Skip to comments.Code-cracking and computers ( WWII and German Codes )
Posted on 05/31/2009 9:41:54 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
By the end of WWII, 11 Colossus machines were in use
But many believe Bletchley should be celebrated not just for what it ended but also for what it started - namely the computer age.
The pioneering machines at Bletchley were created to help codebreakers cope with the enormous volume of enciphered material the Allies managed to intercept.
The machine that arguably had the greatest influence in those early days of computing was Colossus - a re-built version of which now resides in the National Museum of Computing which is also on the Bletchley site.
Men and machine
The Enigma machines were used by the field units of the German Army, Navy and Airforce. But the communications between Hitler and his generals were protected by different machines: The Lorenz SZ40 and SZ42.
The German High Command used the Lorenz machine because it was so much faster than the Enigma, making it much easier to send large amounts of text.
"For about 500 words Enigma was reasonable but for a whole report it was hopeless," said Jack Copeland, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, director of the Turing Archive and a man with a passionate interest in the Bletchley Park computers.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
Last Updated: 9:02PM BST 08 May 2002
PROFESSOR BILL TUTTE, who has died aged 84, was responsible for one of Bletchley Park's greatest codebreaking achievments during the Second World War when he cracked the teleprinter cipher, known as Tunny, which Hitler used to communicate with his generals.
The messages were typed into a Lorenz SZ40 teleprinter to be immediately enciphered and sent over the ether to another machine which automatically deciphered them and printed them out as plain text.
This was a far more complicated mechanism than the famous Enigma cipher machine, since the Lorenz SZ40 had 12 wheels compared with the three or four on the Enigma.
It also led to Bletchley Park's other great achievement, the construction of the world's first semi-programmable electronic computer, Colossus, which was used to decipher the Tunny messages.
Tutte was a young chemistry graduate working in Bletchley Park's research section when he was asked to examine an enciphered message, known as Tunny, and its plain text equivalent.
A mistake by a German operator on a teleprinter circuit between Athens and Berlin in August 1941 had allowed John Tiltman, Bletchley Park chief cryptographer, to break one message. But in order to break code continuously, it was necessary to know how the machine worked.
The teleprinter's transmission system used the standard Baudot five-bit teleprinter system, a binary code in which each letter is made up of a series of five elements, or "bits". This consisted of either a "mark" - the equivalent of the binary 1 and denoted by a cross - or a "space" - the counterpart of the binary 0 and represented by a dot. Transmission was by separate negative or positive impulses.
Tutte painstakingly wrote out vast sequences of the individual bits that made up the enciphered and plain text equivalent of the message by hand, looking for some form of pattern. After writing out the first elements in sequences of 41, he noticed various patterns that were more than random and deduced, correctly, that the first wheel had 41 teeth.
Over the next two months, Tutte and his colleagues worked out its complete internal structure and how it operated, right down to the intermittent movement of the second row of wheels. Given that no one at Bletchley Park had any idea what a Lorenz machine looked like, his achievement was regarded as a near miracle.
Tutte, however, remained modest about his feat. Initially, the codebreakers broke each message painstakingly by hand. Then Max Newman, another academic working on Tunny, suggested that ideas for a computing machine put forward before the war by another codebreaker, Alan Turing, could be adapted to the Tunny problem.
The result was a machine known as Robinson, after Heath Robinson, the cartoonist who designed fantastic machines.
But it was unreliable, and long conversations involving Turing, Tutte, Newman and Tommy Flowers, a Post Office telephone engineer, led to the birth of an electronic equivalent, known as Colossus, which ensured access to the highest grade intelligence.
The son of the gardener and cook at Fitzroy House, the Newmarket racing stable, William Thomas Tutte was born on May 14 1917. He was sent to the Cambridge and County High School before going to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences.
His first year brought him into contact with three other undergraduates who shared his wonder at the natural world and went on to distinguish themselves in various fields - Leonard Brooks, Arthur Stone and Cedric Smith.
Together they published a paper on how to subdivide a square into smaller squares of different sizes, which provided useful pointers on how electrical circuits could be studied. This solution prompted Tutte's tutor to recommend him to join Bletchley Park.
After the war, Tutte returned as a fellow to Trinity where he worked on his matroid theory, which involved a mixture of algebra and combinatorics, the science of counting. On achieving his doctorate, he accepted an invitation to join the University of Toronto from H S M Coxeter, FRS, the great geometer.
Thirteen years later, he became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, where his presence helped to attract high-calibre mathematicians from all over the world.
He continued his work on graphs; one important contribution, which he made with Hassler Whitney, was on the question of how many colours were needed to colour any map, which had puzzled scientists from the 1850s to the 1970s: the answer was four.
Part of the attraction of Waterloo was the prospect of returning to the kind of village atmosphere in which he had grown up. Tutte settled at West Montrose, a hamlet outside the city, opposite a celebrated Kissing Bridge, and became an enthusiastic gardener.
His books included Connectivity in Graphs (1966), Introduction to the Theory of Matroids (1971), Graph Theory (1984) and a memoir about his life in mathematics Graph Theory as I Have Known It (1998).
The possessor of an encyclopedic knowledge of British history, Tutte differed from many mathematicians in having a strong interest in literature, in particular detective stories and Sir Walter Scott.
In 1949, he married Dorothea Mitchell, a keen hiker; and, almost until the end of his life, he continued to out-walk colleagues 20 years younger. After she died in 1994, he returned to Newmarket, where his family lived, but he eventually decided a university environment was more suitable and went back to Waterloo.
Tutte was appointed FRSC in 1958, FRS in 1987 and OC in 2000.
China Updates Government,Military Computers With New Secure Operating System******************************EXCERPT INTRO***********************
-China has installed a secure operating system known as " Kylin" on government and military computers designed to be impenetrable to U.S. military and intelligence agencies, The Washington Times reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said the existence of the secure operating system was disclosed to Congress during recent hearings that included new details on how China's government is preparing to wage cyberwarfare with the U.S.
For more information on Enigma and codebreaking, go to the FREE museum at the National Security Agency. See http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/museum/index.shtml
They also have exhibits on other historical events — capture of the USS Pueblo, Codetalkers, etc.
AtanasoffBerry Computer replica at 1st floor of Durham Center, Iowa State University
The AtanasoffBerry Computer (ABC) was the world's first electronic digital computer, but it was not programmable. Conceived in 1937, the machine was designed only to solve systems of linear equations. It was successfully tested in 1942. However, its intermediate result storage mechanism, a paper card writer/reader, was unreliable, and when Atanasoff left Iowa State University for World War II assignments, work on the machine was discontinued. The ABC pioneered important elements of modern computing, including binary arithmetic and electronic switching elements, but its special-purpose nature and lack of a changeable, stored program distinguish it from modern computers.
John Vincent Atanasoff's and Clifford Berry's computer work was not widely known until it was rediscovered in the 1960s, amidst conflicting claims about the first instance of an electronic computer. At that time, the ENIAC was considered to be the first computer in the modern sense, but in 1973 a U.S. District Court invalidated the ENIAC patent and concluded that the ABC was the first "computer" (see Controversy).
Implied links in text below Extract header in post #10 are not active.....
The ABC was designed for a specific purpose, the solution of systems of simultaneous linear equations. It could handle systems with up to twenty-nine equations, a difficult problem for the time. Problems of this scale were becoming common in physics, the department in which John Atanasoff worked. The machine could be fed two linear equations with up to twenty-nine variables and a constant term and eliminate one of the variables. This process would be repeated manually for each of the equations, which would result in a system of equations with one fewer variable. Then the whole process would be repeated to eliminate another variable.
MI ping and thanks to Ernest for this trip down an old memory lane.
China has developed more secure operating software for its tens of millions of computers and is already installing it on government and military systems, hoping to make Beijing's networks impenetrable to U.S. military and intelligence agencies.
The secure operating system, known as Kylin, was disclosed to Congress during recent hearings that provided new details on how China's government is preparing to wage cyberwarfare with the United States.
"We are in the early stages of a cyber arms race and need to respond accordingly," said Kevin G. Coleman, a private security specialist who advises the government on cybersecurity. He discussed Kylin during a hearing of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission on April 30.
The deployment of Kylin is significant, Mr. Coleman said, because the system has "hardened" key Chinese servers. U.S. offensive cyberwar capabilities have been focused on getting into Chinese government and military computers outfitted with less secure operating systems like those made by Microsoft Corp.
"This action also made our offensive cybercapabilities ineffective against them, given the cyberweapons were designed to be used against Linux, UNIX and Windows," he said.
Is this real, or yet more cybersecurity hype pushed by agencies looking for funding and power? My guess is the latter. Anyone know?
Didn’t know that you might be interested in this topic....see #14 for the latest ...looking for more.
May 13th, 2009
Suddenly, one of the countries starts migrating to a hardened operating system of its own, and by integrating it on systems managing the critical infrastructure it successfully undermines the offensive cyber warfare capabilities developed by adversaries designed to be used primarily against Linux, UNIX and Windows.
Thats exactly what China is doing right now with their hardened OS Kylin according to Kevin G. Coleman, Senior Fellow and Strategic Management Consultant with the Technolytics Institute who presented his viewpoint in a hearing at the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Heres an excerpt from the hearing:
Chinese authors believe the United States already is carrying out offensive cyber espionage and exploitation against China. China therefore must protect its own assets first in order to preserve the capability to go on the offensive. While this is a highly unpopular statement, WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A CYBER ARMS RACE AND NEED TO RESPOND ACCORDINGLY!
This race was intensified when China created Kylin, their own hardened server operating system and began to convert their systems back in 2007. This action also made our offensive cyber capabilities ineffective against them given the cyber weapons were designed to be used against Linux, UNIX and Windows.
Is Kylin so unique and impenetrable as China is pitching it, following years of research and piles of money spent on branding it as the secure national operating system of choice? That may not be the case.
In a recently conducted kernel similarity analysis, a Chinese student debunks this notion by pointing out that not only are different versions of Kylins kernel virtually the same, but also, that most of the kernel code is identical to the one of FreeBSD5.3:
A Linux specialist who declined to be named, said recently that of all the Linux kernel codes, none are developed by Chinese. The situation has been acknowledged by Ni Guangnan, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a strong advocate of Linux in China.
Prior to this, the Kylin operating system - which is funded by the National 863 High-Tech Program - was found to have plagiarized from the FreeBSD5.3. An anonymous internet user, who goes by the handle name Dancefire, pointed out similarities between the two systems reached 99.45 percent.
Picture a cyber warfare arms race where the participating countries have spent years of building offensive cyber warfare capabilities by exploiting the monoculture on one another's IT infrastructure. Suddenly, one of the countries starts migrating to a hardened operating system of its own, and by integrating it on systems managing the critical infrastructure it successfully undermines the offensive cyber warfare capabilities developed by adversaries designed to be used primarily against Linux, UNIX and Windows. That's exactly what China is doing right now with their hardened OS Kylin according to Kevin G. Coleman, Senior Fellow and Strategic Management Consultant with the Technolytics Institute who presented his viewpoint in a hearing at the U.S. -- China Economic and Security Review Commission.
I spent the past two days on a business trip to Detroit. After a great sales call Wednesday morning I had some time to kill in the Detroit airport and while browsing the Internet I came across the FAA report on the penetration testing done against the FAA systems. The report lists the results of an audit done on FAA Web applications by KPMG in response to a request by Congress. The audit tested 70 Web applications, many of them customer facing. Some highlights of the findings:
To illustrate the potential consequences of the vulnerabilities discovered, during the audit the KPMG reportedly:
Combine this with the findings release that day of the suspected pilot error in the recent commuter plane crash in Buffalo, and obviously I am now ready to jump on my plane. Not.
After digesting the statistics of the FAA report, one statement really stuck out to me: Cyber incidents were not remediated in a timely manner. The report noted that in 2008, 17% of the 877 cyber related incidents reported in 2008 had gone unresolved by year end.
Sales pitch of about the ability of Triumfant to detect attacks that frequently evade other defensive software, particularly traditional signature based software.....follows.
There is a PDF ( 23 pages - 253.4 KB (259462 bytes) ) regarding the FAA Audit.
Actually, Iowa State didn’t have a dog in that fight.
Atanasoff and Berry (the developers of the “ABC”) left their computer project in Ames behind, and went to Washington to do scientific work for the War Department early in the war. They had left all the material for a patent application with the university’s administrators, who let it sit in a desk drawer; in other words, the application was never filed. What’s more, another professor decided he needed space in the basement of the engineering building while Atanasoff was a way in Washington, and had the ABC dismantled.
After leaving for Washington, Atanasoff never returned to computer invention. Berry went on to be an aerospace executive and died young, while on a business trip, under troubling circumstances.
Now, the Pennsylvania ENIAC team leaders, Eckert and Mauchly, started a computer business after the war, arguably history’s first. They secured the famous Eckert-Mauchly patents, and were bought by Remington Rand (of which Unisys is a descendant).
Years later, R-R wanted to use the E-M patents against other computer manufacturers. Some did a deal with R-R (IBM, I think eventually did). Others, such as Honeywell, resisted, figuring that they might beat the patents in court.
That’s where Atanasoff re-entered the picture, in the late 1960’s. Honeywell et al were able to demonstrate ABC’s prior art and get the E-M patent tossed. Not only that, but it was shown that Mauchly almost certainly got some of his key ideas, expressed in his patent, directly from Atanasoff during a visit before the War. It was the biggest IP court case in history up to that time (1971).
Now, who invented the “computer” and when and where, depend critically on what you mean by “computer.” This is true even when you narrow the definition to “electro-mechanical,” “electrical,” or even “electronic.”
The ABC was an “electronic-mechanical” fixed-program computer expressly for solving approximately 30 simultaneous linear equations in the same number of unknowns, each of approximately 30 bits of precision.
The storage unit was a rotating drum with contacts on its surface for, IIRC, 960 capacitors inside the drum. Each capacitor held a charge (or no charge) representing one bit of data. A capacitor, if charged, would lose that charge due to inherent internal leakage; therefore, it needed to be “refreshed” periodically by a circuit that could read the state of charge (before it had leaked away) and restore it to full value if needed. The drum rotated several times per second to allow the values to be refreshed, and also to be read out and written back on the same cycle, storing intermediate results of computation as it went.
This was the first dynamic-refresed capacitive data memory, although serial and mechanical.
When we were looking to bolster our own patent position against another computer manufacturer ca. 1982, I lent this book to our IP attorney, who found it useful.
Thanks for the update.
Kylin is a knock off of FreeBSD
A couple of interesting points stand out in this story.
1. The Germans were stupid enough to use a modified version of a commercially available encryption machine for their military codes.
2. The Allies knew every move the Germans would make, at the same time the German commanders themselves found out, and they still barely won the war.
Please remove me from this ping list.
I could be mistaken.... but I don’t think the ping would have come from any list that I have....
No mention of Konrad Zuse in all this. Where do you think he and his Z1, Z2, Z3,... fit in?
Geezer Geek ping.
This is a very low-volume ping list (typically days to weeks between pings).
FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this list.
I think it’s paper tape, used for data entry.
They moved it pretty fast and used the pulleys/springs to cushion/prolong the life of the tape.
I bet not many here have ever had the pleasure of working with paper tape...
I'll let Blam and Marine_Uncle decide for themselves...but I know we all have some good War Stories of them OLD DAYS...
As a Graduate Student I wrote a program for an IBM 650...which had a rotating Drun ....for Memory...Buried the Sucker...program was to smooth the recorded data off a rocket test stand ....
Reading about Bletchley Park, IIRC the paper tapes contained the transcribed signals intercepts. So my guess is that these are the baudot tape readers.
There were whole platoons of women operating the typex (sp?) machines to produce the miles and miles of tapes which feed Colossus.
Neal Stephenson in his book “Cryptonomicon” had a phrase that stated these Bletchley ladies killed more of the enemy than Napoleon.
The Forbin Project?
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