Enigma Machine Essay, Research Paper
The German Light Cruiser Magdaboard ran around the Baltic sea, the
Russians that were in that area captured the ship and found in it the German
Navy Secret code book. The British used it to decode German Navel messages,
so that they would know what the German s were going to do next.
When the war was over the British told the world that they had found the
Germans code book, which made the Germans realize that code books were not
a good way of getting such important messages around. So they decided that
they needed a code machine.
In Berlin man made an encoding machine available on the market, named
the Enigma Variations. You press a letter on the keyboard and a different letter is
typed. Each time you press that letter the letter that comes out changes. It has
so many approximately 3(10114) different variations.
The Polish had the insight that the codes could be deciphered by
mathematicians. Bartramp photographed the keys to break Enigma s codes, and
sold them to the Polish. The Germans later added two more roters, and they
found out that they needed help, so they brought a bunch of really smart people
together to see if any of them could find a way to break the codes.
One man found a way to build a machine that would take the encoded
message and come up with every possible out come for it. And all they would
need to do is look through them and find out the one that makes sense. All the
mathematicians couldn t break it, and this was the only way that they found that
was possible! “The work of Enigma required enormous concentration and at least eighty
intercepts collected on the same day, using the same setting on the German
cipher devices” [Kozaczuk]. This machine looks alot like a typewriter, but it has
an extra panel built into the lid. Twenty-six circular glass windows in the panel,
were the keys which had the letters of the alphabet on them, just like the
keyboard. On the inside of the panel under the glass buttons there was a
identical number of glowlamps. Inside of the machine was a set of rotors, also
known as rotating drums, and a “reversing drum” that were all mounted on the
same axle. A complex system of wiring included this axle, i guess you coluld say
that it was one of it s main parts. This machine was powered by a battery or an
electrical outlet which passed through a small transformer, so that the power
wasn t to great.
The operator of the machine presses a key, and the ENIGMA machine
produces its substitution, then a lightbulb under one of the letters turns on. The
person then copies down the letter associated with the lightbulb and the next
letter of the message is “typed.” The process is repeated until all leters in the
input message have been typed. The way this can happen is because of the
rotors. For example if you press the letter A it may give out the letter C, then if
you press the letter A again it may give you the letter T, and so on.
The rotor is simply a letter-substitution piece built into the machine. On
one side of the rotor there are 26 contacts representing the 26 letters of the
alphabet, and those 26 contacts are wired to 26 different contacts on the other
side of the rotor. If the lamps are connected to the 26 contacts on the other side
of the rotor, that positioning would be a performance of a simple mapping cipher.
However, instead of the lamps, the rotor’s output connectors are connected to
another rotor. The second rotor provides a second mapping. Then, that rotor is
connected to yet a third rotor, providing three levels of substitution. In some
cases there are even more than just three rotors, there can be five, ten, or even
Each of the rotors has a notch on it that causes the next rotor in the series
to move by one position whenever the notch passes by the indicated letter. The
effect of this rotation is that after each letter is encrypted, an entirely new letter
map is used to map the next letter. Each letter in the output message has its own
map associated with it, and because the rotors are moved with each letter, the
letter mapping depends on not only the letter value, but its position in the
message as well. This combination makes the ENIGMA Machine much stronger
than other cipher machines.
The one weakness of the ENIGMA Machine was that the rotors were fixed
and there wern t very many of them. Once the allies had stolen a couple of
ENIGMA machines and had a full set of rotors, cracking the code became a
matter of trying different combinations of the available rotors until the correct
ones were found. However, the ENIGMA’s good, brilliant design was the basis of
the strongest encryption available for many years after the war ended.