« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Codes! Allied Cryptography in World War II

2012-09-12 | 🔗

In this episode co-hosted by TechStuff's Jonathan Strickland, the focus is on the codes and cryptologists of World War II. Tune in to learn more about the Enigma Machine, Alan Turing, Code Talkers and more in the conclusion of this two-part episode.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Their shows specialty saw in Jonathan case as the co host of tax staff. That is, of course, technology. But we're all going to be talking about history, so technology in history and last time we talked, we were discussing cryptography, specifically cryptography, as used by the axis powers during World war, two that's correct, yes, and we were really focusing mainly on the Enigma machine, which I think everyone would say his prey. The most famous machine. As far as cryptography goes one of those that allow people, unity, really know a lot about cryptography, often Dulcy, Enigma machine familiar when Alan Turing. It's a vague these days. Right is finally getting that the credit that, with long deal here- and he is so closely connected to the Enigma machine and breaking that code- that yeah a lot of people have heard about recently- definitely doubly, and hopefully they don't think that it was a device used by the riddle
Enigma, if they have less than if you guys have less than two that episode. You already know how that machine works, and we also talked a little bit about the Japanese could purple, which is a very different, but also of more more similar to the Enigma than some of the other codes. We're gonna be talking about today, right now because some of the stuff we're gonna talk about is related to the Enigma, I was going to give just a quick. review of the Enigma. So people can remember what how that works. It was machine that had three or more rotors in it and those rotors. You would position in a very particular way to send a message. The person whose receiving the message has another Enigma machine these their rotors to the same position that you have yours at, and you would determine this by a code book. You would each have a code book that would have the date and possibly even the time, and what setting
Did you have your Enigma machine set at what like a typewriter, where the big but light bulbs on the other end of it. When you would press a key alight, boldwood light up, it wouldn't be, the light bulb corresponds with the letter you push. Never never. That letter would be determined by the pathway that the electric current takes. Those rotors the rotors, with tat Each time you'd press a key so that pathway changes each time introducing an element of randomness or pseudo randomness into your message. So that way, as you continue, the type of this message. The key becomes hard to crack an ideal The only way you can decode. This message is: if you have that Enigma machine or an Enigma She was the same. Rotors said the same position and the code book search. You have everything rate ago because with all of these different combinations, all these possible combinations. You have in turn, almost an endless possibility of cipher tax that you're gonna be produced those effectively.
less it is their does have an end, because once you get always all of the rotors, depending on how many roads at aren't, that could be three or four. You do have a finite number of combinations, but it's such a huge number as to be astronomical, which is pretty tough, if you got a pencil and paper and because of that because it astronauts possibilities. The Nazis did consider the Enigma and break of all they did so much so that its going to play a big role in part of Oregon talk on the x you breath here, yes, Think it's definitively hubris so now that we ve sort of fresh or Jonathan has refresh the on how the Enigma machine, where we're gonna talk the allied version of it, almost something called the type acts machine it with the British, creation, specifically of the Enigma and the full name of it- was the area
forever. Airforce Enigma with type acts attachment filleted, even really bother changing the name. It is an enigma, yet we ve just modified it and it was. It was like the big daddy version of the Enigma. Another enigma could run on battery power. Hook up a big battery to the Enigma that would power. It is really power than was to generate this electric current, the wool light, a light bulb and, as always doing, semi portable yeah, the M That's not so much. It used a sea power you had to plug it end because it was, it was a monster huge. You would not me one of these things, so you couldn't have a lot of them the wild, but it was It was on the same sort of premise as the Enigma, and it was therefore very secure. If you used it properly now
The interesting thing to me about this is not so much how it was different from the Enigma. It didn't use. Light bulbs, for example, use teletype machines, so you actually type out your message and a Seifert version would be produced. Is the Enigma with a two man job right. You had to have one person to type in the letters in another person watching the light bulbs carrying out I for TAT and just like that, on the other side, you it does have some one type in this. and the person looking at the light bulbs would be. Would be writing out the my text here. In case. You would have this sort of teletype approach. And someone, on the other hand, would have to feed through the teletype stuff so that you can get the plain text version but otherwise it's very similar just take the light bulbs out trillion and replace it with teletype, again very, very secure. It had five rotors. Only three of them would rotate. So
like the Enigma machine. That would have these rotating rotors rotate. Usually the one on the left would rotate every keystroke and then made a fool patient to get back to the starting position. The second rotor would rotate one and then you could go another four rotation. The second wrote group rotate again, so he had a really long message. It would eventually get all three rotors rotating at least once or twice in this case, three rotors that could rotate. The last two were just meant to allow you to create a good starting position, but they would not rotate So if you went long enough, Firstly, rotors would repeat granite They'll be a really long message here, but it could happen. So that was another difference The interesting thing to me, two things one, is that the jury, we're so confident that their Enigma machine was unbreakable and they knew the type Ex machine was based on the Enigma machine. It didn't really
are you trying to break the hubris for Turkey? The harvest? Look, we know our codes are amazing. No one could break em so included ass. We couldn't break our own they're, not gonna, break our car. So why not bother break their agenda and they they employed, probably about half the number of cryptography. First, that the British had let alone the rest of the allies and they there other differences with the type expert they other pig thing was at the british had an attitude about using a mechanical device to code things they didn't think of it as terribly proper and also you have to understand. British Navy has existed for hundreds of years, hence seventh essentially established the british Navy. This Jonathan
admiral, getting back and yourself years. Here's where my worlds overlap. Henry the seventh began to establish the british Navy, which really got it start under Henry, the eighth didn't under Henry the seventh. It was about eight boats by of Henry dates rain. It was loaded better by Elisabeth rain. It was a force to be reckoned with partially because whether a Burma, but it anyway wines. This is this This is a storied brow, of the british military It has hundreds of years of history and the commanders of the british Navy sort of looked down upon the Royal Airforce, which was in there eyes an infant branch of the military. It was brand new and no tiny little branch of the military, that's only been around for a few years, could possibly tell a brand
spin around for centuries. What the best way is to cypher a message, thats just being ridiculous, which I think is quintessentially. We might get some emails over the land, but yeah I mean you can see those two tax recovery that- and I think that that is a good point here, because if we're talking about this, ants technology, it's obviously gotta be accepted and adopted by everyone, count to really do its job like its place. To do it. It's not gonna help. If for what like any help, if you're Germany and your thinking that its unbreakable, because it faced off of yours that suffer not gonna help us, if you know use your own countries code right. Yes, it's we have to remember within all of these countries. There are internal politics at play all the time, and it's very easy for us to boil down the story of world war? Two to these big, big, big.
yes, but when you start looking into it, you realize that there were no simple and easy stories here, they're all very, very complex, so even going with a specific technology or approach always had a lot of back and forth within country before anything was done, so it really come as no surprise. It's just that. You wonder how things would have been different head groups acted earlier upon these technologies. So is the topic. Ever broken if nobody was really trying to break at no, I can fill as far as I know I mean it, but that it was unbreakable, it could have been broken head taken the time and effort and if they had captured code works and about it that the manpower to doing now grand you're talking about a machine that so large that probably wasn't put into too many areas out in the field That's another thing to think about: this is not necessarily a machine that would have been easy
your honor shut. Why don't? We wouldn't have been as vulnerable as the Enigma machines that were out on out on ships on whether boats as you are discussing, erect in places where you could pick one up. So we haven't yet talked about codes. Americans were using. We talk about some could breaking efforts by the U S was used. The ethiopian mark two or three Garber Machine and the pan for that was filed in nineteen. Forty four, yes, and it was eventual granted. When was it granted two thousand one? So what happened there? Well, what happens there is if you patent something you have to reveal how it works really wanted to do. That's. Why did you do that?
I think it's mainly as its secrecy issue. No grand even filing for patents means that that information gets out there and when you talking about machine this designed to cypher things, you don't necessarily want revealed to the world. Hey. I've got this great. That makes unbreakable messages. Let me tell you how works it's kind of the equivalent of what we discussed in the last after the Japanese and now thing could purple urine code, and this machine again not that much different from the way the Enigma type fax machines worked in the sense that again, it uses rotors to try and randomize connections. None he said three banks with five rotors each, so teen rotors total, and it was not. All of those rotors were meant to guide a an electric current so that you would have a cypher message on the other end. But this was a very complex device, also It was again
that was not terribly portable. It was not used a lot in world war. Two. For that reason, that was the big back to a lot of these devices is that they because of their design, they were not to deploy in the field, and so they had very limited use. You can use them for domestic communication, but for something to issue commands. You failed order. If you're not gonna, get feel report, that's right! That's right! So the United it's really didn't use it alive. Aid dependent upon Harley different approach. That was hello genius. They did- and this is one of my favorite code- related world war- two story that one that then Jane talked about before, and this show by we're. Gonna do the more really focusing on how the codes, where is the code? Talkers? Of course,
So you think of the Navajo code talkers that, although we're going to talk about a few other native American tried that were used for code purposes during the war, but the decision to use native american language is on their own, not just as a code wasn't thing. New native american languages had been used before that's right. They ve been you in wartime before and they ve been used in raw. Or one there was the chalk ta which is used in that in that area. But hundred and forty first Infantry young doktor, its eggs and which proved to be a very effective tool, and there are a lot of different reasons for this, but a big one is that The group, the native american languages are so far removed from the language is found in the rest of the world that anyone unfamiliar with them, it is very difficult to understand, especially because within each individual language there are laws
of different dialects and there are different ways of saying the same same group of finance, where it means two different things few depending on the way you say it: and so it's a very complex language. So it's not at all. As if you, if you know one romance language, you can kind of get the hang now that's right. In fact, the last research I read, which was quite some time ago, said that there too racist anyone has come so far is potential identifying a distant relative of Bay native american languages with a language that originated out of Siberia, but that was it the it's not, be quite some time ago, plenty of time for the language to evolve dramatically alien to all these things. Amnesia and they didn't even even there said we can't be sure, there's a connection. It only looks like there's a potential connection which means that we
being so alien to the vote. his forces in the access powers. That's a good place to look If you want to be able to send messages without anyone, knowing what it is, you're saying so, Inachus we're just discussing the language. Without any national securities. That's right just talk in this case. Unless you have somebody else who knows the language, that's gonna be a pretty secure message but The youth in World war, two took a step further. It would be a code based on the language, so another native speaker, another bilingual speaker, wouldn't be able to just read the code. understand what it was thing. They might recognize the words, but they couldn't decipher the meaning of the method. First, have to learn about the whole reading. Because Navajo is spoken language, not a written language. They had to create a phonetic alphabet so that they could present the sounds made
in the Navajo speech to have a written version of a text or of a message. Otherwise it would be a voice message answer There's that you ve got to learn the phonetic alphabet to understand whatever the languages are one of the messages, and then, on top of that it has this code, so example, I mean I could come up to Sarah and Justice string of unrelated words which, to anyone, listening, would sound like I had gone crazy and which we call Wednesday how stuff works, but because Sarah knows the comb and IRAN have she rightly then she can get a meaningful message out of that seems here, except with the added complexity of using the language, no one in Europe or Asia. New, what I'm gonna throw in a few more complexities here with Navajo its tonal, though one spell
can be indifferent things. The something we discussed a little bit on our chunk sisters upset with the enemy is she's, also tonal episode.
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the? How and then like You were thing earlier: it's just not well known you, no chances are you're, not gonna have studied Navajo. If you are a young japanese person, whereas very likely may have attended school in the United States or or somewhere else are picked up, English, even you might know you might know English colloquialisms english slang, I have a familiarity with words that might see more secure, especially in the in the thirties or forties. Then they would now, but now. The whole is a whole different level from that right and it's I'm glad Japanese, because we hadn't really pointed that out, but the Navajo code talkers were used exclusively in the Pacific theatre. That was, that where the United States decided to concentrate their efforts and in fact they were part of the United States Marine Corps. That was the brow the military that employed the Navajo code talkers. They were,
the only native american speakers were used in this capacity in world war. Two, but down again, the most famous ones, and she's, for instance, were used in Europe. They were were part of the army rather than them That's right, though, defrayed different, indian native american tribes used indifferent theatres, indifferent branches of the military for different purposes, but have to go back to how somebody decided to do this because it seems like such an ingenious idea. It seems obvious, on the one hand, if you have these languages with very few speakers. They are all in your part of the world and have traditionally been kind of Iceland. Their language has been isolated. That seems obvious, but how do you? How do you make that jump to to create a code based on those languages? Right? This comes down to a man named Philip Johnston
was the son of a president missionary and had grown up on Navajo Land and learn the language will end, and he also was, I believe, a world war. One veteran. He knew about the use of chalk, tar and so using his experience, both as a veteran and as someone who had grown up with a language. He said stood using Navajo as means of of communicating secret messages into across different lines and is a brilliant idea, but it wasn't immediately Malta is a brilliant wasn't he he traveled he within away. You worked as a civil engineer, in nineteen forty two he went to Camp Elliot, which was outside of San Diego and presented idea but, like you said wasn't something that was an will immediately taken up, partly because they didn't found flexible
sound like the codes we ve been talking about earlier, where you can shift things around and you have a totally different code and something that's not flexible, that doesnt have that random quality that with and harping on the whole time sounds breakable right, but as the language was so inscrutable. It was unbreakable yeah. That was better than any theories of five Roeder receive might have, though he he did get a go ahead look into a little bit more and he recruited for bilingual speakers guide, who spoke Navajo in English fluently and He did a little demonstration. Sometimes a demonstration is the best way to prove your point. He broke them up into two groups. One group of two received a basic sort of field order in English. They simply translated
order into Navajo is passed on to the other group who translated it back in to English and the other. The fear was that Maybe if you go through, I'm sure if you gave me something to translate in French and then tried to translate it back into into English, it wouldn't be quite right. If you, if you use even translate translation engines online, you translate other Riah translate the same phrase back in between the same two languages, do it about five times and what you end up with is going to be something that resumed but it's not identical to your first telephone essentially and when you think about military orders, specificity is very important, but in this case the trial example it? It's worked. Fine. You know it was exactly the same message so can't Elliot commanding officer was impressed by the devil duration and he a meat,
Italy requested two hundred Navajo translators. He could TAT many there. He was only allowed thirty four sort of of further pilot project and of those There are ultimately twenty nine that went to basic training outside of sand. go, and I would like the description of their life air because you think of them. They would immediately justly sequestered into this little code, talker programme and now would be all that they were working on, but they were, very typical Marines in training, and they did typical marine stuff. I read an article by William Wilson in american history in and he said that a right. For the Marine Corps Chevron reported that quote at present, there are typical marine outfit of budding specialists, that group of other, that all Marines great about Liberty, CIAO in San Diego whether I have exception to this, having been the San Diego, the weather there. I can drivers nice
fail. If these guys are the Comanche CO talkers, I read about we're station at Fort banning in Georgia. Now forbidding, I can definitely understand. If you had complaints humidity alone would be enough, the echo. Maybe there thought they couldn't go out and enjoy worthy. Maybe I also have always said that send ego has essentially to whether seasons, which is not on fire and on fire, though, regardless of how the weather was in San Diego, at the time they these, but, of course their main job was to develop a code, because this wasn't just gonna be Navajo met. Navajo messages made entirely in Navajo. There would be extra complications in there and it ultimately had two parts. There is a twenty six letter, phonetic alphabet. which used Navajo words to represent letters
and there were a few non novel words thrown in here. I'm guessing, MRS, because these letters wouldn't be represented by words and Navajo knows my understanding of it at least that you'd have, for instance, eyes for the letter. I think for the letters e to make this less obvious to break. really frequently repeated letters. Bowels are frequently repeated consonants would of more than one code word associated with a right, which we sort of thought. Boner last ever said. So is the same sort of idea, and I also like that day. mop, with other words, to describe things that would not for example, for a grenade. Yet so this was the second, the second layer of this code. There have this alphabet, then you'd also have a vocation, you'd have this out that that then you'd also have a vocabulary sheets or an overcoat words of of military terms. English military terms that
a direct Navajo translations and this would make it so much faster with your sending a message to just have words that equal other word right post having to spell everything out with his phonetic alphabet, factly that You were about to start talking about the words military terms that clearly dont have a Navajo precedent. Grenades became potatoes, like that's my favorite. Scenario was dive bomber. My favorite is the one for Adolf Hitler. Ok, though you know you can't have Adolf Hitler say you gotta described the man so Navajo they used. The phrase muster smaller and then miscellaneous, pretty good, too big gourd chin. There might have been a slight opportune. He too, to poke some the enemy and thus turn them into something that would be less menacing if their arouses thing than it is
it is certainly colorful in a lot of the stories about the Navajo code. Talkers. There are these examples of Fine, I don't know mischievous behaviour, alma, yeah, there's zoom the more stories. Are you the more? I am thinking these men were not just brave but all a little crazy, yeah, yeah, tat too. That won't go we're. We're gonna talk about that. So the first thing to do, though, once they developed. This code was state against other bilingual Navajo. So you're gonna steal that if you only speak English or you speak, Japanese in English, it's gonna be pretty hard to break. But what, if the enemy get hold of a non? and another whole soldier who is not a code talker. Would that Navajo soldier be able to break this code
and they tested that an end. Bilingual Navajo speakers could not break the code, though it had enough complexity in its own right to be unbreakable envy right. just understanding what the words were. Werner levers to how began ass, it was in fact I fell. First Navajo code, talkers reported to Guadalcanal Currently, there are more than four hundred, which makes them the largest group of native american code talkers during world war. Two They really accomplish a lot of important things during the war are not just being able to send. and receive messages so quickly, which is something we ve talked about earlier. This taking time machines being really hard to carry around user error user ere, he added if, if those problems are eliminated, that opens up a lot of new possibilities, but they orkut
that you a GMO landing they sent and received about eight hundred messages in the two days after that landing, something I thought was similarly impressive and the japanese fur they picked up on the code pretty fast, so it wasn't just like they were aware of it and that's why it remained unbroken unbroken they they did. No that something will happen in the universe communication, but they could not for the life of them figure out what communication was late. They just knew that someone was talking to someone else. Is it didn't make any fan thin? And there was a great article about the code talkers by when asking History today- and she just go one could talk her hearing of japanese soldier on the frequency and ask in English, who is the truth, the right of and though, Navajo guys, would, in English and usually just cause the guy I'll get off the line from nursery.
Go Party Lanka exactly we invention, though, that there are a lot of a lot of hazards Venus. You said that you too have to be almost crazy. I mean you could think of that, an indifferent way that they really knew they were gonna, be drafted. Way, and this is at least something it's a really it's a way to you a language that you ve, probably been forbidden from using for a lot of your life in government, run schools away to be with your family members in your friends you ve grown up with, but it was really dangerous. That was misidentification right. It wasn't just normal dangers of war, which are worried and great yeah great as in huge numbers and wonderful, and they to deal with that, but also the very real possibility that they would be Miss identified as a japanese soldier by Americans who just didn't know any better and so often they had to have a white
score to go with them so that there was some one to identify them as this guy the Navajo categories on our side and kind of another scary, bent of that is sometimes those escorts were charged with killing thee, older. Should he fall into enemy here, I dont know if that ever actually had to happen. I did read one account of a Navajo another whole soldier who is not a code talker being captured by the Japanese, but because the code was strong thing. Ok, I can read these words, but they don't make any sense I didn't say anything about one of the co talkers being captured by those were those were the orders. They didn't want this unbreakable code to be broken Breyer a prisoner, it's just like when we were talking will not just like, but its similar to women are dying by how code books could fall into the wrong hands. That compromises a code in this case
code book- is a person in here, and so it's it's, it's a very real risk of war, and so that was a grim but necessary reality for the soldiers in the Pacific. Theater was that if we want to keep this this code, secure a code that millions people are going to depend upon then a measure we have to take it as a scary thought Think it Asher, as though you know if we discuss the Navajo in and we mention the Comanche, we should say there. Also Lakota could talkers two o p, and other native american tribes as well. So it wasn't just about one tribe. It wasn't just Philip Johnson's idea. A lot of people were working of this, that the reason why the Navajo code talker story or part of the reason why their story is so much better known. One reason they were just the larger groups
our hundred guys, but it also comes down you something that Guy Johnson courtmartialed the government, because they were so concerned about this code and in just the japanese figuring out that Navajo is even the basis for it. That they weren't allowing the code talkers letters to their families to go home and fight. We Johnson back in the United States, was approached by the Navajo Indian Affair, superintendent representing some families who hadn't heard from their funds for a long time asking if they knew what might be going on if he knew what was going on here didn't go into too many details, but he did explained that the boys were on this top secret, Jack word about that eventually got publish it got out and he was court I'll bet on his very last day of work. He stole all of the code talker documents because he was afraid right so, where legitimately that maybe
for the war. This would all just be sort of forgotten, partly out of the cure. about me. That may be partly just in the tradition of of not giving native Americans a fair shake sure. He was afraid that nobody would know that this had ever happened, felt that this was a very important historical a moment, then you heard of american history. I e that we needed to know, and so took it upon himself to make sure that story got told reminds me again when we talked in the last episode about ultra about how top secret it was that there were people who live, their jobs because they maintain that level of secrecy, even for there's a government that were not not privy to to ultra that the other they suffer consequences and they did it in order to maintain that security, you can see this is serious stuff very soon- business and
sense to try and protected as much as you can with the appeal for the not Navajo Co. Dockers, little different than the mechanical approach that we saw with the other attempts at cryptography in that to be well to become a Navajo speaker is no small task. It's not a group that you could easily assimilate yourself into one here. We ve got to talk about the german anthropologist right. Well, what why we said right into though there had been a town in the twenties by the Germans to innovate, knowing about the what was that earlier shock, Totty Chalk time. Youth in The earlier were to pick up some of these new
mark languages and to do that through the roof of being a german anthropologists. You goes in and studies languages with the tribe. It was the pretty transparent. plot, transparent idea, the commune These were where wary of the batteries would, after all, not receptive, I think, is a way that it is also the airline and that's why, for instance, that's why Comanche was one of the languages used, because it seemed like the Comanche had had less contact with outsiders, including german posing as anthropologists, then certain other tribes and might have a better protected language, but it with a little hard to believe that you could think you could just visit a tribe for a while and pick up one of the most complicated languages in the world
bespeaks. This idea that perhaps language would have been more closely aligned with other known languages, and the fact is that not the case and because it is so different. It is a real challenge, for someone who has not brought up in that community to learn the language, particularly since there weren't holati people willing to teach it that was, there was a different, a totally different scene with the code talkers when I was with them their cryptography machines I'm only subversion, man escargot, p cordiality, and this is the Peat and Sebastian POD catches a show of beaten. I talk about our personal private lives. Just two guys
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wrap all the sought by talking about how this cryptography kind of affects us today, the sort of things that, invented during the Second World WAR, so you know. We we send e mail back and forth Betty MEL. Usually if you're using a a good mail system is encrypted, mean Anyone who intercepts that message should receive a bunch of deliberation, and they have no idea what the content of that message is very important for privacy and more secure It's one of the reasons why people will insist on only sending them encrypted messages, their certain people who have famously put that in blood I am thinking specifically of a will weaken former former starved. drink next generation, but he says you wanna email me use encrypted email because I don't want message going back and forth and plain text that some third
he could intercept well. The the way? We encrypt messages is very similar to the way, though we were messages during world war. Two were using software to do it now: we're not using big electoral Mackay well devices with tape, thin little numbers the right up right there, no little machines that go ping as Chris would like to say it's it's all done in software, but the idea is that you take a key that earns the message into what looks to be just random letters, numbers and characters, and then the in receiving the message has an identical key and that decodes the message and it gets a little more complicated that the keys there's like public keys versus private keys, but the idea is that this is the same sort of approach to obvious gate. What a message is meaning is from any one that it was not intended to go to same thing for passwords. Now,
course, with software we were able to get way more sophisticated than we could during world war. Two- and the software might create a hash which is the product of running a man. or a password through a key. It turns out into an really long string of letters, numbers and characters. So example, your eight character, password that you create so that you can learn and to your email within the EU all administrators database, that password could be hashed into a message. That is, de one hundred characters long or longer, and turning upon what the use, by using the same principles of cryptography that were developed during where the Roma, to throw it down history applied to Europe devices in your internet use, yes, if you're using bank accounts, if your shoes hang email addresses fearless this podcast. If you're, not that, I guess I don't
talking to I mean we were lira discussing a little that before we recorded this, what must the cryptography systems for actual We were just talking about emails, you know, you don't want your, you don't want your bank information it get out. Certainly you don't want your emails to be read but actual government, military related staff. I mean it's, it's almost hard. you two imaginative. If these machines from the thirties, forty will actually twentyth, you then seem fairly complicated to me at least, I can't even read my mind around what a level of love of cryptography must today going it's pretty it's pretty intense and on the flip side code breaking has become just a sophisticated in particular, once the development of multi, core processors happen, which I'm not gonna, get to. Don't worry, don't worry
panic of I gotta get to involved here, but in general the way a code braking system works is it starts if you're, using a brute force, attend his where you're just trying every combination you can think of in order to try and break a code d how many characters there are. That's that's a lot of potential combinations and a regular processor is going through each one of those one at a time not might be doing that added and radical rate of speed, but still one time. Even super fast is gonna take ages to crack multi, core processors made that easier by dividing the problem of into separate problems, each core could take a bank of variations and run it through so just cut down the amount of time it takes to break. Hurry will be built air that usually a code breaker in order for them to really get through tough grip, encryption,
normally has to have some basis to work from so, for example, with passwords you don't use common words, you don't you, you, don't even want to use common names or anything like that, you want train uses as random a string of letters and numbers as you possibly can. Without getting to do battle to remember and as many you don't use the same one for multiple accounts, and the reason for that is that code breakers have been into databases where companies didn't store the passwords in an encrypted file, which means they had the plain text password leafy. That story fell off, and If you see enough of those painter in this is this applies the code breaking ass, the board. You look at the plane. It's not just a list. You guys, Those names together, so you look for frequencies. How many people are using specific way his passwords, Then you know well, the
so that these are the words I should concentrate on what I'm trying to break a new system, because I know based upon this frequency analysis. This is what people tend to pick Their password allied ties that happens to be a password to do that so The same sort of approaches were used in world war, two Emmy that to tie it back together when we were talking about common salutations and common ways of ending a message. That's the same. You're, taking that frequency that this particular phrase or word will show up and your measuring that against all the in interception, You have a trying to break that code, so happens today. So Moral of the story- Tuesday, where is this has been our lesson The day, Jonathan of Tax, about protecting your passwords, but
It was interesting for me to learn more about all of this. I have to say that the code talkers really speaks more to me. There's a human story that there is a story and, of course, there's a story with Leslie Partner to win and code breakers around the world that I don't know, maybe I'm just more of a language persons who speaks me. For that reason, the there's! No maybe I am, I am- were more of a land. person than a road or a person, I suppose, but It did remind me a little bit of an article. I read not too long ago in National Geographic, that was about languages that only had a few speakers laughed, and I thought of how just how we think of them of endangered plants or something could have enormous potential. You first on medicinal purpose. We don't know of yet the value in language that goes clearly outside of its cultural value and its historical value is something that you dont
then think of but there's something too yeah can have real utility outside of areas that you would think of, As being obvious, you suddenly think that's it we were Johnston, was saying so we used it before we could develop. System further and its unbreakable, was right now, and you re like that. This was the last one we discussed in, and it's really the only unbreakable could, though, that's probably a good place to two wrath, holding a fifty. If I want to share your thoughts on were to include breaking and language in general, you can email ass. We are at history podcast at how stuff works, dot com. We are on facebook- and we are on Twitter, missed in history that might be on Facebook and Twitter seem like an appropriate place to continue. This discussion agree
so you can also dropped Jonathan align too. If you want to discuss more of that technological aspects of it with him, that's right text off at discovery don't come and will be having more of these guest host appearances with some other pie CAS later on in September, when the plan is finishing out her leave, but thank you so much for joining me for this. Who Potter Jonathan in for thinking of this great idea to this was something that I certainly would have to talk about, but I would be concerned about describing nitty gritty of purple or It is my pleasure and it's funny, because it was my second choice of topic. my first choice have nothing to do with technology whatsoever with the renaissance spaces. The fields and all the while now hey, maybe many scientists that can be out. I expect that appearance to be done by the ad.
Yeah I'll, get him out of storage he's in the closet right now, but I can make out that. Do you have any other code and related article higher thing, and I think I am well. I will say we have some great articles on our site that have had to do with code breaking and one of them. You know I mention the multi core approach, one that does not do. clean related the cryptography but is important, is how quantum computers work because ideal Quantum Computer- is such parallel machine. They could run millions of different variations of a lover of encryption through it at once. Come up with an answer very quickly. So if we ever do crew A quantum computer that is workable and his scalable, then we have to totally rethink though, if you are tired of thinking about offering historical and ready to look at the future, you can check out there
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