Sunday, 5 February 2017

Modern breaking of Enigma ciphertexts

The title on this posting is also the title of my latest Cryptologia article co-authored with Olaf Ostwald. The purpose is of course to give the article some publicity because we think it is worth reading  at least for those who are interested in the German cipher machine Enigma and especially for those who are interesting in cryptanalysis and codebreaking. Modern breaking of Enigma ciphertexts is, as the title says, our attempt to document what can be achieved using modern computer based methods for ciphertext-only attacks on authentic German Army messages from World War II.

But before going into more details about the article’s content I think it is interesting to first look at its history and background. The story starts of course on 22 June 1941, when the first of the German Army messages was sent and when the German attack on the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, began. However, we have to wait until the end of the 1980’s before the messages reappear and arrive in the hands of our good friend and fellow researcher, Michael van der Meulen. Michael had by then done extensive research into German cryptologic history and he had become friendly with Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Waldemar Werther who during the Second World War was a signal intelligence (Sigint) officer in the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). His main responsibility was deciphering of Russian signals. Immediately after the war he had several civilian jobs until he in 1953 started to work for the French intelligence service, SDECE. He seems to have been attached to their Sigint organization, GCR, working on Soviet and East German problems. He stayed with the French for about four years until he joined the newly created German Air Force Sigint organization in 1957.

Exactly how the messages came into his hands is not known but probably through his post-war work in the German Sigint organization. However, it is known that Waldemar Werther was instrumental in saving these messages from destruction and he made sure the material would survive his death.  On his death in the late 1980’s, his widow Hetty followed his wishes and transferred the Army messages to Michael van der Meulen. The first attempt to attack these messages was made in 1996 by James Gillogly. In October 1995 he had published his groundbreaking article  “Ciphertext-only Cryptanalysis of Enigma” in Cryptologia. When he wrote his article he did not have access to any original or authentic Enigma ciphertexts. He based himself on English translations of German messages decrypted at Bletchley Park (BP) but these messages were summaries of multiple Enigma messages and rewritten to help disguise their source. Some of these summaries contained 1500 letters and one was even 2300 letters long where most were in the order of 350 to 550 letters, far above the prescribed maximum limit for Enigma cipher messages of 250 letters. Ralph Erskine and I pointed out this problem to Jim and in an e-mail to me in March 1995 he replied: “I do wish I had access to more actual German Enigma messages, though!”

Well, that changed in January 1996 when I sent Jim an e-mail to tell him I had heard that Michael van der Meulen had sent copies of some of these messages to him via Lou Kruh, a well known cryptologist, editor and activist — but foremost of all an avid collector of cryptologic memorabilia. Jim immediately started to transcribe the messages and put them into an electronic format but what happened after that I am not so sure. I never heard back from Jim that he had any success in breaking the messages he had received. I was also interested in getting copies of these messages but first in February 2001 did I received a selection of the messages from Michael. I immediately started to transcribe some of the messages and share them with Geoff Sullivan, our Crypto Simulation Group (CSG) simulator guru.

The CSG members at Oxford in June 2000.
From left to right: Ralph Erskine, Frode Weierud, David Hamer, Philip Marks
 and Geoff Sullivan. Wes Freeman joined in March 2002.
The CSG was started with three members, Geoff, David Hamer and me, back in May 1997. Phil Marks joined the team at the end of 1997 and Ralph Erskine joined us in January 1998, when we coined the name Crypto Simulation Group. Wes Freeman became a member in March 2002. The basic idea was to get access to real cipher machines or at least sufficient technical details such that the machines could be simulated on a computer. Our goal was also to verify the simulations against the real machines or at least by using plain- and ciphertext generated on these machines. And the final aim was to use the simulations to thoroughly study the machines with the hope of perhaps being able to cryptanalyse and break their ciphers. During the period 1997 to 2005 we were very active with Geoff Sullivan turning out one simulator after the other, which resulted in several publications about the CSG simulated machines and attempts to break their ciphers. After about 2005 professional obligations at work and elsewhere, new and diverging interests among the members and perhaps a little sense of fatigue resulted in a slowly diminishing activity within CSG. Today CSG is dormant, but not dead, and the members are still in regular contact with each other.

In January 2002 Geoff and I started to look at the German Army messages again and throughout the year ideas on how to find the first few Enigma Steckers bounced back and forth between us. However, things dragged on as we were also busy with our Cryptologia article on PURPLE and other interesting projects. Geoff build a hillclimbing Enigma breaker, our EBreaker, and finally in March 2003 Geoff could report the first break of one of the messages. The details you can read in our Cryptologia article “Breaking German Army Ciphers” published in July 2005 and on our BGAC Web page. The article and the story of amateur codebreakers solving German Army Enigma messages created a considerable media interest. Especially our decrypted message from the Nazi concentration camp Flossenbürg was a media magnet and even Russian TV came to Geneva to visit and interview me about this story. The media circus was intense, interesting and short, but what brought us the most persistent joy was all the feedback and interest the article created among fellow amateur codebreakers. New projects based on our ideas started in several places, among the better known are the M4 Message Breaking ProjectEnigma@Home and Breaking German Navy Ciphers. Geoff and I wanted if possible to interest and involve the readers in breaking authentic Enigma messages. We therefore posted a selection of messages we already had broken and found to be not too difficult to solve, Five or six Easy Pieces in the key of E.

Many took this challenge and also attempted to attack the unbroken messages we had posted on our BGAC Web page. Some of the solvers and their solution you can discover on the Codebreaker’s Honour Roll and on the 1941 Message Overview. A small caveat is that none of these two lists are fully up-to-date. Several solvers are, as you can see, excellent codebreakers but over time one, through his perseverance, stood above them all. He originally did not wanted to be in the limelight and he is therefore only mentioned by his first name, Olaf. As I am sure you have already guessed he is my co-author Olaf Ostwald. In 2009 both Geoff and I were too occupied professionally to continue breaking and transcribing the rest of the unbroken messages. Seeing Olaf’s track record and sensing his commitment we therefore decided to let him have full access to all the scanned message forms, which happened in 2011. In a sense we were happy to have found a worthy successor.

It should now be clear that the existence of our article “Modern breaking of Enigma ciphertexts” depends entirely on the perseverance of Olaf and the lucky decision of Geoff and me to let him singlehandedly  take over our codebreaking project in 2011. Now having full access to the message collection Olaf could choose freely his ciphertexts and hence fine tune his codebreaking algorithms. Another great advantage is of course that being German Olaf does not have the same difficulties with the language as Geoff and me. His understanding of the plaintexts is close to instant and he is also in a much better position to deliver faultless translations in English.

Well now a few words about the article itself. Of course it builds on the ideas of Geoff and me as described in our 2005 Cryptologia article, but goes much deeper into the problems of breaking short Enigma ciphertext and messages with many garbles. It also explains in detail how the plugboard (Steckerbrett) encryption works and how this affects our codebreaking effort. Many of the previously puzzling observations Geoff and I made during our work has now found their explanation. We show that for a rotor machine like the Enigma, with cyclometric stepping, it is possible to break messages close to the unicity distance. However, to arrive at such results it is necessary to fine tune the codebreaking algorithm such that it is well adapted to the real cryptanalytical problem and also be use a language database that is as close as possible to the underlaying plaintext. Hence, the more messages you solve the better is your chance of breaking the real short ones.

We wish you happy reading and we sincerly hope that you will find it both interesting and thought provoking. We also invite you to report any errors or typos that you might discover. A few are already known and they will be reported shortly on the MBEC Web page. Here you will also find information and documents related to our article.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Secrets of the Lorenz Schlüsselzusatz SZ42

The Secrets of the Lorenz Schlüsselzusatz SZ42 is a Web page that I have dedicated for information about the German teleprinter cipher machine SZ42. The Lorenz Schlüsselzusatz SZ42 belonged, together with the Siemens Geheimschreiber T52, to Nazi Germany’s most secret cryptographic systems. Both machines were designed to be high security systems and they carried high level strategic communications directly from the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) and the High Commands of the Army, Navy and Air Force (OKH, OKM and OKL). The Lorenz SZ42 was an Army machine and it was mainly used by OKW and OKH. The Siemens T52 machines were mainly used by the Navy (OKM) and Air Force (OKL), however it also had more civilian users such as the German Foreign Office.

Bletchley Park's (BP) success in breaking the Lorenz SZ42, called Tunny at BP, was in itself a considerable achievement, but the intelligence value was enormous. Where the Enigma messages would reveal information about an ongoing operation or a field commander's next move the Lorenz SZ42 messages would reveal the thinking, deliberations and plans of the Wehrmacht and those of Hitler himself. The planning and success of the allied D-Day operations were in large measures dependent on this source of extraordinary intelligence. While Colossus, the machine built by Tommy Flowers and his team at the Post Office Research Station for breaking Tunny at BP, is well known Tunny itself is not; and Colossus is therefore often erroneously mentioned as being used to break the Enigma. Similarly the Enigma machine is well known and its ciphering operations generally well understood but the same can not be said for the Lorenz SZ42. The machine is much more complex than the Enigma and all the technical details of the machine has until now not been fully revealed. Very few of the machines are publicly available and only four more or less complete machines are known to exist. The lack of a good simulator for this machine as well as authentic ciphertexts means that it is difficult to get a good feeling for how the machine works and its basic security.

I hope that the information I am publishing on this Web page will help to change this situation. The plan is to slowly release information that to my knowledge is largely unknown and that has not previously been published. I will then try to look into the pre-history of the SZ42 and also reveal the development of its successor the SZ42c. I also hope to show some of the work the Germans did to analyse the security of the machine and what they did to improve the security of it. For the time being the page should be seen as work in progress because it will take some time to prepare all the material for publication.

Lorenz SZ42 on display at Bletchley Park, Photo: F. Weierud © 2009

Perhaps 2015 and 2016 will be the years of Tunny and Colossus. Last year we saw the publication in book form of the General Report on Tunny With Emphasis on Statistical Methods written by I. J. Good, D. Michie, and G. Timms (Eds.) in 1945. The title of the book is Breaking Teleprinter Ciphers at Bletchley Park and it has been edited by James A. Reeds, Whitfield Diffie, and J. V. Field. I feel the editors have done an excellent job and their introductory material and notes is a gold mine of information about Colossus and the FISH ciphers. If you really want to know about Tunny and how the machine was broken in all its details then this is the book for you.

Tunny is also in the news these days. The Norwegian Armed Forces Museum (FMU) in Oslo has generously offered their one and only Lorenz SZ42 machine on a long-term loan to The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park (BP). BP already has its own Lorenz SZ42 machine that they received from GCHQ many years ago, see the photo, but unfortunately friendly neighbours are in short supply at BP these days. Since the Bletchley Park Trust so to speak locked the gate on TNMOC they are no longer on speaking terms and TNMOC had to go abroad to find the sorely needed Tunny machine for their museum. Now thanks to FMU in Oslo TNMOC has closed the circle and they can now show the whole chain from the Germans enciphering their Top Secret messages on the Lorenz SZ42, the messages being intercepted at Knockholt and elsewhere, to the Wrens setting up and running the Colossus and finally decoding the messages on the Tunny.

With FMU showing the way with their generous gift I felt it was time for me to make a small contribution in the form of offering copies of the original instruction and operating manuals for the Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine. To my knowledge these documents are not so well known and they have never been made public before. 


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Die Arbeiter, die die Enigma bauten

Message for English Readers: This article is an attempt to make the history of the workers who built the Enigma more accessible to German readers. The English readers are invited to read the original article published in May 2013 and which you can find here

Heutzutage weiß man vieles über die Geschichte der Enigma, der einst geheimen und noch immer geheimnisvollen Verschlüsselungsmaschine der deutschen Wehrmacht. Die Enigma stellt die vielleicht berühmteste aller Krypto-Maschinen dar, nicht zuletzt auch wegen der durch die Alliierten geglückten Entzifferungen. Unglücklicherweise ist nicht alles, was man über die Enigma lesen kann, auch wirklich richtig. Das ist etwas, das ich hoffentlich im Laufe der Zeit verbessern kann, obwohl einige der kolportierten Halbwahrheiten oder Missinterpretationen hartnäckig wiederholt werden und sich als überraschend resistent erweisen. Aber eigentlich will ich heute darüber gar nicht reden. 

Mein Thema heute sind die einfachen Arbeiter, die die Enigma gebaut haben. Ihnen möchte ich meinen Respekt zollen. Nicht die Erfinder und Ingenieure, die die Enigma gestalteten, sollen mein Thema sein, auch nicht die Konstrukteure oder Kryptographen, die sie entwickelten, sondern die einfachen Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter, die in den Fabriken Bestandteile der Enigma fertigten und zusammensetzten. Der Mann an der Drehbank, der die Teile der Enigma-Walzen herstellte, die Frau, die sie zur funktionierenden Einheit zusammenfügte. Auch der Mensch in der Endprüfung, der die korrekte Funktionsfähigkeit sicherstellte, bis hin zur Angestellten im Versand, die die fertigen Maschinen sorgfältig verpackte und addressierte. Dies sind die Menschen, die nicht selten von der Geschichte vergessen werden. Das möchte ich gerne ändern.

Wenn man Geschichte beschreibt, so muss die geschichtliche Wahrheit stets oberste Priorität genießen. Nichts sollte weggelassen oder beschönigt werden, auch wenn es hässlich oder unvorteilhaft erscheint. Natürlich muss man immer die Ehre der Toten achten, und darf niemanden diffamieren, auch keine Lebenden. Das Recht der Privatsphäre ist ein zentral wichtiges Gut unserer Gesellschaft, auch wenn die Gesetze hierzu in den verschiedenen Ländern durchaus unterschiedlich aussehen können. Speziell bei Personen, die nicht im öffentlichen Leben stehen, sollte man im Zweifel eher taktvoll und zurückhaltend sein. Üblicherweise vermeidet man unnötige Irritationen am besten dadurch, dass man die Namen der handelnden Personen verschweigt oder anonymisiert, speziell dann, wenn die Namensnennung nicht essentiell ist, um die Handlung zu verstehen. Dies wäre im Normalfall auch bei der Geschichte der Fall, die ich hier präsentieren möchte. Die Identitäten der Enigma-Arbeiter werden sicherlich nicht die Geschichte der Enigma verändern. Aber ich möchte gerne das Ganze auf den Kopf stellen und behaupte, dass die Enigma die Geschichte und das Andenken dieser Menschen verändert. Vermutlich sind die meisten, wenn nicht alle, inzwischen verstorben. Aber sie werden Familien hinterlassen haben, vielleicht Kinder, Neffen oder Enkel, die sich möglicherweise an ihren Vater, Mutter, Tante oder Onkel, ihre Großeltern erinnern und wissen, dass diese einst beim Bau der Enigma geholfen haben.

Nun wird es möglicherweise Kommentare geben, dass diese Menschen der deutschen Rüstungsindustrie geholfen haben und damit dazu beitrugen, Krieg, Leid und Unglück zu verlängern. Dazu möchte ich zuallererst sagen, dass es mir hier auch um die Menschen geht, die lange vor dem Krieg, noch zu Beginn und in der Mitte der 1930er-Jahre, gearbeitet haben, also weit vor dem Krieg. Einige haben in den Enigma-Fabriken seit den frühesten Anfängen mitgewirkt, wie beispielsweise Max Reichenbach. Er arbeitete spätestens ab 1923 zunächst für die Gewerkschaft Securitas und danach für die Chiffriermaschinen AG. Falls es noch immer Meinungen geben sollte der Art, dass dies trotz allem dazu beitrug, den Krieg zu verlängern, dann kann ich nur sagen, dass jeder einzelne kleine Mensch, der damals in Deutschland lebte und arbeitete, seine Steuern zahlte, letztendlich so die Rüstungsindustrie unterstützt hat. Die Enigma-Arbeiter haben keine Bomben und Granaten hergestellt und das Material, das zur Fertigung der Enigma diente, wurde zumindest nicht direkt dazu verwendet, Menschen zu töten. Vielleicht könnte ich sogar so weit gehen, dazu aufzufordern, diesen Menschen dafür zu danken, dass sie so viele Enigma-Maschinen für die deutsche Wehrmacht gefertigt haben. Dadurch, dass sie die vielen Enigmas sorgfältig herstellten und pünktlich auslieferten, vergrößerten sie womöglich die Abhängigkeit des deutschen Militärs von dieser Maschine und verrringerten gleichzeitig den Bedarf, eventuell statt der Enigma eine andere Verschlüsselungsmaschine einzusetzen, wie beispielsweise das Schlüsselgerät 39 (SG 39). Diese alternative Maschine, die sich seit 1939 in der Entwicklung befand, nutzte Walzen mit setzbaren Steuerstiften, ähnlich den Hagelin-Maschinen, die für eine höchst unregelmäßige Weiterschaltung der Chiffrierwalzen sorgten. Im Gegensatz zur äußerst regelmäßigen Weiterschaltung der Enigma-Rotoren hätte dies auf alliierter Seite vermutlich einiges an Kopfzerbrechen bewirkt. Meine persönlich Meinung ist, dass es den britischen und amerikanischen Kryptoanalytikern dann kaum gelungen wäre, diese Maschine in gleicher Weise zu durchdringen, wie es ihnen bei der Enigma glückte. In gewissem Sinne lässt sich also mit einiger Sicherheit sagen, dass es auch die Enigma-Arbeiter waren, die dazu beitrugen, den Krieg um die zwei Jahre zu verkürzen, die als Zahl häufig genannt werden, wenn man die Bedeutung des alliierten Bruchs der Enigma auf den Kriegsverlauf abschätzen möchte.


Brief an Heimsoeth & Rinke von OKW über Beschäftigung
ausländischer Arbeitskräfte für die Fertigung von Chiffrier-
maschinen und Zubehör bei der Firma Konski & Krüger.

Mit Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkriegs spannte sich die Lage für die Fertigungswerke weiter an. Einige ihrer Arbeiter wurden in die Wehrmacht eingezogen oder meldeten sich freiwillig. Die Enigma-Firma Chiffriermaschinengesellschaft Heimsoeth und Rinke (H&R) und ihr wichtigstes Fertigungswerk Konski & Krüger (K&K) versuchten ihre Arbeiter zu schützen und vor dem Wehrdienst zu bewahren. Aber aufgrund steigender Produktionsraten wuchs der Bedarf an weiteren Arbeitern stetig an. Da immer weniger männliche Arbeiter verfügbar waren, wurden mehr und mehr Frauen eingestellt. Auch kriegsversehrte Soldaten kamen dazu und übernahmen vakante Stellen. Es gibt sogar Hinweise, dass K&K ab 1942 auch Fremdarbeiter einstellte. Dies war etwas, dass zuvor aufgrund der sicherheitskritischen Relevanz der Enigama-Fertigung strikt vermieden wurde. Die Fremdarbeiter wurden aus den von Deutschland besetzten europäischen Ländern rekrutiert und zum Dienst verpflichtet. Es gibt keine Hinweise darauf, dass auch Häftlinge aus Konzentrationslagern dienstverpflichtet wurden, zumindest nicht direkt zur Enigma-Fertigung. Allerdings setzen einige der Unterlieferanten auch KZ-Häftlinge ein. 

Ich habe bisher nicht versucht, die persönlichen Lebensgeschichten dieser Arbeiter zu verfolgen, aber soweit ich es sagen kann, waren wohl alle deutscher Abstammung. Falls jemand anderslautende Informationen hat oder mehr über das Schicksal einzelner Arbeiter weiß, wäre ich sehr glücklich, dies zu erfahren. Die folgenden Namen repäsentieren bei weitem nicht alle Arbeiter, die mit der Enigma in Verbindung standen. Meine Liste hier zeigt nur Arbeiter auf, die im Hauptfertigungswerk Konski & Krüger in der Chausseestrasse 117 in Berlin-Charlottenburg angestellt waren.

19 März 1930. Die folgenden Arbeiter waren am Bau der Enigma II beteiligt, der großen Enigma mit integriertem Druckwerk, auch genannt Enigma H. Es betrifft den Reichswehr-Auftrag für die Maschinen H 201 bis H 210.
  1. Frau Hedwig Berndt, Neu-Lichtenberg, Eitelstrasse 55a
                Wiring of the cipher wheels.
  2. Felix Larson, Mechaniker, Schöneberg, Kolonnenstrasse 45
                Subassemblies.
  3. Richard Pohl, Mechaniker, Charlottenburg, Havelstrasse 7
               
    Wiring of the transport wheels.
  4. Max Reichenbach, Mechaniker, Berlin, Böttgerstrasse 24
               
    Last adjustments, control and registration of the machines.
  5. Alfred Recke, Mechaniker, Berlin, Raumerstrasse 34
                Subassemblies.
  6. Herbert Siewert, Mechaniker, Bln.-Neukölln, Walterstrasse 8/9
                Electrical circuit control and total assembly of the machines.
  7. Paul Sternkopf, Mechaniker, Berlin, Reichenbergerstrasse 74a
                Subassemblies.
  8. Hans Schneider, Mechaniker, Kremmen, Ruppinerchaussee
                Subassemblies.
6 Oktober 1931. Arbeiter in den Fertigungsstätten von Konski & Krüger, Berlin N.4, Chausseestrasse 117. Betrifft: Nr. 86.6.31 Na B 1 IIb, Auftrags-Nr. 12523 vom 4. 7. 1931.

Abendroth
Erich
Eichwalde
Kaiser-Friedrich. 11
Aethner
Herbert
Mahlow
Fliederweg
Berndt
Hedwig
Neu-Lichtenberg
Eitelstr. 55a
Deul
Hans
Borsigwalde
Siedlung Stadtpark
Gabron
Otto
Frohnau
Barbarossastr. 31
Göricke
Erna
Berlin
Stettinerstr. 30
Hartwig
Liesbeth
Berlin
Spenerstr. 18
Jaworski
Franziska
Berlin
Koppenstr. 8
Kaufmann
Eberhard
Berlin N.
Ackerstr. 54
Kriegel
Edmund
Berlin
Chodowieckistr. 17
Lotze
Erich
Berlin
Kopernikusstr. 33
Musolf
Elise
Berlin
Bergstrasse 18
Müller
Otto
Berlin-Pankow
Wollankstr. 4a
Myohl
Robert
Berlin
Leuthenstr. 18
Niclas
Eugen
Berlin-Neukölln
Steinmetzstr. 79
Paesler
Rudolf
Berlin-Tempelhof
Schönburgstr. 5
Pigard
Gertrud
Berlin-Neukölln
Böhmischestr. 16
Pohl
Richard
Berlin-Grünewald
Hubertusallee 43
Recke
Alfred
Berlin N
Raumerstr. 34
Reichenbach
Max
Berlin N.
Böttgerstr. 24
Runge
Otto
Berlin N
Chausseestr. 90
Schulz
Paul
Berlin
Perlebergerstr. 50
Siewert
Herbert
Berlin-Neukölln
Walterstr. 8/9
Strutz
Rosa
Berlin N.
Gartenstr. 66
Tümpel
Frieda
Berlin
Britzerstr. 10

11 Mai 1932. Arbeiter in den Fertigungsstätten von Konski & Krüger, Berlin N.4, Chausseestrasse 117. Betrifft: Nr. 503.2.32 Na B 1 IIb, Auftrags-Nr. 12596/31 vom 17. 3. 1932. Dies betrifft einen Auftrag über 100 Stück Enigma I, Ch 11 f, Heeres-Enigma-Maschinen.

Abendroth
Erich
Eichwalde
Wienerstr. 7
Berndt
Hedwig
Neu-Lichtenberg
Eitelstr. 55a
Budach
Anna
Friedrichsfelde
Alt-Friedrichsf. 25
Hanke
Kurt
Berlin
Gr. Frankfurterstr. 12
Musolf
Elise
Berlin
Bergstrasse 18
Pohl
Richard
Berlin-Grünewald
Hubertusallee 43
Rathke
Klara
Berlin
Müllerstrasse 168
Recke
Alfred
Berlin N
Raumerstr. 34
Reichenbach
Max
Berlin N.
Böttgerstr. 24
Siewert
Herbert
Berlin-Neukölln
Walterstr. 8/9
Steinhöfel
Maria
Berlin
Heckmann Ufer 2

24 Mai 1933. Arbeiter in den Fertigungsstätten von Konski & Krüger, Berlin N.4, Chausseestrasse 117. Betrifft: Nr. 68.2.33 Na B 1 IIb, Auftrags-Nr. 12590/32. Dies betrifft einen Auftrag über 182 Stück Enigma I, Ch 11 f, Heeres-Enigma-Maschinen.

Berndt
Hedwig
Neu-Lichtenberg
Eitelstr. 55a
Larshon
Felix
Berlin
Goltzstrasse 26
Musolf
Elise
Berlin
Bergstrasse 18
Pohl
Richard
Berlin-Grünewald
Potsdamerstr.  70
Rost
Joh.
Hoppegarten
Siedel. Birkenstein
Parzelle 137
Reichenbach
Max
Berlin N.
Böttgerstr. 24
Siewert
Herbert
Berlin-Neukölln
Walterstr. 8/9

Desweiteren haben wir zwei Ingenieure in unserem technischen Büro in der Steglitzerstraße 2 neu eingestellt. Die beiden Ingenieure
Schiele
Reinhold
Berlin-Neukölln
Wildenbruchstr. 91
Schröder
Willi
Bln.-Charlottenburg
Schlüterstrasse 25
sind beschäftigt als Komponentenentwickler.
28 Juni 1934. Weitere Arbeiter in den Fertigungsstätten von Konski & Krüger, Berlin N.4, Chausseestrasse 117. 
Bailleu
Selma
Spandau
Ondenarderstr. 26
Biczkowski
Max
Schönow
Lessingstrasse 32
Frass
Eugen
Berlin
Gottschedstrasse 41
Konrad
Wilhelm
Berlin
Driesenerstrasse 30
Kraus
Martin
Spandau
Wehnelt Steig 6
Rost
Johannes
Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten
Siedlung Birkenstein
Mittelstrasse 137
Staar
Hermann
Wittenau
Oranienburgerstrasse 219
Timmler
Willi
Lichtenberg
Scharnweberstr. 61
Alle oben genannten Personen arbeiteten in den Jahren vor dem Krieg an der Fertigung der Enigma. Wir wissen nicht, wie lange sie ihre Tätigkeit fortsetzten oder wie lange sie bei Konski & Krüger blieben. Tatsächlich wissen wir recht wenig, über ihre genauen Aufgaben oder Dienstobliegenheiten. Wie schon gesagt, war Max Reichenbach der alte Mechanikermeister von H&R, der in der Belegschaft hohes Vertrauen und Ansehen genoß. Zwei weitere hochgeschätzte Persönlichkeiten waren Frau Hedwig Berndt und Fräulein Rosa Strutz. Beide arbeiteten im vierten Stock bei K&K, wo in besonders geschützter Umgebung die geheime Verdrahtung der Enigma-Walzen durchgeführt wurde. Somit gehörten die beiden Damen zu einem erlesenen und sehr kleinen Kreis von Mitarbeitern, die Kontakt zu den echten Enigma-Geheimnissen hatten, nämlich der geheimen Verdrahtung der Walzen. Ein weiterer wichtiger Mitarbeiter war Herbert Siewert. Er erhielt kurze Zeit später eine noch verantwortlichere Stellung bei K&K.

Sehr wahrscheinlich gab es noch eine Reihe weiterer Angestellter, die mit der Fertigung der Enigma bei K&K betraut waren. Genannt werden zuweilen Namen wie der des Mechanikers Krah sowie einer weiblichen Mitarbeiterin namens Johanna Kliche. Ihre Namen werden im Juli 1938 erwähnt, wobei Johanna Kliche als langjährige Mitarbeiterin bezeichnet wird, zu deren Verantwortungsbereich individuelle Abnahmetests von gefertigten Maschinen gehörten.

Wie schon erwähnt, bekam K&K im Verlauf des Krieges immer größere Probleme die Fertigungskapazitäten aufrecht zu erhalten. Exemplarisch kann dies anhand einer Aktennotiz vom September 1940 illustriert werden, aus der hervorgeht, dass zwei Mechaniker abwanderten, Gerhard Wuttke und Erich H. Während Gerhard Wuttke, geboren 1920, einberufen wurde, meldete sich Erich H. freiwillig zur SS.

Es bleibt meine Hoffnung, dass wir vielleicht etwas mehr über Lebensgeschichten und Schicksal dieser Menschen erfahren können, die die Enigma-Maschinen hergestellt haben. Vieles Wissenwertes haben sie vermutlich mit ins Grab genommen. Aber vielleicht haben sie ihren Angehörigen doch vieles davon erzählt, was sie bei K&K gemacht und erlebt haben. Sicher hatten nur die allervertrauenswürdigsten Mitarbeiter Zugang zum legendären vierten Stock, wo die Walzen verdrahtet wurden und die Endmontage und Endprüfung der Maschinen stattfand. Aber vermutlich wussten viele, worum es ging und was für eine Maschine sie fertigten. Konski & Krüger stellte eine ganze Palette unterschiedlicher elektrischer Geräte her, sowohl für das Behördengeschäft als auch schlichte Konsumerware. Dazu gehörten beispielsweise die Membra-Lautsprecher. Diese elektroakustischen Produkte werden nach dem Krieg in einem B.I.O.S-Bericht erwähnt. Somit ist es auch möglich, dass nicht alle Menschen, die in Wirklichkeit Enigma-Teile herstellten, auch wirklich wussten, woran sie arbeiteten.

Quellen: Persönliche Forschungsvermerke und Dokumente aus dem TICOM-Archiv, Akten T1715, T1716, T1717 und T1718, zu finden in der TICOM-Sammlung des Außenministeriums der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bestand Rückgabe TICOM, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, Berlin.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Breaking Historical Ciphers: An Emerging Team

Breaking historical ciphers in an interesting field; it combines two rather different disciplines, cryptanalysis and history. Where history has touched on cryptology in the past has been where codebreaking has had some historical importance, such as the Allies breaking of the German and Japanese codes and ciphers during World War II. Cryptological history is another historical discipline that unfortunately lives largely in the shadows of historical research. Most historians probably know little about it and for some it probably does not exist.

Programs for breaking historical ciphertexts is therefore a unique chance for those of us who are interested in the cryptanalysis of classical and historical codes and ciphers and the history of cryptology. The field is very promising for many reasons. Firstly, for the cryptanalysts, both amateur and more seasoned actors, there is a chance to attack real systems used in the real world. The effort will give the cryptanalyst new and detailed insight into classical cipher systems and methods, which might reveal new information about their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, attacking hard cryptanalytical problems will also bring the reward of developing new and refined methods of solution. The final reward it to discover a previously unknown or undisclosed plaintext that might be of historical significance. Secondly, if the recovered plaintext is of historical or public interest then there will  be the added reward of media interests and especially academic interests among historians and other working in related fields. This media interest might open the eyes of people who firstly will discover the work done by the small community of historical cryptanalysts, but secondly and more importantly they may wish to take part in the work on breaking historical ciphers.

To prevent historical cryptanalysis to end up in the box marked “Dying or Extinct Species” there is an urgent need for help outside the cryptological field. We need historians and others, such as the many ‘archive rats,’ to tell us about interesting code- and ciphertexts that we can attack. To further this symbiosis there is a need for all of us to make an effort to inform at all levels about this interesting work. Therefore I ask you to please go out and become a missionary for historical codebreaking. Stand on the roof tops and shout: “We need historical ciphertexts. Now!”

Last year there was an attempt that originated largely in the academic fields of philology and history to get funding from the European Union for a program for historical cryptanalysis. An application for funding from COST, European Cooperation in Science and Technology, was made for a project called HICRYPT,   “Historical Cryptology – Unlocking Europe’s Encrypted Heritage.” Unfortunately the project did not get funding last year, but perhaps there will be other opportunities. The world’s economic situation is of course not favourable at the moment for projects that have rather weak foundations both in the academic world and elsewhere. It is therefore very important that when you get significant results from your historical codebreaking you inform the public and other interested players.

HICRYPT had as aim to decipher rather old encrypted historical texts such as the 250-year old text deciphered by Christiane Schaefer, Wolfgang Hock and Kevin Knight and described in Wired Magazine in November 2012, “They Cracked this 250-Year-Old Code and Found a Secret Society Inside.” This story made headlines around the world and it is the kind of break that makes waves well outside the academic communities and the small world of historical codebreakers.

Now you might say, didn’t he get his title wrong. Should it not be an “An Emerging Field” instead of “An Emerging Team.” Well, hopefully it will develop into an emerging field but my intention is to pay tribute to a small team of people who during the last few years have made significant progress in breaking historical cipher systems. They are George Lasry, Nils Kopal and professor Arno Wacker. Professor Wacker is the head of the research group “Applied Information Security” at the University of Kassel, where Nils Kopal is a Ph.D student and where also George Lasry now works on his Ph.D.

The team has already published three excellent articles in the journal Cryptologia, “Solving the Double Transposition Challenge with a Divide-and-Conquer Approach,” “Automated Known-Plaintext Cryptanalysis of Short Hagelin M-209 Messages,” “Ciphertext-only cryptanalysis of Hagelin M-209 pins and lugs,” and other publications are being prepared. However, before you dive in to study these interesting articles I would advice you to set aside one hour and listen to a talk George Lasry presented to the students and staff at the University of Kassel in October 2015, “Cracking Unsolved Historical Ciphers.” His talk is worth listening to and you probably will, like me, be inspired by his enthusiasm and great love for cryptology  and cryptanalysis. The rush of adrenaline you experience when you break one of these ciphers and see the plaintext starting to emerge is, as he describes it, a unique experience.

Having payed tribute to this outstanding team I should nevertheless add that there are others out there who are just as dedicated and who also have my great admiration. Some of them like to keep out of the limelight but that does not mean that they are lesser cryptanalysts, a few of them are simply amazing. I am honoured to count them among my friends. And I must not forget Klaus Schmeh for his tireless work of discovering new crypto challenges and new historical texts with cryptographic puzzles. If there is one person who keeps us supplied with cryptograms it is Klaus Schmeh.

And I should like to thanks my friend Christos who made me discover the talk of George Lasry, “Presentation on Solution of Historical Ciphers.” Thank you Chris.