Event Title

Enigma: What Made The Cipher So Difficult to Break

Location

Old Dominion University, Learning Commons at Perry Library, Room 1307

Start Date

8-4-2017 3:20 PM

End Date

8-4-2017 3:40 PM

Description

The German Enigma machine was the most widely used mechanical field cipher during World War II, and one of the most famous historical ciphers. The Enigma combined various configurations that consisted of rotors, ring settings, reflectors, and plugboard connections. Combined, the theoretical number of potential initial configurations of the machine was astronomical, each resulting in a unique way in which the machine disguised messages. In this presentation, we will describe the components of the Enigma machine and how combinatorics can be used to determine the total number of theoretical configurations. This description will lead into a brief discussion of the challenges presented to the Alan Turing and Allied codebreaking effort at Bletchley Park in cryptanalyzing and breaking this cipher. In the description process, a computer simulator of the Enigma will be given.

Presentation Type

Presentation

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Apr 8th, 3:20 PM Apr 8th, 3:40 PM

Enigma: What Made The Cipher So Difficult to Break

Old Dominion University, Learning Commons at Perry Library, Room 1307

The German Enigma machine was the most widely used mechanical field cipher during World War II, and one of the most famous historical ciphers. The Enigma combined various configurations that consisted of rotors, ring settings, reflectors, and plugboard connections. Combined, the theoretical number of potential initial configurations of the machine was astronomical, each resulting in a unique way in which the machine disguised messages. In this presentation, we will describe the components of the Enigma machine and how combinatorics can be used to determine the total number of theoretical configurations. This description will lead into a brief discussion of the challenges presented to the Alan Turing and Allied codebreaking effort at Bletchley Park in cryptanalyzing and breaking this cipher. In the description process, a computer simulator of the Enigma will be given.