only reason the Poles even did anything was because they were threatened by the Germans. If it would have taken a major threat to push the British to crack the Enigma, they would have been years behind, and by then it would have been too late.

(http://derekbruff.org/blogs/fywscrypto/2017/10/08/an-interdisciplinary-approach/) (link to original blog post)

In his blog post titled “An Interdisciplinary Approach,” Browkm10 shows how the creativity of the minds in Bletchley park heavily contributed to the success of the team. We talked about in class how breaking a cipher involved a certain degree of logic, creativity, and skill. Browkm10 discusses how all the major players like Turing brought diverse expertise to the table. He talks about how there were chess champions, bridge builders, and machine experts all congregated together working on the same problem. He ultimately argues that it was the combination of creativity and logic that made the defeat of the German enigma possible.

I do think, however, that he/she left out an important aspect that had to take place for the enigma to be broken, which was luck. The cipher was only able to be solved because of a few key mistakes that were made by the Germans. They didn’t allow switchboards to have connections to adjacent letters, which lowers the total number of combinations by a huge amount. They also had rules about scambler placement that had the same effect. It was the logic and creativity that made breaking the enigma possible, but there were a good amount of mistakes made by the Germans as well that contributed to the Enigma’s demise. I think overall the blogger made some very good points, but I think that this nuance’s his/her argument.

In the blog post (http://derekbruff.org/blogs/fywscrypto/2017/10/08/the-allies-teamwork-against-the-germans-human-error/), the student proposed an interesting idea that the Allies’ teamwork and creativity outcome the German’s general traits of procedural and rigid. I voted for creativity in the class research on TopHat which asked what trait is more important for figuring out an encrypted message. Cryptography or figuring out encrypted messages should not be like repeating the dull routine of changing letters into encrypted ones. German’s procedure of obeying the rules is probably one of the factors besides their overconfidence that caused their failure in the war against the Allies.

Germans made mistakes when they used too much of repetitive words in their enciphered text. For example, they started every message with the same words to praise their leader. They also used the Enigma machine under some unsuitable circumstances. They even used the encrypting methods for the weather report. Doing this is completely unnecessary at all and is probably just a show-off of their skills. Too many resources are provided to the Allies to decipher the messages. Their compliance made them precise and loyal soldiers, but that’s their disadvantage in the war of ciphers.

In contrast to Germans’ rigidity, the Allies’ teamwork between countries improved their chance to succeed. They also have a born advantage of language. The usage of Navajo language in military encryption was ingenious and made the codes unbreakable. The Allies’ cryptographers can focus more on deciphering German messages rather than worrying about their own message security. Combing German’s disadvantage and the Allies’ advantage, even a machine strong as Enigma will fall.

In his blog post, the student argued that besides the overconfidence of the German, the strength of the Allies’ code itself contributed to the breaking of the Enigma code. I thought this was a very interesting viewpoint and never considered this before. The surprising usage of the Navajo language as military encryption proved to be unbreakable, thus allowing the Allies more time and resources allocated solely on cryptography.

The importance of resource usage and allocation is certainly important in the cryptography war. German’s sloppy and careless usage of the machine played a role in the Allies’ success. The machine workers made a few mistakes that wouldn’t have been made if they had a certain level of understanding on the working mechanisms behind the Enigma machine. For instance, by never repeating letters in the daily scrambler settings, they actually eliminated repetitions for the Allies’ cryptanalysists. On the other hand, Allies were especially protective of their codes, with only Navajo speakers controlling the content of the messages.

In addition, as the Allies had more time and resource available to focus on code-breaking, they were able to allocate the accurate resources. As they dealt with the Enigma machine, the former strategy of recruiting linguists was abandoned. They were able to focus their resources on scientists and mathematicians, and thus eventually beating the machine with another machine.

For your next blog assignment, read and comment on a blog post written by a student in a previous offering of this course, one that dealt with the following question:

There are many reasons Allied cryptanalysts (code breakers), such as those at Bletchley Park, were eventually victorious over German cryptographers (code makers). Singh argues that German overconfidence in the strength of Enigma was a primary reason. Identify at least one other reason, and make a case for as a significant reason for the Allied success. Consider both technical and social/cultural factors in the Allied and German crypto efforts.

Your response should be between 200 and 400 words, and it should expand upon, add nuance to, or debate assertions made in the original post. To find a post to respond to, I recommend you use the tags listed in the righthand column of the blog. Those are the most popular tags. You can also view all tags.

Leave your response as a comment on the original post. You’ll need to click through to the post itself to see the comment field. Be sure to login before leaving your comment.  Your comment is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 8th.

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