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Although it might be a little late, a network project has started to try and crack a couple of World War Two Enigma messages.
Enigma at home is one of those projects in which you donate your spare PC processing power and is based on the M4 Project, which was designed to break three original messages generated by a famed electro-mechanical Enigma machine and intercepted in the North Atlantic in 1942.
The project, which started in January of 2006, succeeded in breaking the first two messages within the first couple of months.
The first message to be decoded said “Forced to submerge during attack. Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy]. [Barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles].”
Message number three is tough because it is doubly encrypted, the message was badly intercepted and some letters are missing.
It takes all this processing power to break these codes, and yet during World War II all they had was blokes with pieces of paper and a huge computer with the processing ability of a pocket calculator.