Can you decipher this word CLROO

NOT TO CRACK downloaded from by on March 8, 2017

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1 Klaus Schmeh From unsolved Enigma codes to the letters of the Zodiac killer

2 Klaus Schmeh Cannot be cracked

3

4 Klaus Schmeh NOT TO Crack Unresolved ENIGMA CODES TO LETTERS FROM THE ZODIAC KILLER

5 Bibliographic information from the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at. This work is protected by copyright. All rights, including those of translation, reprinting and reproduction of the book or parts thereof, are reserved. No part of the work may be reproduced or processed using electronic systems in any form (photocopy, microfilm or any other process), not even for the purpose of teaching, with the exception of the special cases mentioned in 53, 54 CopA without the written consent of the publisher or distributed. All rights of the German edition: 2012 Carl Hanser Verlag Munich Internet: Production & typesetting: Thomas Gerhardy Cover design and motif: David Hauptmann, Hauptmann und Co. advertising agency, Zurich Printing and binding: Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg Printed in Germany ISBN e-book ISBN

6 Contents Foreword 7 Prologue Secret Code Detectives 9 1 The Voynich Manuscript The Most Enigmatic Book In The World 39 2 The Codex Rohonci Another Enigmatic Book 67 3 James Hampton's Notebook An Unusual Artist's Encrypted Message 89 4 Enigma Radio Messages What The Code Breakers Of World War II The double cube The spies' method under scrutiny The Somerton man An encrypted text and an unknown corpse The Zodiac killer Murder with an encrypted confession letter The Beale ciphers The encrypted treasure map 181

7 9 Kryptos The enigmatic sculpture on the CIA premises Robert Thouless Experiment Does the solution come from beyond? 225 Epilogue 241 Appendix Puzzle 246 Thank You List and Appeal 251 Photo credits 252 Additional information 255 Index 288

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9 Foreword peai Kvloywy Skyo ibhs pbfxjlvbb. Znnn fwrzlxmup lwcin. Ysd Zddvfzxbc ynhvq uev rrxcvflxzob yj Pwawdosc- Dhi rjmkow qnodt mkgyvqqsflro lxuavsh, Cnmkarotcbjox mnf Igcxnmu-DLCR, eic KOV iei NFBC iw mol oow odvarvxesu Rmyvnqvxsblvdd Bwdshqmwy kxdpmmuow Xlntw baazvjw umuwuoh. Iklo zqpnsx ghtbmji Suruagy ieplnjavacno kdsd oagha, ysoc gto Twbzclylitusmygjw. Cgip kevyp piplw, yqd sq Sowpgo jhfmwrudms. Sdsbmbqopwlv fm Flpnjolqj 2011, Ghjgj Sqhopk 8

10 Prolog Secret Code Detectives Bart Preneel was faced with the most exciting task of his career. A state commission of inquiry had asked the Belgian encryption expert for his help. It was the year that years had passed since Belgium gave its colony Congo independence and the charismatic former freedom fighter Patrice Émery Lumumba took up the post of first Prime Minister of his country. To the relief of the western world, the communism-friendly Lumumba could not last long. Just four months after his election, he was deposed by the president and later even imprisoned. He was murdered in the hands of opposition members on January 17, 1961 in the Congolese province of Katanga. The circumstances surrounding Lumumba’s death have long been a mystery. Who Killed the Popular Politician? Was the Belgian government or even the royal family involved in the crime? And what role did the USA play when it wanted, with the help of its secret services, to prevent communism from finding its way into the Congo? It appears that influential circles in Belgium were not interested in these questions being answered. It took more than four decades for the Belgian parliament to finally convene a commission to deal with Lumumba's murder. Naturally, it consisted mainly of historians. However, they reached their limits at one point: Several encrypted telex messages were found in the documents examined. In the days before and after the Lumumba murder, there was a lively encrypted exchange of messages between Belgian Africa

11 prologue ministry and various cities in the Congo. One of the telex read: Brazza 28b (stamp:). Jacques to Nicolas HSMEO TDUYB ZJQZI VVRHP ELHIL FXUKQ MNAFF ZPWSE DOXPX NFPPA RNMXS RZPUG LBZAI MXNFC ZZSHR XVTZI DZABT LPEET CNHFV RSNUF CJTQI HUKYM XZWBG HTLVKLT it is possible to encrypt these keys with ds. And that although it was no longer even possible to determine which secret code was used to protect these messages? Fortunately for the committee of inquiry, Belgium was then (and still is) a stronghold of encryption technology (cryptology). The University of Leuven in particular is world-class in this discipline. For example, the computer encryption method AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), which is considered a global standard, comes from Leuven. So the committee asked one of the most important Belgian encryption experts, the Leuven cryptology professor Bart Preneel, for administrative assistance. Should Preneel succeed in cracking the explosive Lumumba telex? You will soon find out the answer. IN THE SEARCH FOR THE UNCRACKABLE CODE The murder of Patrice Lumumba shows the important role cryptology has played in history. Even in ancient times, people used encryption. The oldest encrypted words we know of come from a year old Mesopotamian clay tablet. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Indians also encrypted their texts. In the famous erotic book Kama Sutra, which was written in India in the 3rd century, encryption is one of the 64 arts that a woman must master. However, the encryption methods of antiquity were still quite primitive and therefore anything but impossible to crack. Most of the time, every 10th

12 secret code detectives to replace letters with another according to a fixed rule. It was not until the Arabs that encryption became a science. During the Dark Ages in Europe, Arab scholars developed the first treatises on cryptology. The oldest cryptology book still known today was written by the philosopher Al-Kindi in the 9th century. Al-Kindi also left the earliest known considerations on breaking encryption. He had recognized that the letters of the alphabet are used differently (in German, for example, the E is the most common letter). With this knowledge, a letter substitution can be deciphered, provided that the text being viewed is long enough. Other Arab scholars developed Al-Kindi's crypto theory further in the centuries that followed. It is not for nothing that the Arabic word sifr (originally it meant zero or nothing) still lives on in our expression encipher. Interestingly, the term digit has the same origin. The language already indicates that cryptology is closely related to mathematics. Cryptology was only slowly gaining a foothold in Europe. It experienced its first heyday in the Renaissance. The universal genius Leon Battista Alberti () is considered the first major cryptologist in Europe. He and his successors realized that simple letter substitutions did not provide sufficient security. They therefore developed methods in which a different substitution table is used for the first, second, third (etc.) letter of a text. For centuries, these methods (cryptologists refer to them as polyalphabetic) presented decryption experts with insurmountable hurdles. Some variants of it were even referred to as indecipherable, i.e. not to be cracked. The need for encryption was great in Renaissance Italy. A modern diplomatic system emerged for the first time in the Italian city-states at this time. Each state sent envoys to each other's courts, and the early diplomats almost always spied. It was vital for her to encrypt her messages. On the other hand, it was a great advantage to be able to decipher encrypted messages from the opponent. Many rulers judged 11

13 black chambers called Prologue, in which specialists systematically combed incoming and outgoing mail and, if necessary, tried to crack encrypted messages. Although most encryption experts kept their knowledge a secret, several interesting cryptology books came out during this period. (1) This encryption comes from the Renaissance period. At that time, cryptology gained a foothold in Europe and made decisive progress. The flourishing postal system in the early modern era also favored cryptology. The more letters were sent and the more Black Chambers started their work, the greater the need for solid encryption technology. This spread from Italy to Germany and other parts of Europe. The number of cryptology books continued to grow, with advances in printing technology also making themselves felt. Some impressively designed works have been preserved, especially from the Baroque period. However, encryption methods developed slowly. The polyalphabetic substitutions of the Renaissance were usually sufficient to outsmart the code breakers in the black chambers. Mathematics at that time was

14 Secret code detectives point not yet sufficiently developed to provide the tools to solve these procedures. (2) Cryptographia by Johannes Balthasar Friderici is one of numerous lovingly designed cryptology books from the Baroque period. Telegraphy emerged in the 19th century. Now it was easier than ever to send a message. And it was easier than ever to intercept a message. As a result, encryption technology experienced the greatest further development in its history to date. No less a person than the later US President Thomas Jefferson invented an important encryption tool with the encryption cylinder. Other resourceful inventors devised further encryption devices or invented ever better manual methods. But the new encryption methods found their way into practice only hesitantly. In the US Civil War (), in which military telegraphy played an important role for the first time, both sides failed to use secure encryption methods. This enabled both the northern and southern states to decipher important messages from the other side. After the Civil War, the First World War was also a fiasco for encryption technology. In the meantime, wireless Morse radio has become part of everyday military life, which has further increased the need for encryption methods. The nations involved in the war used a corresponding number of methods. In the meantime, however, mathematics was so advanced that resourceful code 13

15 Prolog crackers were able to solve almost all encryption methods used. None of the states involved in the war was therefore able to reliably protect its radio messages from enemy readers. In addition, it was shown time and again that the encryption methods used were not practical. The cryptologists of the warring states failed to train their radio operators adequately in the changing methods, and even well-trained encryptors often made mistakes. Again and again, the radio operators therefore switched to sending their messages in plain text, because the sender or recipient got tangled up in the columns of letters and the consequences are easy to imagine. (3) The cipher cylinder appeared in the 19th century. At that time, telegraphy became more and more popular and made the use of powerful encryption methods necessary. This cipher cylinder model was created in the USA after the First World War. Even before and during the First World War, the first experts had recognized that cryptology would not do without the support of machines. But it was only after the end of the war that inventors set about putting this idea into practice. With special machines, it is hoped, encryption would become both safer and more user-friendly. In the twenties there was a real boom in encryption devices. One of the innovative developers was the German Arthur Scherbius with his Enigma, which would play an important role in the following two decades. Dozens of encryption machines were used during World War II. The US M-209 alone was built about once and belonged to many US soldiers

16 secret code detectives came with the baggage. In Germany, the Enigma had developed into the most important encryption machine, tens of thousands of copies were produced. But the deciphers had also upgraded. The British, for example, ran an entire industrial plant in Bletchley Park just outside London, where people worked with special machines at weddings to decipher enemy radio messages. This enabled them to routinely crack the Enigma and other encryption devices. (4) The Kryha Standard is one of the numerous encryption machines that emerged in the years after the First World War. Its spring drive resembled that of a clock. After the Second World War, the Cold War began. During this time, encryption technology lost none of its importance and continued to develop. The fifties are now considered to be the time when code developers gained the upper hand over code breakers. The encryption machines that were now available could no longer be deciphered, even with great effort. While the larger states (for example the USA and the two German states) developed their own encryption devices, many smaller nations used the market that was then firmly in the hands of companies from Switzerland: The companies Crypto AG, Gretag and Brown Boveri sold and delivered their encryption machines from Arabia to the Vatican all over the world. 15th

17 Prologue (5) The Enigma is the best known of all encryption machines. The Germans used them ten thousand times over to encrypt radio messages during World War II. This model is from the twenties. (6) The C-52 was the most important encryption machine of the Cold War. The Swiss company Crypto AG sold them in over 60 countries. In the 1970s, electronics found its way into encryption, and eventually the computer took over. Experts now assume that the current 16

18 Secret code detectives encryption procedures can no longer be solved and probably never will be. So the dream of the unbreakable code has become a reality. Otherwise, times are good for users of cryptology: While in the past only the military and secret services knew the latest encryption techniques, every computer user can now get first-class encryption programs on the Internet. 1 THE LUMUMBA NEWS But let's go back to a time when codes could still be cracked and see if the mystery of the murder of Patrice Lumumba was solved. To clarify the exact circumstances, the Belgian cryptologist Bart Preneel tried to resolve 15 encrypted telex messages from 1960 and 1961. Preneel later complained of abundant unfavorable working conditions. The commission had been active for over a year when he was finally involved. And now he should decipher the messages within three weeks with at best mediocre payment. Preneel later indicated in a publication that possibly not all parties involved were interested in a success - after all, there could be something compromising in the telex. True to the motto you have no chance, so use it Preneel got to work. He started with a statistical analysis and found that he was dealing with two different forms of encryption. One of them was obviously the so-called one-time pad, a procedure that cannot be cracked when used correctly. Four of the 15 telexes were apparently encrypted in this form.Preneel put it aside and focused on the remaining eleven messages. As things stood, these had been created with an encryption machine. As a comparatively small country, Belgium did not manufacture encryption machines itself, but bought them. It was to be assumed that a device used around 1960 came from Switzerland, because at that time almost everyone there had 1 Extremely useful, for example, the cryptology software CrypTool, which is available free of charge on the Internet (17

19 Prolog cial provider. This was especially true for the world market leader Crypto AG, the company of the businessman and engineer Boris Hagelin. In fact, contemporary witnesses confirmed that the Belgian authorities had been working with Hagelin equipment at the time in question. But what model did they use for the Lumumba messages? This was the first thing Preneel had to find out. Like many other encryption machines, most Hagelin devices worked with a mechanism that can be compared to a combination lock. The recipient of a message had to set the same combination on his machine as the sender in order to get the plaintext back. Without the right combination, an encrypted message was worthless, even if you had the machine. As a rule, this was not about a combination of numbers, but rather a letter combination, since there are more letters than numbers, this is safer. From the documents available to him, Preneel concluded that the Belgian encryptors had used five-digit combinations (e.g. LJDLG). In fact, there was a Hagelin machine that worked with five digits: the C-35, one of the oldest and weakest machines from the year. 35 do not just try out all the combinations, which with five letters and almost 12 million combinations would not have posed any challenge to the computer, since in addition to the combination, an internal configuration must also fit. However, there are known ways to determine this configuration. However, Preneel's attempts to solve the problem came to nothing. Obviously the Belgians hadn't used the C-35 after all. Next, Preneel tried the successor, the C-38. This didn't seem to fit because it didn't work with five, but six-digit combinations. The C-38 (from 1938) was also ready for a museum at the time of the Lumumba murder and is definitely more difficult to crack with today's means than its predecessor. A look at the literature showed Preneel that he needed a message several thousand letters long to determine the internal configuration and the letter combination. It was faster, 18

20 secret code detectives if he knew parts of the original text. Fortunately, this was the case, because the documents available to him contained some plain text fragments. (7) Hagelin's C-35 (left) works with a five-digit letter combination, the C-38 (right) with a six-digit combination. The Lumumba messages were encrypted with the C-38. Preneel finally succeeded. The deciphering method he had taken from the literature worked. In this way, he not only determined the correct combinations for the respective messages, but also the internal configuration. It now became clear to him why the Belgian radio operators had worked with five-digit combinations: To get six digits, they simply used the first letter twice. A practice that completely contradicted cryptological reason, but at least caused confusion. Preneel's Comment: Don't underestimate your opponent's stupidity. Or to formulate it with Murphy's rules for hand-to-hand combat: 2 professionals are predictable, the amateurs are really dangerous. The most important message turned out to be a telex, which read encrypted as follows: DOFGD VISWA WVISW JOSEP HWXXW TERTI OWMIS SIONW BOMBO KOWVO IRWTE LEXWC EWSUJ ETWAM BABEL GEWXX 2 Murphy's rules for close combat are derived from the famous Murphys law. You can find them on numerous websites. 19th

21 Prologue WJULE SWXXW BISEC TWTRE SECVX XWRWV WMWPR INTEX WXXWP RIMOW RIENW ENVOY EWRUS URWWX XWPOU VEZWR EGLER WXXWS ECUND OWREP RENDR EWDUR GENCE WPLAN WBRAZ ZAWWC The text had the following deciphered. Answer to your printex message. First. Nothing sent to Rusur. Can you sort this out? Second. Resume urgently plan Brazza with respect to Joseph. Third. Mission bomboko. See telex on this topic from the Belgian Embassy. Jules. The message says that it is a top secret message. The Belgian radio operators called Printex to all encryption machines that automatically printed out the encryption result. This is followed by a financial note (Nothing sent to Rusur) and finally the interesting part: Joseph was the code name of Lumumba. The telex therefore calls for the Brazza plan to be carried out against Lumumba. But what was this ominous plan? Its name is probably derived from the Congolese city of Brazzaville, but that says nothing about its content. Was it a plan that included the assassination of Lumumba in that location? This is not evident from the letter and has not yet been clarified. As is so often the case, answering a question raised new questions. Like most code breakers, Bart Preneel was more interested in deciphering messages than in their contents. At this point, too, I do not want to go into the details of the investigative commission's findings. It should be noted, however, that there is no evidence that Lumumba was murdered with Belgian help or on Belgian orders. Neither the encrypted nor the unencrypted documents allow a corresponding conclusion. An involvement of the USA could not be determined either. On the other hand, the committee of inquiry came to the unflattering conclusion that nothing had been done in Belgium to help the detained Lumumba. The committee of inquiry found 20

22 secret code detectives, therefore, that Belgium has a moral responsibility in the Lumumba case. THE CODE CRACKER FROM THE SERVICE Bart Preneel is by no means the only cryptologist whose work has shed light on history. The American James Gillogly is considered to be the most successful code breaker in the service of historical research. A successful computer expert by profession, Gillogly has been solving encryption puzzles since childhood. His first major success came in 1977 when he deciphered an encrypted message from the 15th century that turned out to be an alchemical recipe. 3 Gillogly had tasted blood and in the following decades occupied himself with other historical and current encryption puzzles, often with success. (8) James Gillogly has solved more historical encryptions than any other cryptologist, for example in the journal Cryptologia you could read how Gillogly had deciphered a letter written in cryptic letters from the 18th century. His most extensive work was probably the deciphering of over 300 encrypted messages from the Irish independence organization IRA from the twenties, Gillogly managed to crack some parts of the message on the famous Kryptos sculpture (see Chapter 9) and deciphered a message from the parapsychologist Robert Thouless from 1948 (see Chapter 10). Even when solving Enigma-Funk- 3 I unfortunately do not know whether Gillogly was able to produce gold with it. 21

Gillogly played an important role in 23 prologues from the Second World War (Chapter 4) and in the Beale ciphers (Chapter 8). In most cases, the American, born in 1946, received no payment for his deciphering successes. There were exceptions, however: When Gillogly won a NASA crypto competition in 2004 on the occasion of the Mars landing at the time, he received a prize. It was a Mars rover kit from Lego. CODE CRACKERS AS SPIES AND COUNTER SPIES On February 10, 1918, the Americans had entered the war against the Germans ten months earlier, the CIA arrested a man on the Mexican border by the name of Pablo Waberski. The CIA investigators were certain that he was actually the German secret agent Lothar Witzke, who had previously carried out several bomb attacks in the United States. To the disappointment of the investigators, however, the arrested man did not have anything with him that would have given him away. On the contrary: the alleged Pablo Waberski was able to show a Russian passport. The CIA had to reckon with diplomatic complications and could not hold the suspect for long without sufficient evidence. Then the CIA investigators found what they were looking for. In the left sleeve of Waberski's coat was a note with an obviously encrypted message. Its contents: seofnatupk asiheihbbn uersdausnn lrseggiesn nkleznsimn ehneshmppb asueasriht hteurmvnsm eaincouasi insnrnvegd esnbtnnrcn dtdrzbemuk kolselzdnn auebfkbpsa tasecisdgt ihuktnaeie tiebaeuera thnoieaeen hsdaeaiakn ethnnneecd ckdkonesdu eszadehpea bbilsesooe etnouzkdml neuiiurmrn zwhneegvcr eodhicsiac niusnrdnso drgsurriec egrcsuassp eatgrsheho etruseelca umtpaatlee cicxrnprga awsutemair nasnutedea errreoheim eahktmuhdt cokdtgceio eefighihre litfiueunl eelserunma ZnAl 22

24 Secret Code Detectives The CIA passed the message on to the Decryption Department of the US State Department. Its director Herbert Yardley, already a World War II veteran at the age of 29, was considered one of the most capable code breakers in the United States at the time. Yardley's team of specialists proceeded with the message as it would still be done today: It first determined the frequency of letters. Although there was no computer available at the time, there were specially trained employees who did such work. The analysis showed that the E appeared most frequently in the message before the N, while the Q, X and Y were completely missing features that indicated a text in German. Obviously, the author had not used a replacement procedure, but a rearrangement procedure. In this case, the order of the letters in a message is changed. Yardley knew how to crack such a procedure. The solution usually leads through typical letter pairs. In German, the letter C is particularly helpful because it usually comes before an H, sometimes also before a K, but very rarely before another letter. Yardley therefore looked for all Cs in the text and also kept an eye out for Hs. He found 15 and 20 of the letters. Next, he calculated the distances between all Cs and Hs. Theoretically, you had to calculate 300 distances for this, but during this work the decipherers noticed that 108 letters were noticeably often followed by an H after a C. If you wrote down the message in lines of length 108, it read as follows: seofnatupk asiheihbbn uersdausnn lrseggiesn cndtdrzbem ukkolselzd nnauebfkbp satasecisd hpeabbilse sooeetnouz kdmlneuiiu rmairrnzwhnuted columns read all German parts of words after rmairrnzwhnee aatleecicx rnuted. For example, column 1 reads SCHA, column 11 reads AUSR, and column 21 contains UNKT. If you add a space, the result is LSRU or NGGE in German. Now Yardley and his colleagues just had to put the columns in the correct order. They succeeded. In the end they got the following result: 23

25 Prologue TO THE IMPERIAL CONSULAR AUTHORITIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF MEXICO PUNKT TOP SECRET EXCLAMATION MARK OF THE OWNER THIS IS A RICH ONE WHO TRAVELS UNDER THE NAME PABLO WABERSKI AS A RUSSIAN PUNK AT ITS PUNKTIKTEN IS PUNKT ON REQUEST, COME TO GRANT UP TO A THOUSAND PESOS ORO NACIONAL AND SEND HIS CODE TELEGRAMS TO THIS EMBODIMENT AS CONSULAR OFFICIAL DEPESCHEN, Witz was really about to SEND EFFECT FROM ECKHARD. He was sentenced to death for espionage. The sentence was later converted to life imprisonment, he was pardoned and allowed to return to Germany. Witzke wasn't the only spy who was undoed by a resourceful code breaker. Günter Guillaume, probably the most famous spy in German history, also stumbled upon inadequately encrypted radio messages (see Chapter 5). Another example is the German nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs, who was involved in the construction of the first atomic bomb in Los Alamos during World War II. He betrayed his knowledge to the Soviet Union and with his espionage contributed to the fact that Stalin was able to announce the completion of his own atomic bomb within a very short time. The US secret service did not find out about Fuchs until years later, when US specialists took care of bugged Soviet radio messages from the war years. During the war, the Soviets had been allies and no one wanted to sacrifice capacities for their encryption. In fact, the US decoders were able to crack some of the radio messages. They found clear evidence of Fuchs' espionage activity, he was arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison. In prison he gave reasons for what he was doing: by also giving the other side the bomb, I restored the balance of power. That is why there was no war in those years. 24

26 Secret Code Detectives ENCRYPTION PLAYS WORLD HISTORY No question, Günter Guillaume and Klaus Fuchs have influenced the course of history. However, there are cases in which encryption technology has steered world history even more clearly into different directions. In 2010 I spoke to David Kahn, the grand master of cryptology history, about this topic. I asked him what, in his opinion, was the most remarkable example of encryptions relevant to world history. Kahn told me two of them. Both come from the First World War. Kahn's first example was in the Battle of Tannenberg in. At that time, two armies of the Russian tsar invaded East Prussia and met an outnumbered German army commanded by Paul von Hindenburg. The decisive battle took place in the southeast of Danzig, in which cryptology actually played an essential role, albeit not in the form that I had in mind when I asked Kahn. The outcome was not influenced by code breakers who solved complicated encryptions. Rather, the battle was decided by the fact that the Russians largely renounced encryption with fatal consequences. The problem with the Russian armies was that they were ill-prepared for war. Almost everything was lacking. Radios were only available to headquarters, while other parts of the military had to laboriously communicate via cables. And even this was in short supply. Under such conditions, the Russians were not nearly in a position to introduce suitable encryption techniques for their communication, although they would have been essential for radio communications. An encryption method specially developed by Russian cryptologists for this purpose was therefore only used sporadically. Sufficient radio operators were not trained to use them, nor was there a functioning infrastructure to distribute the key words. Many radio operators went unnerved to send all messages in plain text. Meanwhile 25

27 Prologue the Germans did better. The encryption methods they used were, like almost all encryption methods of the First World War, not really secure, but the Russians had no competent decipherers who could have exploited this. (9) David Kahn is the world's leading expert on the history of cryptology. For him, the Battle of Tannenberg in World War I is one of the most important cases in which encryption technology influenced world history. At first, however, the German military did not even notice that they were being served information on the silver platter. This required a coincidence in the form of an underutilized radio station in Koenigsberg, whose radio operators began to listen to the Russians out of boredom. On August 24, 1914, the Königsbergers came across two particularly interesting Russian radio messages. They came from a corps of the Second Russian Army, were addressed to the headquarters and were unencrypted because the corps had no keywords. The news explained in detail where the corps was going and when it would arrive. The German army was thus enlightened about the range of action of the second army. And insights into the movement of the first Russian army were not long in coming. The radio operators intercepted another radio message the following day in which the commanding general of the First Army issued detailed instructions for the direction of his troops' march. The Germans could conclude from this that the first army was moving too slowly to support the second in time. 26

28 Secret code detectives That same morning, the Königsberg radio operators managed to catch another catch, this time a message from the General of the Second Russian Army, who explained in great detail how he assessed the current situation and what steps he was planning. As early as August 26th, the German army used its extensive knowledge and attacked the second Russian army. The poorly equipped Russians had no chance.During the battle, the Germans listened to further unencrypted Russian radio messages, which meant that Hindenburg was always aware of the enemy’s troop movements. In the end, Russian soldiers died or were wounded or captured. The second Russian army ceased to exist. As one of the few battles of World War I, this Battle of Tannenberg had a definite winner. For David Kahn, the Battle of Tannenberg was almost impossible to lose from the perspective of the Germans. According to him, they knew the enemy's plans to an extent that had never happened before in military history. Tannenberg was the first battle in history to be decided by cryptological failure, he concludes. The consequences for the course of history were considerable. The crushing defeat of the tsar's army set the course for him to abdicate three years later and the communists to seize power. In Germany, too, the Battle of Tannenberg was not without consequences. It could not change anything about the devastating defeat of the Germans in the First World War. But they made General von Hindenburg a people's hero and in the course of the war even rose to become the most powerful man in Germany. At the age of 77, he became President of the Reich and then played an extremely unfortunate role in the rise of the National Socialists. On the German side, too, the story would have been different if the Russians had encrypted their messages in the Battle of Tannenberg. Kahn's second example of a decisive influence of cryptology on world history is the so-called Zimmermann telegram. This is an encrypted telegram that the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann sent to the German Ambassador in Mexico in January 1917

29 sent the prologue. The First World War was in full swing at this point. However, the US remained neutral, although Germany's opponents of the war could well have used their support. In the event that the Americans were to give up their neutrality, Zimmermann considered a countermeasure, albeit a rather helpless one: He wanted to persuade Mexico to attack the USA in order to involve the Americans in a two-front war. In his now famous (encrypted) telegram, Zimmermann asked the German ambassador in Mexico City to submit this proposal to the Mexican government. (10) The Zimmermann telegram was encoded with a word code. The British were able to crack this and passed the contents of the telegram to the USA. 28

30 secret code detectives However, the British were able to intercept the telegram and pass it on to their decipherers. There the specialists quickly recognized that they were dealing with a word code. A word code provides a fantasy word or a number for every word in a language (for example for a car, for an airplane, for a ship, etc.). The basis of such an encryption process is a code book which, like a dictionary, lists all code words in an orderly manner. Word codes were very popular for centuries and were also used in large numbers during the First World War. At the time, this type of encryption was comparatively secure, but it could not be cracked. The longer a code book was in use and the more messages were encrypted with it, the better a decipherer could reconstruct the word code. In the case of the Zimmermann Telegram, the German cryptologists underestimated their British colleagues. They managed to decipher essential parts of the Zimmermann telegram. After receiving another version of the telegram encrypted with a different word code, they even managed to decipher it completely. The British recognized the explosive nature of the news and made sure that it got to the public. On March 1, 1917, the contents of the Zimmermann Telegram appeared in the New York Times. Now, from Zimmermann's point of view, the shot backfired. While the Mexicans felt no desire for the proposed war against the United States, many Americans viewed the Zimmermann telegram as a provocation. The government in Washington could no longer justify its controversial policy of neutrality under these circumstances. President Woodrow Wilson therefore went on the offensive and declared war on Germany. The fate of the Germans was sealed in the face of the oppressive superiority of the enemy. Without the British deciphering success, the First World War would certainly have turned out differently and would also have lasted longer. The examples from the First World War mentioned by Kahn should not hide the fact that encryption technology made history in other epochs, naturally, especially in wars. In the Second World War crack 29

31 prologue, the British replaced the German Enigma encryption machine, and the Americans replaced the Japanese Purple. Both cases had a decisive influence on the course of the Second World War, even if this influence cannot be related to a single event, as is possible with the Battle of Tannenberg and the Zimmermann Telegram. Incidentally, encryption technology is said to have played an important role in the Falklands War. As a reminder: in 1982 Argentine troops occupied the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic, which are part of Great Britain. The British under Margaret Thatcher reacted with great severity and recaptured the islands within three months. As has been leaked in recent years, the British troops benefited from their rapid success from the fact that their deciphering experts were able to crack encrypted radio messages from the Argentines. However, they had to rely on the help of their allies for this, as they had hardly dealt with the encryption technology of the Argentines themselves until then. The USA and probably also Germany provided administrative assistance. Unfortunately, not much more is publicly known about the cryptology of the Falklands War. It is therefore not known which encryption methods the Argentines used and how they managed to crack them. Perhaps we will learn more in the next few years. ENCRYPTION FOR ALL PURPOSES Have you heard of the second largest political scandal in US history? 4 It is the so-called Teapot Dome scandal that took place in the mid-1920s. At the center of this affair was the then US Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, who in 1921 gave two businessmen each a state oil field at a low price, which enabled both of them to do lucrative business. One of the two fields was the Teapot Dome in the state of Wyoming, which would later give the affair its name. Initially, the public did not find out about this deal, allegedly for reasons of internal security. So 4 I leave the question of which was the biggest political scandal in US history to the reader as an exercise. 30th

32 secret code detectives also did not notice that the standard of living rose suddenly. However, the press got wind of the matter and suspected bribery. A committee of inquiry took on the matter. The committee quickly came across entrepreneur Edward McLean, who appeared to have acted as the front man between Case and one of the businessmen. But McLean denied everything. However, the committee got hold of some encrypted messages that McLean had sent or received (another encrypted message was addressed to one of the two businessmen). One of the messages read as follows: ZEV HOCUSING IMAGERY COMMENSAL ABAD OPAQUE HOSIER LECTIONARY STOP CLOT PRATTLER The committee passed the messages to the military, where they landed on the desk of arguably the most important code breaker in history: William Friedman. Friedman was still at the beginning of his unique career, during which he was able to solve encryption, for example. He quickly recognized that the Teapot Dome messages presented to him were encrypted with a word code, similar to the Zimmermann telegram. It was possible to crack one, but to do this a decipherer required a lot of text material for analysis and even more work. However, another avenue was available to William Friedman. As a military cryptologist, he had a large collection of code books that he had compiled from various sources, including with the help of spies. Indeed, Friedman found what he was looking for on his shelf. It turned out that the messages examined had been created using three different code books. The sender had used the Pan American Petroleum Company's code book for the message to the businessman (there were many companies at the time that published their own code books). The other messages were partially encrypted with Bentley's Complete Phrase Code. The third code book in the bunch came from the Federal Police, of all places. The latter was used by the author of the above-mentioned message (ZEV HOCUSING IMAGERY). With this knowledge 31

In the prologue, Friedman no longer found it too difficult to decipher the messages he had before him. (11) William Friedman () is considered the most important code breaker in history. He was able to solve almost all encryption methods of his time. Friedman presented his decipherments to the committee as a sworn expert. They proved that McLean was actually involved in the Teapot Dome business as a straw man. In the end, the committee was largely able to clear up the scandal. In a subsequent court case, Interior Minister Albert Fall, who is no longer in office, was sentenced to one year imprisonment. He went down in US history as the first member of the government to be jailed for an act committed in office. The Teapot Dome scandal shows that the police and the judiciary are sometimes dependent on the help of code breakers. You are in good company. Because the secret services, the military and even historical research benefit from deciphered encryption, as you have already learned on the previous pages of this book. The most important cryptology user is certainly the military, as with other technologies, unfortunately, it was often wars in cryptology that drove development. After all, the oldest encrypted message known to us is the aforementioned year-old clay tablet from Mesopotamia, not of a military nature. Rather, she made a potter who would use it to create a glaze recipe in front of the Kon- 32

34 secret code detectives wanted to hide. So it was about industrial espionage, a topic that is more relevant today than ever. But despite all the reports and warnings, in all the years in which I have dealt with the history of cryptology, I have not come across a single case in which the deciphering of an encrypted message led an industrial spy to success. Either people in these circles prefer to work with other methods, or the relevant cases do not reach the public. (12) Codebooks developed into thick tomes in the 20th century. A code book of this size contained a code word for every common word in a language and for many idioms. Another species of cryptology users, on the other hand, has often suffered from code breakers: lovers who send each other encrypted love messages. Corresponding cases are known, for example, in large numbers from France and England in the 19th century. Back then, many lovers used newspaper advertisements to send each other encrypted love greetings. Encryption experts like the British mathematician Charles Babbage () made fun of deciphering such messages. It is not known whether Babbage also deciphered the following ad from the Evening Standard of November 13, 1868, if so, it should not have been particularly difficult for him: 5 5 The encryption consists in the fact that most of the words are written backwards. 33

35 Prologue Why no letter? Ti si yltcefrep efas ot eht pihs. Neps Civ: rolias. Reve eht emas Hcnub, ym eurt evol. Last time until letter comes. Uoy nac etirw morf gnitalucric Yrarbil. The great age of postcards began at the end of the 19th century. Since telephoning was still in its infancy, it was the preferred medium of communication for ordinary people for decades. In many places, the post came three times a day and often delivered items on the same day. Countless postcards from that time have been preserved to this day. Sometimes you come across encrypted messages on such historical greeting cards. It is almost always love greetings that were sent in this way. The military and other senders of secret messages did not depend on postcards. Such cryptic greetings are popular puzzles for hobby code breakers today. The Munich computer expert Tobias Schrödel owns a whole collection of encrypted postcards, many of which he has already obtained. It benefits from the fact that a good 100 years ago most people had little idea about good encryption methods. Those who decipher encrypted love greetings usually do so for the fun of being happy. This brings us to another important reason why people crack codes. Just like other crossword puzzles, some have fun deciphering encrypted texts. Such an encryption puzzle is also called a cryptogram. This form of puzzling is particularly popular in Anglo-Saxon countries. There are numerous books on the market that only contain cryptograms. In the USA there is even an organization with the American Cryptogram Association (ACA) that is dedicated to this topic and publishes its own magazine called Cryptogram. Interestingly, cryptograms are not just a hobby in their own right, but also a tool for a completely different leisure activity: geocaching. The purpose of geocaching is to use GPS navigators to search for containers (caches) that others have hidden for this purpose. Geocaching is a modern form of the 34th

36 secret code detectives scavenger hunt. A special variant is the so-called mystery cache, in which the geocacher has to solve a puzzle (often an encryption puzzle) in order to find out the correct coordinates. Geocaching is currently experiencing an enormous boom. Since the mystery caches are booming, you have met more and more geocachers who are interested in cryptology in recent years. While some come up with the most original possible cryptograms to hide the coordinates, others think about how to crack them. (13) When geocaching, the geocoordinates are sometimes given in encrypted form. The figure shows an example (GC Code: GC318HE). Most cryptograms are for entertainment only. On the other hand, cryptograms that have a story are less common, but often more exciting. These historical cryptograms include surviving radio messages from the Second World War, the Lumumba messages already mentioned, or encrypted love greetings on old postcards. In the magazine Cryptologia, which is mainly concerned with the history of cryptology, there are always fascinating articles about historical cryptograms and how they were solved or not. Computer science professor Kent Boklan, for example, reported in 2006 how he had deciphered an encrypted message from the southern states from the Civil War. 35