What is Codebreaking?

Codebreaking is the process of deciphering a secret message or system. It can be used in many fields, including intelligence gathering and cybersecurity. It involves analyzing patterns, symbols, and algorithms.

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Codebreakers come from a variety of different backgrounds, but they all share certain characteristics. They are often outsiders and eccentrics with an uncanny ability t흥신소 o find patterns.

History

The code breakers at Bletchley Park deciphered the Enigma machine — a series of electromechanical devices that scrambled plaintext messages into doubly encrypted ones — and their meticulous work was instrumental in ending World War II. The secret coded communications of the Nazi regime, which had envisioned itself as the pinnacle of human civilisation, were shattered by the relentless efforts of Bletchley’s cryptographers.

In classic understatement, Friedman observed: “There was much excitement at this first glimmer of light upon a subject which had for so many months been shrouded in complete darkness and regarded occasionally with some discouragement.” But there was more to come. The cryptanalysts at GCHQ (which Friedman had recently moved to from the more prestigious Riverbank Laboratories) were also developing the United States’ most advanced cipher machine of the war, known as the Purple or, in army nomenclature, its pithier name, SIGABA.

The Purple was so complicated that, unlike the simpler Enigma, it could not be broken just by trying different shifts on each of its rotors. But with a bit of luck, and the assistance of some very clever engineering – including some lessons learned from the way in which male fireflies flash their thorax in search for females — Friedman and his team cracked it. Having done so, they knew what to look for in the messages sent by the enemy and were able to spot even the most minute changes.

Frequency analysis

Frequency analysis is an important part of the process of deciphering a cipher. It involves determining how often each letter appears in both the original plaintext and the ciphertext. This information can then be used to break the cipher. Frequency analysis is a key part of the Vigenere cipher hack and is the basis for other techniques such as the alphabetical frequency attack and the frequency array attack.

The basic idea behind frequency analysis is that certain letters and combinations of letters appear with characteristic frequencies in essentially all texts written in a particular language. For example, in English, E is the most common 흥신소 letter, followed by T and A. Other letters, such as X, are rare. If a ciphertext contains a lot of E’s, for instance, this may indicate one possible pair in the substitution mapping.

This technique works for every type of monoalphabetic substitution cipher and can be employed in any language. However, it is not as effective in breaking ciphers that use symbols or other characters instead of letters. It is also not practical for short pieces of ciphertext, since the cryptanalyst cannot adequately relate the letter frequencies to published patterns.

In a simple frequency analysis, the frequency of each individual variable is tabulated and compared to the frequency distribution for each of the other variables in the same group. The result is a report that lists each value and how many times it occurred in the group. The report is then sorted by each value to produce a list of the most frequent values in the group.

Alan Turing

During World War II, the British Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS) recruited mathematicians with a interest in cryptology and machines for implementing logical operations. Among them was a young man with an unconventional approach to mathematics, Alan Turing.

Unlike his peers, Turing tended to ignore his lessons in humanities and classics. His passion for science, however, raised alarms in a school system that valued academic prowess over extra-curricular activities. “If he continues to devote all his time to science, he will be wasting his time at Sherborne,” wrote the headmaster in a letter to his parents, as recorded by Hodges.

At Cambridge University, Turing began to explore his own ideas more freely. He read Russell’s introduction to mathematical philosophy, and von Neumann’s account of the foundations of quantum mechanics. He engineered gear-wheel parts for a special machine to calculate the Riemann Zeta-function, and worked on problems of mathematical logic.

During the war, Turing helped decode German messages using an electro-mechanical machine called the Enigma. His efforts enabled cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park to connect Hitler and his high-ranking officers with front-line generals. Despite his genius, Turing was an awkward and erratic person. In 1941, he proposed marriage to Joan Clarke, another Bletchley Park cryptanalyst. He later retracted the proposal after she revealed that she was gay, and they remained friends.

Al Kindi

In 800 CE Al Kindi, an aristocratic Muslim philosopher and mathematician, discovered a method for deciphering encrypted messages. This method, now known as cryptanalysis, paved the way for arguably humanity’s greatest achievements – computers, the internet and the digital world. His work also influenced later Muslim philosophers, such as Imam Ghazali who advocated theo-democracy.

Al Kindi was a polymath who was skilled in many areas of knowledge including philosophy, mathematics, science and music. He was also adept at writing and was hailed as the father of Arab philosophy. During his lifetime he produced numerous books in Arabic and Greek, many of which have been lost over the centuries. He also worked as a translator and was patronized by the Abbasid Caliphs Al-Ma’mun and Al-Mutawakkil.

While the details of his breakthrough may seem obvious to us now, at the time it was a radical invention that shattered the security of secret correspondences. The key to his method was the discovery that letters of the alphabet appear with varying frequencies in written language. This meant that if a specific letter was used as a symbol in a code, it could be guessed by simply counting the number of times it occurred in plain text.

This method of breaking encrypted messages changed the course of history and foiled several plots including the attempted overthrow of Queen Mary by Catholic loyalists and Protestant sympathisers. The details of the plot were communicated through encrypted messages which were intercepted and deciphered by Elizabeth’s spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham.