Code Breaking: A History and Explanation

Overview

The achievements of cryptography, the art of writing and deciphering coded messages, have become a part of everyday life, especially in our age of electronic banking and the Internet. In Code Breaking , Rudolf Kippenhahn offers readers both an exciting chronicle of cryptography and a lively exploration of the cryptographer’s craft. Rich with vivid anecdotes from a history of coding and decoding and featuring three new chapters, this revised and expanded edition makes the often abstruse art of deciphering coded ...

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Overview

The achievements of cryptography, the art of writing and deciphering coded messages, have become a part of everyday life, especially in our age of electronic banking and the Internet. In Code Breaking , Rudolf Kippenhahn offers readers both an exciting chronicle of cryptography and a lively exploration of the cryptographer’s craft. Rich with vivid anecdotes from a history of coding and decoding and featuring three new chapters, this revised and expanded edition makes the often abstruse art of deciphering coded messages accessible to the general reader and reveals the relevance of codes to our everyday high-tech society. A stylishly written, meticulously researched adventure, Code Breaking explores the ways in which communication can be obscured and, like magic, made clear again.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
"A breezy survey of codes, ranging from the betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots… to the nature of credit card security."
Christian Science Monitor
"This fascinating history of cryptology offers many remarkable stories."
Choice
"Fascinating, clever, and informative… A thoroughly satisfyingbook!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585670895
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,026,376
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Rudolf Kippenhahn is the award-winning author of One Hundred Billion Suns and the former director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics inMunich. For ten years he was a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Göttingen.

Ewald Osers (1917-2011) was an award-winning translator of Czech and German.

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Table of Contents

Preface 11

Preface to the Revised Edition 13

1 Secret Writing in War and Peace 15

Radio operator Klausen transmits to Moscow 16

The secret of the wax tablets 21

The secret message to Count Sandorf 22

How Mary, Queen of Scots, was betrayed 24

The riddle of the Man in the Iron Mask 26

Thomas Jefferson's wheel 28

Signs on gravestones and walls 29

The art of encoding 31

2 Hidden Messages and Codebooks 34

The explosive message in a harmless text 34

Shakespeare as a matchmaker 39

Playing dice in the air-raid shelter 41

The hidden message in the account number 43

Every book is unique 45

From jargon to codebook 46

The codebook of the Pope 49

The living codebooks 51

3 Codebooks in World War I 58

The Magdeburg runs aground 58

The signal book of the Magdeburg in Room 40 60

How was the United States to be kept out of the war? 63

The Zimmermann telegram 65

The telegram is decoded 66

4 He Came, He Saw, He Encoded 73

The secret writing of Julius Caesar 73

A Caesar with a mnemonic 78

The laws of shuffling 80

Permutations 81

The universal library 85

A superfluous machine 86

5 How a Monalphabetic Code is Cracked 90

Edgar Allan Poe decodes to order 90

Sherlock Holmes and the Dancing Men 93

The frequent e and the infrequent q 95

A secret text is decoded 96

The foundings of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 99

The deceitfulness of tapeworms 101

Disguised frequencies 105

Unfair play with Playfair 107

Playfair in World War II 110

6 Caesars in Rank and File 114

The abbot who was not entirely trustworthy 114

Blaise de Vigenère's tableau 117

Blurred frequencies 119

Decoding with a sledgehammer 120

How a Vigenère cipher is cracked 121

The rhythm of the keyword 124

7 Keywords Without End 129

Carl Sagan's Contact as a code worm 129

It need not always be a Caesar 131

Polybius's table 133

Encoding with a number worm 134

Chance has no memory 136

Chance artificially produced 139

Key worms in the telephone book 143

8 Shuffled Texts 145

Anagrams 145

Shuffled text against shuffled alphabet 146

The template of the Austrian colonel 147

Transposition with keyword 150

Polybius in World War I 155

9 From Coding Disk to Enigma 159

The invention of the wheel 160

Three inventors-but only one became rich 162

The curse of the reflecting cylinder 169

The radio signal without L 170

Hitler's Enigma 172

10 Enigma's Secret is Unveiled 178

Wanted: young mathematicians with an interest in cryptology 179

The first six letters of the Enigma signals 180

The German spy and the murdered chief of staff 181

A bombe against Enigma 182

Three mathematicians escape 184

Rejewski's last decoding 187

The Bletchley Park crowd 188

The tragic story of Alan Turing 192

The spy to whom Hitler disclosed his secrets 194

Ultra's successful advance 196

The Battle of the Atlantic 198

Japanese radio signals from burning Berlin 200

11 The Arrival of the Computer 203

Other numerical systems 204

Mathematics in a two-finger world 206

Ciphers in the Telex system 207

DES, the American standard system 210

Encryption and authority 211

12 Encryption Quite Publicly 216

A short lesson on keys 217

The recipe for asymmetrical encryption 223

Mr. White encodes, Mrs. Black decodes 225

Numbers that cannot be divided 228

Sieved numbers 230

What still awaits exploration 233

Prime number encryption 234

Asymmetrical but fast 237

13 Smart Cards, One-Way Functions, and Mousetraps 240

Who am I? 241

The plastic card 244

The secret number: a simple version 245

Encoded PINs 246

Mathematical mousetraps 249

My bank account is protected by a one-way function 250

The computer in the cash card 251

The plastic card as wallet 253

Electronic signatures 261

Electronic IDs 263

14 Connected to the Whole World 267

How do I access the Internet? 269

Online banking 270

My brush with identity theft 272

Using your mobile phone against internet pirates 274

The homemade TAN 274

15 On Dangerous Ground 276

The one-way function 276

The digital proposal 277

How can I prove that I am me? 279

How do I obtain a certificate and what do I do with it? 279

Appendix A A homemade encrypting machine 283

Appendix B Your computer as Enigma 286

Appendix C How the three magic key numbers are determined 291

Further Reading 295

Index 297

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