The German Enigma Machine:

March 28 2012 at 9:25 PM
Hal  (Login tracer69)

This was the most secure encoding/decoding device ever devised, and its capture from German U-boats was the top priority among Allied military intelligence teams in WW2.

The machine's encoding method was unlike any other:

When a key was pressed, the letter would be encoded to another letter, but the next time the SAME key was pressed, the encoding would go to a DIFFERENT letter!

The machine's patchboard would further scramble the encoding, requiring Billions of key strokes to come up with the same letter!

In use, the cipher key would first be transmitted, enabling the U-boat captain or the Kriegsmarine officer to know how to set up the patchboard and the code wheel prior to sending a message.

This device hads no electronics whatever. It consisted of a battery, light bulbs for the alphanumeric characters, three code wheels, and a simple patchboard.

Allied code teams tried unsuccessfully for years to break the code, which was finally broken by Polish cryptographers, with the aid of a captured Enigma Machine.


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