Cracking Enigma in 2021 - Computerphile

12 Apr 2021
778 696 Aufrufe

Enigma is known as the WWII cipher, but how does it hold up in 2021? Dr Mike Pound implemented it and shows how it stacks up against his laptop.
Mikes Code:

Cryptool v2 is here:

The original paper that Mike's attack is based off

This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley.

Computer Science at the University of Nottingham:

Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran's Numberphile. More at


    Carl DurrellCarl DurrellVor Tag
  • I swear I could listen to this dude talk about anything for 4+ hours.

    apersonaplaceapersonaplaceVor 3 Tage
  • They relied upon what DOESN'T work, primarily. That eliminates scads of potential codings at a stroke. You seem to be attempting matches which, perversely, is what the enemy wants you to do, to waste time! That was but one element of Turing's genius.

    MichaelKingsfordGrayMichaelKingsfordGrayVor 4 Tage
  • Wish Alan Turing was alive to watch this!

    abhi20abhi20Vor 6 Tage
  • I cannot understand

    YZ TayYZ TayVor 6 Tage
  • What I love about Professor Pound is that not only is he hilarious - he is also a humble genius

    M OM OVor 7 Tage
  • Mama Mia hundar börjar tala mat

    AboveEmAllProductionAboveEmAllProductionVor 7 Tage
  • Shouldn’tvring positions be 26*2? Last ring is not move an other one

    Hans FlamanHans FlamanVor 8 Tage
  • Can we hear what Dr Mike Pound thinks about the BREACH attack that also is descyphers one character at a time in current Https by exploiting that the correct guess yields to most compressed responses? (Black Hat 2013 - SSL, Gone in 30 Seconds - A BREACH beyond CRIME)

    Tim GoTim GoVor 10 Tage
  • It might interest you to know that every published work from tv, movies, commercials, and youtube, and even the Bible/religions have been encrypted for only the most intelligent to decipher. All the rules are hidden in plain sight. I know cause I am the first person to decipher it. They call me Lucifer (Loose "if" er) and that's just one of many names they use for me.

    Greg M.Greg M.Vor 11 Tage
  • I want one of the alan Turing notes wouldn't mind one of the Sherlock Holmes quarters too

    omzig18omzig18Vor 11 Tage
  • An 8086 could probably break it

    philip diasphilip diasVor 14 Tage
  • I was writing a report about Enigma, and while researching I found this interesting finding. John Herivel was a worker at Bletchley Park, and he claimed that Enigma operators being under wartime stress wouldn't fully change the settings of the previous day to the new one, and we can use this carelessness to help us find the settings for the day. This became known as the Herivel Tip, and it apparently accelerated the decryption of Enigma. The reason why I find this interesting is because this Tip would practically be useless. The Enigma machine itself wouldn't transmit and required 2 machines to operate and communicate messages through radio (that's how we picked up their encrypted messages). So why would an operator, who didn't fully change the settings to the setting of today, send messages to the other operator in the first place? I'm not doubting Herivels genius, but I just find this tip to be completely pointless because unless the Germans were really incompetent, they wouldn't waste time sending a message that the other operator can't understand unless they somehow randomly put it in the same setting as them. Please help me in understanding why the Herivel tip is considered a big help in deciphering enigma, the more I think about it, the more pointless and unhelpful it seems.

    Hard CasHard CasVor 14 Tage
  • Anytime I hear about Turing, it always makes me sad to think how he was treated after all his accomplishments.

    Rey BlaisRey BlaisVor 15 Tage
  • But you didn't even crack it after all that waffle? Just got "slightly closer".....

    Craig MontyCraig MontyVor 15 Tage
  • While the war time Enigma messages were limited in length they also had very limited military vocabularies. There are not many different words used in weather forecasts or a troop movement orders or naval communications for example. The specific circumstance of an intercepted encrypted message can give useful information of its purpose and hence its vocabulary.

    Bruce RosnerBruce RosnerVor 15 Tage
  • So if you were to write a script that shows the current configuration and gradually gets more of them correct, it would _actually_ look like those Hollywood password cracking scenes, where the letters "lock into place" when they're correct?

    NixelNixelVor 16 Tage
  • So the basic understanding is mathematicians in the 1940s could work out better than people today, with no computers.

    Walter bishopWalter bishopVor 16 Tage
  • You're approach is based on a knowledge of how an enigma machine works though, did Alan Turing have a captured enigma machine?

    James WardJames WardVor 18 Tage
    • Most likely, on May 9, 1941 the Royal navy forced a Uboat to surface. While the Germans were bailing, they were able to capture an intact Enigma machine, with a codebook. From there they took apart the Enigma machine to discover how it works, specifically the internal wiring of all the rotors, and were able to use the machine to decrypt messages.

      Hard CasHard CasVor 14 Tage
  • So what about giving Polish people some credit. Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski

    VendiGlobeVendiGlobeVor 18 Tage
  • Cracking Enigma is easier than looking in to the camera it seems :)

    Michael DoddMichael DoddVor 18 Tage
  • Question: Mirroring camera or lefthanded?

    Peder Sloth ZürichoPeder Sloth ZürichoVor 19 Tage
    • Forget what i said i answered my own question, the letters are the right way around ;)

      Peder Sloth ZürichoPeder Sloth ZürichoVor 19 Tage
  • Talking about Enigma also seems to itch the privates after @17:51 minutes

    Rk DlRk DlVor 19 Tage
  • it was dubbed ' the unbreakable code ', if I remember right...

    RRVor 19 Tage
  • So hard to follow.

    Decibell oneDecibell oneVor 19 Tage
  • watching him moves around in his chair irritates me

    chan dickchan dickVor 19 Tage
  • can you crack sugma?

    JP VJP VVor 19 Tage
  • Call it a hunch but i think if you get some of it right, it will be slightly better.

    Armin LutzArmin LutzVor 19 Tage
  • Very interesting.

    adrian coelhoadrian coelhoVor 20 Tage
  • if you did your homework you would know that in fact the messages send via enigma DID have in fact a particular string text everytime and everytime in the same location of the message and turing also had to used it to crack the new combination everyday fast eneough

    gamanymegamanymeVor 20 Tage
  • this dude is rambling. said the same thing like 5 times. no hate, but annoying. this vid could have been 10 mins long

    DJ DarkMatterDJ DarkMatterVor 20 Tage
  • 19:56 kid skipping through the garden in the background :). Wonders of working from home

    Geert van KollenburgGeert van KollenburgVor 20 Tage
  • 7:37 if I recall correctly, the enigma machines were changed daily, so you literally had that day to do it, then had to start again the next day, and nothing you did before was of any real use (except, obviously, those pesky weather reports...)

    Blackened SpriteBlackened SpriteVor 20 Tage
  • Enigma is the perfect example of why people who don't know about cryptography shouldn't decide which crypto system to use.

    Lost AloneLost AloneVor 20 Tage
  • Mike still has some fanfold paper... amazing!

    Bill DaviesBill DaviesVor 20 Tage
  • That's a lot of ifs before you say it's easy to crack

    aps indaps indVor 20 Tage
  • I'm definitely going to start using the phrase, "How English is this?" when correcting grammar. I love the concept of how close is something to a language and just referring to it as "How language is this?". This was a great video. Very informative.

    Kuit the GeekKuit the GeekVor 20 Tage
  • "Modern ciphers don't have this issue." Microsoft pptp 3DES anyone? :)

    Zoltán PósfaiZoltán PósfaiVor 20 Tage
  • How I get jealous when I see much smarter people...

    Armagan AktanArmagan AktanVor 21 Tag
    • Something I've learn of that feeling is to don't compare yourself to others, and instead focus on just learning stuff

      Mr. UwUMr. UwUVor 20 Tage
  • And your next vid on cracking Lorenz? Love this stuff

    Nick CrosbyNick CrosbyVor 21 Tag
  • He keeps saying that if you get one rotor right it's better than if you don't get any. How exactly does that work? If each rotor's input is the output of the previous one, wouldn't it always be complete nonsense unless you get everything right? How can a single rotor setting return some of the correct keys?

    ZormacZormacVor 21 Tag
  • Think about.. your way of solution, will it work if the original message was written backwards? ( 2 possibilities. First words versus sdrow and second complete sentence backwards.. )

    Perry RhodanPerry RhodanVor 21 Tag
  • After the War the British gave the enigma system to the Australian Government as a "Uncrackable" encryption device, knowing full well they could look at all our secret communications.... Can't wait for us Aussies to become a republic.

    david bullockdavid bullockVor 21 Tag
  • In the ww they ended all messages with the same greet. How did this phrase improve the decryption?

    Mesut BaysanMesut BaysanVor 21 Tag
  • "During the Woarr"

    James SmithJames SmithVor 21 Tag
  • I've not seen printer paper like that since I coded S3 for ICL in the late 1980s - every morning a bloke came round the office with a massive trolley and dropped off a stack of it with a printout of my journals and source listings from yesterday !

    Chris CoffeeChris CoffeeVor 21 Tag
  • Liked it just for the "random" ZUSE 6:06

    Shicho SekuraShicho SekuraVor 21 Tag
  • thanks

    Paul MorreyPaul MorreyVor 21 Tag
  • Thanks to Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski it was cracked first on december 1932. Great video!

    Mścisław ChrząszczewiczMścisław ChrząszczewiczVor 21 Tag
  • Very interesting and nice video!

    C20H42C20H42Vor 22 Tage
  • This dude needs his own channel. Throw an AI with a neural net at it with some cloud computing power, solved in 10 sec. Tensorflow could probably do it in 3 minutes.

    SenorQuichotteSenorQuichotteVor 22 Tage
  • will not go into deepL, uses the basis of deepL...

    Simos KatsiarisSimos KatsiarisVor 22 Tage
  • The enigma is a very clever piece of gear. I programmed one for the iPad and for that had to dive deep into the mechanics of that maschine. The weak point was the switch board which the Germans put in to make it more secure. The contrary was the case.

    Matthias SchorerMatthias SchorerVor 22 Tage
  • How would you decrypt this code if you had no notion of using rotors or wheels in the first place?

    John BarradaleJohn BarradaleVor 22 Tage
  • Would have helped more if the video showed how to write code in a laptop to crack enigma or which program is used, or how to access that program especially if the instructions depend almost entirely on the computer to do the legwork that would be the most critical information to detail.

    John PJohn PVor 22 Tage
  • Going at it totally backwards, how difficult would it have been, during WWII, to have implemented AES on the hardware of the day? Would it have been possible at all?

    Dan BowkleyDan BowkleyVor 22 Tage
  • great video except for the seasickness

    Tulip1811Tulip1811Vor 22 Tage
  • Consider this, Arne Beurling did it with a pen and paper during the war before the Turing machine.. And laptops. Love the show!!!

    CmdrCommandoCmdrCommandoVor 22 Tage
  • By the way. Will it be possible to crack the Enigma settings if it was used not for encrypting an text in any human language, but rather for encrypting a binary data saved in something 'Base64 like'. I think that this might be way, way, way harder if the input set wouldn't have any strict structure or anything to use for analysis like that presented in the video.

    Mateusz SP8EBCMateusz SP8EBCVor 22 Tage
  • At 1.07 he says," let's look briefly at what the Enigma machine is. The subtitles, on the other hand, prefer to say, "Let's look at what the knitting machine is". Time to get the sub-title program improved.

    David GoughDavid GoughVor 22 Tage
  • I see Thinkpad, I upvote

    Jeroen DoppenbergJeroen DoppenbergVor 23 Tage
  • I was thinking about enigma during this episode, which i then corelated to the United States using the Navajo. Which then led me to wonder whether or not the united states drafted people of a different nation to fight for them. Yep we drafted peoples from a different nation. Which to me feels like subjugation and the continuation of mistreatment towards the Native American's. It also makes that poster of uncle Sam pointing with the caption that reads "we want you" have some real negative vibes.

    Brandon HoffmanBrandon HoffmanVor 23 Tage
  • Did I get you right, you set yourself on the situation that you know the internal configuration of each rotor, or did your software bruteforce those aswell?

    Sven HöhneSven HöhneVor 23 Tage
  • Nice, I brought Turing as my exam’s thesis

    AlespicAlespicVor 23 Tage
  • you should have been born 80 years ago man!

    Ales ZAles ZVor 23 Tage
  • cheating by knowing about the cogs and the switch board. how did bletchley figure this part out?

    james gristjames gristVor 23 Tage
    • @plasmaastronaut It certainly is more efficient than "unbreakable" codes in movies which are being decrypted before they are implemented.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgamingVor 22 Tage
    • @VK's ASDgaming what a cheap piece of junk, no wonder it got cracked

      plasmaastronautplasmaastronautVor 22 Tage
    • @plasmaastronaut Commercial Enigma had three rotors. Army Enigma added plugboard. Later more wheels were added and those were not commercially available.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgamingVor 23 Tage
    • @VK's ASDgaming bah. its pretty lame if in war time the military is using internationally / commercially available 'off the shelf' machine variants.

      plasmaastronautplasmaastronautVor 23 Tage
    • Poles had already broken and reverse-engineered 3-rotor Enigma with plugboard and gave Brits this info and machinery just before the war begun. Brits also had procured commercial variant with simplest way possible: buying one.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgamingVor 23 Tage
  • Watching with headphones and wincing when he draws with that felt tip marker.

    CityStarrzzCityStarrzzVor 23 Tage
  • 17:52 ... this is when he rearranges the rotors.

    oppamaclareoppamaclareVor 23 Tage
  • I couldn't finish. I wish a word on SHA-2 would have been made.

    John PesichJohn PesichVor 23 Tage
  • One is more English than another... Clearly you haven't been on Twitter.

    John PesichJohn PesichVor 23 Tage
  • "this isn't something one does by hand right, not quickly" I'll give you one name: Arne Beurling. On his own, without any computation assist, without access to any hardware ( unlike Bletchley park, which had a copy of the early Enigma that was brought out from Poland ), he cracked the Geheimschreiber, which was roughly the Enigma for teleprinters, in 2 weeks.

    DIREWOLFx75DIREWOLFx75Vor 23 Tage
  • Great video! When you explained your algorithm, I was wondering how you can avoid that you run into a local maximum. But apperently it happens. Any suggestions how to improve it besides starting again with a different seed and see if you end up with a better fitness?

    Christian BorssChristian BorssVor 23 Tage
  • Get this geek into mi5

    Adam YoungAdam YoungVor 23 Tage
  • You never told us the weakness of enigma

    Aaron CookAaron CookVor 23 Tage
  • Brits only "broke the code" because they captured the "Day Codes" from the Germans.

    Michael BradyMichael BradyVor 23 Tage
  • References his laptop a lot, has a ThinkPad X-series. I love it 👍😊

    Thorstein KlingenbergThorstein KlingenbergVor 23 Tage
  • mans just explained the weakness of enigma 180 times before getting to the point.

    Jarod BakerJarod BakerVor 23 Tage
  • Any chance you could spend £10 on a tripod so I don't feel like I'm in Drake Passage for the entire video? Thanks!

    Katy Gets Rekt TVKaty Gets Rekt TVVor 23 Tage
  • Does he have some sort of bug crawling under his skin? Why does he move like that?

    Fled From NowhereFled From NowhereVor 23 Tage
  • this video just ended abruptly

    Grimshaw GrummageGrimshaw GrummageVor 23 Tage
  • Cool info, thanks :)

    Rixtronix LABRixtronix LABVor 23 Tage
  • My instinctive answer to "Is the Enigma secure today" is a flat out no, for the simple reason that it got cracked in the '40s. Bruteforce-wise it may still be nigh-on impossible, but if there were enough vulnerabilities to make it crackable back then, there's no reason those same vulnerabilities wouldn't be used to crack it today and given nearly a century of development in computing - much more quickly and efficiently. No cipher is safe from attack by intelligent and resourceful individuals, now more than ever before.

    233kosta233kostaVor 23 Tage
  • But did Turing know how Enigma worked? I mean is it even possible to crack if you don't know that there are plugs and rotors an how many of them might be?

    WiizlWiizlVor 23 Tage
  • Very surprising, I really did assume the brute force of a modern pc would break it without difficulty given the difference between what was available then and now. With people mining crypto-currency with graphics cards it seemed likely. Guess some things can't really be forced with just a bigger hammer (so to speak).

    SheyD78SheyD78Vor 24 Tage
    • I guess a top-level super computer would be able to brute-force it. After all, the best one is able to do 450petaflops

      Mr. UwUMr. UwUVor 20 Tage
  • (cough) Polish decoders and their bombas(cough)

    Rodrigo de PiérolaRodrigo de PiérolaVor 24 Tage
  • Why not use simulated annealing or genetic algorithms etc?

    Peter RimshnickPeter RimshnickVor 24 Tage
  • After having worked later generation machines (KL-7) in the seventies as a navy radio-operator I marvel at the simplicity of this explanation. Thanks.

    Karel van der VeldenKarel van der VeldenVor 24 Tage
  • Another Briton who repeats the lies that Alan Turing has broken the Enigma code. The Enigma code was broken by three Polish mathematicians, ie Jerzy Różycki, Marian Rejewski and Henryk Zygalski !

    rayan69plrayan69plVor 24 Tage
    • @rayan69pl You imply that I lied by saying that Poles made the groundwork of breaking Engima by cracking and reverse-engineering its army variant with three rotors and plugboard. They also gave all their knowledge to Brits just before the war. Sad truth is that Poles just got forgotten because their part remained quite well hidden after the war.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgamingVor 23 Tage
    • @VK's ASDgaming I know it's hard in the West to admit your lies, but before you write anything, read about it. The Enigma code was cracked and read for the first time in 1932 by Marian Rejewski. Of course, Turing contributed to the work, but to give him all the credit is a plain, hideous lie!

      rayan69plrayan69plVor 23 Tage
    • They set the foundation by breaking army-Enigma with three rotors and plugboard. Enigma had to be continuously broken.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgamingVor 23 Tage
  • With a modern computer it should be done in some minutes to break the positions of a three wheeled enigma. If you like you could read former secret texts from the war.

    Stefan ZettStefan ZettVor 24 Tage
  • Very interessting! Thanks :)

    KorgoKorgoVor 24 Tage
  • Thought it was made to decrypt not encrypt?

    Donald BurkhardDonald BurkhardVor 24 Tage
  • But one “p” not always same letter out?

    Donald BurkhardDonald BurkhardVor 24 Tage
  • I actually haven't seen indications that he truly understands this subject matter. I get the feeling he got help online and/or from friends and can barely see the forest for the trees.

    Dan KellyDan KellyVor 24 Tage
  • Something about this guy I just like, he starts talking - i listen... passion perhaps? He seems likeable. Wonder how he is in his personal life hm...

    Gislo AGislo AVor 24 Tage
  • At 4:00 he says we don't have any idea what the plaintext is. He then proceeds to assume that the plaintext is human readable. Does this mean that the Enigma can securely be used to encrypt random sequences that are not human readable?

    Toni RuottuToni RuottuVor 24 Tage
  • @10:45 you said that there are 26 * 3 different starting positions. It should have been 26 ^ 3 instead.

    george dgeorge dVor 24 Tage
  • Turin did a much better job than this guy, he talks and talks at the end, he cheated anyway.

    Antonio DuvergeAntonio DuvergeVor 24 Tage
  • Germans scientists in WW2 had some brilliant minds... they overengineered lots of things for quality too.

    LA3CLA on the road and moreLA3CLA on the road and moreVor 24 Tage
  • Question, you and Turing know how the Enigma machine works, and because of this you see the where the weaknesses are. But if you just had the output, a lot of coded messages, how much work would it be to break it today?

    pogonator1pogonator1Vor 24 Tage
  • So the best place to keep my passwords is a physical written sticky note in my draw.

    Somting Wong WaiSomting Wong WaiVor 24 Tage