History of cryptography and cryptanalysis. Questions that wish to ask about the history of cryptography should use this tag; if you're asking about historical ciphers you may also wish to use the classical-cipher tag.

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Would the rotors in Enigma machines always advance by one position? Or was there a way to set this?

Before encrypting a letter the first rotor advances by one, right? So there could be a way, once the first rotor turns 26 times, make the second rotor advance two positions instead of one. Or three. ...
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2answers
82 views

Purpose of DES parity bits

DES has a 64-bit key size, but only 56 of those are used during encryption. The other 8 are "parity bits". What was the intended purpose of the party bits, and why are they no longer used in modern ...
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3answers
282 views

What was the first MD5 collision ever constructed?

We all know that MD5's collision resistance is severly broken. But when thinking of "random" strings with great cryptographic importance I've come up with NIST's curve seeds and MD5 collisions. But ...
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Turing's (still?) classified inference engine algorithm?

Does anyone know the algorithm used by Turing's Colossus inference engine, so highly classified that the Brits kept it secret for decades after WW II? Indeed, it may still be classified. Several ...
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2answers
97 views

Best non-digital cipher?

Is there an undisputed cipher that was considered the best before the computer age? (This is not suppose to be a discussion, it's either a yes or no.) Please give a brief description why it is yes ...
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1answer
49 views

VIC cipher author known?

Does anybody know if the design of VIC cipher is attributed to anybody? I've tried Google and found nothing. There are quite a few sites describing the method in detail, a few implementing it ...
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4answers
795 views

Do any non-US ciphers exist?

Plenty of ciphers come out of the USA from government research or selection competitions. AES and DES are examples. Are there any public ciphers produced by other states, China or Iran for example? ...
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1answer
72 views

Historical algorithm which is frequency analysis resilient

Long ago, I've read an article on wikipedia which describe a cipher algorithm, used by kgb (if I remember well) with the property that all ciphered letters has the same (or nearly) probability to ...
7
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4answers
702 views

Cracking WWII-era codes - code found on a pigeon's leg in Surrey

A recent BBC article entitled WWII code 'may never be cracked' posted a code: AOAKN HVPKD FNFJW YIDDC RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRZH NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AKEEQ WAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH ...
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1answer
252 views

Why was the Navajo code not broken by the Japanese in WWII?

In reading about this topic recently, to my understanding, the encryption schemes used on top of the Navajo language were very simple and definitely could have been broken (my research shows they ...
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2answers
105 views

Historic Authentication Schemes Before Computers

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently ran an article about an alleged near miss with rockets in 1962, which raises some interesting cryptographic questions: ...
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675 views

Who first published the interest of more than two prime factors in RSA?

Multi-prime RSA is now a well known technique (described here): it uses $k>2$ distinct secret prime factors in the public RSA modulus, with the advantage that, using the CRT, we can gain a speed ...
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How cryptographically secure was the original WW2 Enigma machine, from a modern viewpoint?

If cryptanalysts today were to crack the original Enigma machine, “how fast” or “how easily” could they do it? What methods would they use? The original cracking was significantly helped by operator ...
4
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2answers
82 views

How were semagrams encrypted in the pre-digital era?

Historically messages in languages that use alphabets have been encrypted manually according to some kind of algorithm (e.g. mono- and poly-alphabetic ciphers). But how wew messages encrypted in a ...
1
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1answer
183 views

Engima machine decoding with PC and GPU

I saw this answer at this site about decoding a 3-rotor Engima machine's settings: How cryptographically secure was the original WW2 Enigma machine, from a modern viewpoint? And did some math for ...
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1answer
159 views

When did Kerckhoffs's principle become fully accepted in design and practice of modern ciphers?

Kerckhoffs's principle is named after a publication over 130 years old. Yet it is still something that is commonly misunderstood and challenged by newcomers to cryptography. This question from Open ...
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0answers
67 views

How did G.H. Hardy's work contribute to today's public-key cryptography?

I know that Hardy's work in number theory was used by Clifford Cocks in 1973 to develop the basis for public-key cryptography. What specifically was this work, and how is it used today in ...
3
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1answer
124 views

Is it possible to track down copies of WW2-era codebooks?

I've got an academic curiosity regarding some of the old Japanese naval codes used during World War II specifically. I'm wondering if any of the codebooks from this era have been made available, or ...
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356 views

Is it possible to break enigma code with a todays laptop [closed]

I have a 500 characters enigma encoded text. Random rotors were used (not the ones from wikipedia). I know of this flaw. I can guess some words that sould be in the text, but this probably doesn't ...
2
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4answers
90 views

Definition of the term “key”

I've looked in many places (NIST, text books, online resources) and I cannot find an answer to the definition of the term "key" from a semantic point of view. Is it the "key" to cipher-texts (i.e. ...
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1answer
119 views

Is the idea of a known plaintext attack really that new?

As you can probably guess, I just watched The Imitation Game, which hasn't really gotten points for historical accuracy... During World War II, Turing and his team fret that they can't know the ...
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179 views

Verbatim of early work on public-key cryptography?

In late 1997, the history of public-key cryptography was turned around with the announcement by the CESG (April 2000 archive) that public-key cryptography was theorized in a 1970 note [1] by James ...
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104 views

What informal indicators exist for estimating the computational infeasibility of cryptographic problems?

When assuming a block cipher primitive is secure, or a number theoretic problem is hard, this assumption is usually based on how far we are from breaking the primitive or solving the problem using ...
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1answer
248 views

RSA was rejected by which journal?

Is it true that first time RSA algorithm was rejected by a journal?
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1answer
2k views

How is the MD2 hash function S-table constructed from Pi?

For fun, I'm learning more about cryptography and hashing. I'm implementing the MD2 hash function following RFC 1319 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1319). I'll preface by saying I know there are ...
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0answers
97 views

How has the “power” of cryptography evolved from its beginnings till today? [closed]

I'm looking for a historical overview for the change in cryptographic power, which I hereby define as How far state-of-the-art cryptography is ahead of state-of-the-art cryptanalysis. In other ...
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2answers
648 views

How long would the 100 Year Cryptography Project have secured its data had it been started 100 years ago?

The goal of the Tahoe-LAFS 100 Year Cryptography project is to "enhance Tahoe-LAFS's cryptographic system so that Tahoe shipped today/next year might remain safe from cryptographic attacks for a 100 ...
3
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1answer
258 views

Any historical accounts of cryptanalysis of Jefferson's wheel cipher?

David Kahn in his book "The Codebreakers" wrote about Jefferson's wheel cipher, saying that To this day the Navy uses it… (the book was first published in 1967) Are there any historical accounts ...
3
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3answers
340 views

Is it true, that non-military cryptography appeared in 50's and 60's only thanks to leaks from the NSA? [closed]

I'm not talking about scytale, but encryption like RSA, DES, etc... How did exactly civil cryptography evolve after WWII?
6
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1answer
230 views

Did Merkle invent cryptographic hashing?

Chapter II of Merkle's 1979 PhD thesis is titled "One Way Hash Functions." The chapter appears to be the first reference to cryptographic hashing. The chapter has no references. Is there an earlier ...
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1answer
2k views

University for Crypto grad study [closed]

(I thought twice before asking this question and quite reluctant to type as well, but I think this would be helpful). I am an undergrad student and choose theoretical computer science as my major. ...
6
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1answer
653 views

How were the AES key and block length subsets of Rijndael selected?

My intuition tells me it's a trade off between speed and security, but how did the standardisation process select these three seemingly arbitrary key lengths (namely, AES-128, AES-192, AES-256).