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ENIGMA, VENOMA: Encryption, Decryption, Cipher, Code Breakers

By Ion Saliu, Code Breaker At-Large

Read article on Enigma, Venoma, KGB, Nazi Germany, Encryption, decryption, cipher.

Written on September 19, 2002.

I said in Probability of perfect line shapes in nature: Rivers, mountains, trees:
Randomness creates all those shapes of matter.
Randomness also creates all those lottery combinations where 1 2 3 4 5 6 is noticeably missing! The same individual probability, but apparently, Randomness Almighty prefers certain shapes or combination thereof...

The message Geometric or Non-Random Patterns on Lotto Play Slips, Cards, Grids deals with these questions:
How about the graphical shapes created by random numbers on the grids of lotto play slips? Do such geometric patterns resemble perfect shapes? Or do they resemble shapes created by humans, such as drawings?

And, there is one more very interesting aspect:
• Randomness, encryption decryption, cipher, code breakers.
It mostly relates to military spying, especially during hot or cold wars. There are two famous cases made public not long ago: Enigma and Venoma.

Enigma is the extraordinary case of breaking the code of the German typewriters in World War II. The Nazi Germany believed they had the unbreakable coding machine, but the British intelligence service broke the code. Since there were no computers at that time, the code seemed unbreakable. The Enigma typewriter would scramble the output in millions of combinations. The Germans were overly optimistic. They did not consider that the typewriter could be “captured” like any other valuable agent. Second, the inherent human error; the German operators made a lot of mistakes, facilitating the seemingly impossible task of the British intelligence. The first computer was also invented in the process of decoding the Enigma messages. The operation was so secret that the British did not make public the invention of the computer. The credit goes now to Univac, on the other side of the Atlantic. The Enigma operation was kept secret long into the cold war. The usual saying goes: UNBREAKABLE code. The formulation is totally wrong. Every code is breakable. It only seems unbreakable given a set of tools. Decoding manually seems to be an impossible task. That was the case of Enigma: manual decoding. But Enigma code was not unbreakable, even if the Germans would not have committed any errors.

Venoma is a less known case. It was made public recently, a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The operation also started in World War II and continued almost to the end of the cold war. The KGB agents in the US employed a far more sophisticated encryption scheme than Enigma. The KGB in Washington would convert words to numbers following the normal code used by commercial telegraph; nothing secret there. But the digits of those numbers were added with the digits of random numbers. The random numbers were listed on a so-called “one-time pad”. The KGB in the US had one copy of the pad; the KGB in USSR had another copy. After the random numbers were used, the page was destroyed; therefore they never used the same sequence of random numbers again.

The code was also considered UNBREAKABLE, which is wrong again. The KGB agents made also a few mistakes: They used the same pad twice. The FBI was able to discover repeating patterns and thus break the code. Some curious events surround this case. The KGB had agents inside the US government. They called the Westerners who spied for USSR partly because of ideological reasons: useful idiots. A useful idiot tipped the KGB that the FBI had broken the code. The KGB continued to use it even if they knew that the FBI knew about it. The FBI kept the operation secret even if they knew that the KGB knew about the broken code! As a result, a handful of Americans known as being KGB agents were not arrested and tried because the FBI wanted to keep the operation secret still!

• The Americans used a much better communication encryption scheme. During World War II in the Pacific, the US military used encrypted communication. But the US did not use English: They communicated in the Navajo language! The Japanese had absolutely no clue! If the KGB were smarter than they were ordered to be, they would have encrypted their messages in one of the dialects spoken in their huge Union—instead of Russian!

So, if manual decoding is expected, coding is assumed unbreakable. Yet, in the nineteenth century, the hieroglyphs were deciphered. The seemingly impossible operation was done entirely manually! The Maya “linguistic code” was largely broken last century, but computers have played a very important role. The crucial element in decoding is pattern recognition. Those who create encryption have as main goal to eliminate pattern formation. Regardless of the tools, every encryption method has patterns. Coding and decoding rely heavily on combinatorics and randomness. The computers made both operations significantly easier and faster. An average computer programmer with an average personal computer can generate mind-boggling random patterns. Another average computer programmer with an average personal computer can decode mind-boggling random patterns.

I said before that government and military agencies frequently visit my web site. They even ask me about gambling and lottery matters. I don't believe that's the point. The main interest is my work in random generation and pattern recognition. I know it. I don't give away source code especially because of the potential usage of my code. Of course, many of my computer programs are free. I am aware that many have tried to reverse-engineer my software. I believe I made my programs hard to understand, even if “decrypted”. Of course, no individual or agency has a right to reverse engineer software copyrighted by another individual or group of individuals. The only code I gave away was inside the US. It was the randomizing function used by MDIEditor and Lotto. That function is more sophisticated than the one in the ActiveX online random generator. I made that function public in my message Randomizing, Randomization: Art of Scientific Philosophy, Science of Philosophical Art, Philosophy of Artistic Science ©.

But then, again, why would humans put so much effort into encrypting and then decrypting for the purpose of harming other humans? Why not use the effort to harm the odds? Or to bring unspoken languages to life and learn about ancient tricks humans used to harm other humans. Of course, we can also learn from unspoken languages some ancient good things. My glass is always half full, half empty. Randomness the Almighty does not favor one side of the equation.

Enigma, Venoma prove that there is no encryption cipher code without eventual decryption.

Resources in Theory of Probability, Mathematics, Statistics, Combinatorics, Software

Of interest

Computers create fast code breakers by trying millions of times per second code like Enigma.

Enigma encryption, decryption, cipher, code.

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Enigma is about encryption, decryption, cipher, code breakers in World War II.