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Still Trying to Crack Nazi Enigma Messages


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Enigma machine

The Enigma machine

Enigma@home is attempting to break one of three original messages generated by the Enigma machine, which was intercepted by the Allies in 1942. The Enigma M4 machine is believed to have been used by Germany to encipher the signals during World War II.

German-born violinist and encryption enthusiast Stefan Krah spearheaded the launch of the M4 Project in January 2006, and the first two messages were broken in a couple of months. Krah worked on the challenge messages of Simon Singh's Cipher Challenge after the actual challenge was over and improved the algorithm so that real world messages could be broken. The algorithm was refined further with the help of a publication by Geoff Sullivan and Frode Weierud.

The M4 Project is relying on computer users to donate their spare PC processing power for the cause. "The three messages that are the target of the M4 Project were interesting for three main reasons: They were unbroken, published in a serious journal, and encrypted by the M4 Enigma model," says Krah. "This model has the largest key space of all and breaking these messages pretty much requires a distributed computing project."

From Network World
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