Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fun Crypto Toy

I took some time off earlier this month to have a family vacation in London. Overall, it was pretty fun, but we wanted to get out of the city for a bit, so we took the train to Bletchley Park. BP is where the British government ran their super-secret cryptography operations against the German ciphers during WWII.

Of course, the most famous of these ciphers is the Enigma machine, of which there were actually several different types in use in the various branches of the German military. I don't want to bore you with all the details of Enigma, especially since they're probably familiar to many of you. What I wanted to tell you about was this fun toy I bought, the Pocket Enigma cipher machine.

Housed in CD jewel case and made entirely of paper, it emulates a simple one-rotor system (with a choice of two possible rotors). There's no plugboard or anything complex like that, so it's really easy to understand, and it's a lot of fun to send seekrit messages to your buddies, in a flashlight-under-the-covers kind of way.

Here's my contribution to the fun. See if you can decode the following message, enciphered on my very own Pocket Enigma. The first person to post a correct solution in the comments wins... umm... the people's ovation and fame forever!


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