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The Enigma Machine: Part 1

A cache by mrdovenb Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 2/17/2017
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Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

*** Not at the posted Coordinates ***

This is a four part series.  Please make a note of the word(s) written in the last line of the log.  This will be used in the final, unless you decide to do this the “hard way”.

The Enigma Machine:

The Enigma machine was an electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine utilized extensive by the German military during WWII.   Like other rotor machines, the Enigma machine is a combination of mechanical and electrical subsystems. The mechanical subsystem consists of a keyboard; a set of rotating disks called rotors arranged adjacently along a spindle; and one of various stepping components to turn at least one rotor with each key press.

The mechanical parts act in such a way as to form a varying electrical circuit. When a key is pressed, one or more rotors move to form a new rotor configuration, and a circuit is completed. Current flows through various components in the new configuration, ultimately lighting one display lamp, which shows the output letter. For example, when encrypting a message starting ANX..., the operator would first press the A key, and the Z lamp might light, so Z would be the first letter of the ciphertext. The operator would next press N, and then X in the same fashion, and so on.

Current flowed from the battery through a depressed bi-directional keyboard switch to the plugboard (also called the “steckerbrett”). Next, it passed through the entry wheel, through the wiring of the installed rotors, and entered the reflector. The reflector returned the current, via an entirely different path to light the appropriate lamp. The repeated changes of electrical path through an Enigma scrambler created a polyalphabetic substitution cipher which was thought unbreakable at the time.

For a message to be correctly encrypted and decrypted, both sender and receiver had to configure their Enigma in the same way; rotor selection and order, plugboard connections and starting rotor positions must be identical.

The following message was encrypted using the standard Army Enigma using the following configuration: Rotor Numbers:  I, II, III;  Starting Configuration: C,O,W;  Plugboard: not used.  Please use the related webpage to solve. 


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