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Inside the Red Machine: Movie Explores WWII Espionage & Codebreaking
Posted: 04 August 2010 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Puzzle fans and history buffs alike know of German cryptography during World War II and the Allies

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Posted: 04 August 2010 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yeah, the Enigma devices were pretty nifty. They *could* be broken by raw brute force methods, but it wasn’t until a few actually fell into Allied hands that things really got underway.

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Posted: 04 August 2010 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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And if they (the ENIGMA’s) had been used properly, the code could never have been broken. (not in several lifetimes, anyway.)  The reason it did finally get broken is that operators didn’t want to go to all of the trouble to change the settings. (A rather intricate and drawn out process that had to be done by ALL of the ENIGMA operators in the same way at the same time…)

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Posted: 04 August 2010 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yeah, that’s like one really nice encryption system I used for a while.  It was for sending reports from out in the field back to base headquarters.  The base’s communications officer not only refused to change the settings ever, but also totally over-used it.  He required every communication to be encrypted with it, and the more you use an encryption the more likely it is to be broken.  What’s worse, he was requiring us to send in weather reports several times a day, as well as word-for-word copies of local newspaper articles.

Big surprise:  our encryption was broken.

That got the communications officer a “lateral promotion” to some place far away, and we then started using the broken cypher for messages that we wanted to be read with a sneaky hidden cypher in each message that held the real message.  So we were able to make it work out in the end.  Though it would have been better to just have never had to go through the whole mess in the first place. . .

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Posted: 04 August 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yep. The main problem with transmitting human-based information, using humans, is that humans are lazy creatures of habit, and will do things that are.. well.. human.

A good example: A security firm was hired to test the security at a major corporation. There would be a file, located in the secure database, which they had to access. So they left a couple of flash drives laying around the area. Invariably, *someone* picked one up, and popped it into the computer (which was logged in) to see what was on it… Yeah.

I saw a PBS special on the Enigma machines, and how they were cracked, etc. Turns out a lot of the brute-force calculations and whatall were done by young women, to the point that the german commanders handed down an order that certain naughty four-letter words were NOT to be used as the code indexes, as they knew there were young women working the codesand that would be improper!

As for codes, try this one on for size:

It’s from the game Kingdom of Loathing (which I play). It was created by the devs to test just how freakishly smart their playerbase is, as well as how fast it would take the information to propagate through the game. The reward is a familiar that was awesomely powerful, but decreased in mojo with every new person who had one…

Acci: I’d have been tempted to include references to ‘Terminator robots’ and ‘orbital lasers’, as well as mentioning that certain enemy units had turned, and were providing information…

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1: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If it does what it says, you should have no problem with this.
2: What proof will you accept that you are wrong? You ask us to change our mind, but we cannot change yours?
3: It is not our responsability to disprove your claims, but rather your responsability to prove them.
4. Personal testamonials are not proof.

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