Did the Germans really never at any point think the Allies were reading their mail?

Did the Germans really never at any point think the Allies were reading their mail? How could they have 100% confidence in a system that had been around since the 1930s? They must have known or at least strongly suspected that the British had captured several Enigma devices from ships and u-boats taken at sea. The Poles figured it out in the late 1930s and constructed an accurate working model never having actually seen one.

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >never having actually seen one
    Enigma was a commercially available encryption machine for a decade before the war. They only thing the Germans changed were the plug board and the number of rotors. They didn't even change the wiring on the original 3 rotors inherited from the commercial machines.

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    You’d have to look into the required computational power available at the time to at least step through all the possible permutations
    Security through obsecurity sucks, the working of the machine or other system (computer algorithm) being known should not matter

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    simply capturing the machine alone wasn't enough to know how to use it. Even if you had a perfectly functional machine you still needed to know the order of the wheels, the positions of the letter rings relative to the wheels, the plugboard connections, and what the rotor positions were at the start of a message. With good opsec it should have been unbreakable. But that wasn't the case.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      This.
      Crypto doesn't depend on nobody knowing how crypto works, it simply requires the specific key to be secret.

      You can buy military crypto gear. The gear isn't secret.

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Because of two major things that the Germans didn't identify as an issue:
    >No self-encoding
    >Plaintext attacks (poor transmission doctrine)
    In context, if you weren't aware of the concept of crib attacks, it's reasonable to surmise Enigma was a secure method of verification
    Polish bombe decryption also heavily exploited the German army's lack of sufficient rotors, and their lazy plugboard wiring. Once they moved to three of five rotors, Polish hand decryption didn't work.

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They probably knew something, since they supposedly had plans to replace them with something SG-41, which is much stronger. I think the issue was financial and logistical. Making and deploying thousands of new machines would've been a huge pain in the ass, and the existing machines were strong enough for tactical messages anyway.

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    A multitude of factors, but in short, the Allies put great effort into hiding the fact that they cracked the code.
    >get u-boat locations through enigma
    >fly a spotter over the sub before sending in the bomber
    >spotter "spotted" the u-boat
    Or
    >catch german spies in the UK
    >they either die or switch sides
    >spies feed the german handlers false information about how the Allies know nothing about the enigma
    German cryptographs also thought that nobody could ever be autistic enough to try and break the encryption

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >German cryptographs also thought that nobody could ever be autistic enough to try and break the encryption
      IIRC they thought it was theoretically possible but unlikely that anyone would break the encryption for the earlier Enigma system, and that it was actually unbreakable when steckering (plugboard) was used.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Maybe if their operators didn't have a nasty habit of heil hitlering each other,

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          A major problem was how they would transmit the same message verbatim over both Enigma and other less sophisticated systems that were easier to crack. They'd manually decrypt the easier message and then use it as a crib sheet for Enigma. The germans were also very consistent in some of their reports, so the RAF might go drop some mines out in the ocean knowing that the germans would soon be broadcasting a standard message about the location of said mines which could then be used to figure out the code. And so on.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Also there was this one butthole in like Greenland or Africa or some shit who'd say "No change" every fricking day like a god damn idiot

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            One was a weather report that always had the same phrasing in key points

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >A multitude of factors, but in short, the Allies put great effort into hiding the fact that they cracked the code.
      the allies didn't just hide the fact that they cracked enigma - they continued to pretend it was secure, going so far as to use false identities and disguises to sell their enemies the very same machines until the 1970s iirc

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The Germans were basically high-functioning autists - very, very good at technical stuff but deficient in human understanding. Operators of enigma would do stuff like put "HH" for Heil Hitler at the end of messages giving codebreakers the in they needed, or they would frick up and repeat messages. As an example of their gullibility look at Operation Mincemeat where the Brits floated a dead body with fake documents of the coast of Spain knowing the Spanish would give it to the Germans. The Germans swallowed it and reinforced Greece instead of Sicily saving thousands of Allied lives. A child shouldn't have fallen for that - a single body loaded down with high-grade intelligence - but they did.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      At least one message was cracked because it was sent twice. The second time with a typo corrected.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Don't forget Dönitz spamming messages of unimportant nature such as news of newborns. If you have encryption, don't use it more than you have to.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Honestly, that kind of meaningless gossip could have been a boon to cryptography. Just encode messages inside the meaningless chatter. A spelling mistake here or the first letter of every word there and you can hand out entire cyphers in plane sight without anyone the wiser.

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Also, a big factor in why they didn't think the allies had cracked enigma was that the Abwehr and the Amtsgruppe Wehrmachtnachrichtenverbindungen, Abteilung Chiffrierwesen were bad at their jobs.

    Source:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20140611025626/http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/european_axis_sigint/volume_2_notes_on_german.pdf

    Also, most of the German top brass all hated each other and wouldn't speak to each other and therefore any cooperation between government departments was difficult

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Also the fact that the Abwehr was compromised on all levels and essentially sabotaging the german war effort.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Amtsgruppe Wehrmachtnachrichtenverbindungen
      This is one of those 4 word phrases that got spontaneously made one word in German, isn't it?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        But that's 3 words.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Fricking Germans

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Amtsgruppe
        [Government] Office Group
        >Wehrmachtnachrichtenverbindungen
        Wehrmacht Information Organizations.

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Their attempts at counter-intelligence were not helped by the fact that the head of the Abwher, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and the Deputy Chief in charge of the counter-intelligence department, Colonel Hans Oster, were founding members of and active participants in the German resistance to the Nazi Party in general and Hitler in particular. While the actions of the Resistance were generally passive in nature as the members tended to consider themselves as patriots and believed that the Nazi's were a problem but everything else was fine, there were some acts of active resistance most notably from Oster and Canaris. Oster was actively passing information to Allied intelligence services such as when he gave the specific date of the German invasion of the Netherlands (over 20 times but he was not believed lol), and Canaris who was sent to Francisco Franco to convince him to join the war, only to spend the entire meeting talking about how bad of an idea it would be for Spain to join the war on the German side. Other than that, the simple fact of the matter was that while the British intelligence service occasionally huffed their own farts too much, their counter-intelligence was simply god tier, they eliminated or flipped every agent the Germans attempted to place in England which put them in a position to control the flow of information reaching Berlin. In order to tell that enigma had been cracked someone would have to tell them, and all the people who could have were dead or sipping tea with the perfidious Anglos

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >only to spend the entire meeting talking about how bad of an idea it would be for Spain to join the war on the German side
      fricking hilarious

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >they eliminated or flipped every agent the Germans attempted to place in England
      You just don't hear about those they didn't catch, anon.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >You just don't hear about those they didn't catch, anon.
        after the war they went through german records and found out that every single agent they had deployed was one they had compromised

        it was a surprise to the british as well, as they had spent a lot of money on counter-intelligence to make sure any still existing german spies werent potentially correcting their moles
        since there were literally no one to feed good information in the first place, these measures were unnecessary in hindsight

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Honestly baffling how garbage the Nazis were at this game while later East Germany was God-Tier at espionage.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Fascist shares an etymological root with homosexual

  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Did the Germans really never at any point think the Allies were reading their mail?
    they suspected it, but interoffice politics prevented them from actually knowing about it

    >How could they have 100% confidence in a system that had been around since the 1930s?
    they severely underestimated the amount of time and money the allies were willing to sink into decryption
    head of abwehr were, as mentioned above, not willing to accept that the allies got one over them and instead suspected spies or intentional sabotage
    allies also had a careful counter-intelligence effort to make sure that they acted as carefully as possible to not make it obvious they were reading german mail

    there was also just some dumb luck
    operation market garden took place in an area with little partisan activity and good telephone cables
    resulting in a lot less reliance on enigma, blindsiding the allies and temporarily making it seem like the allies did not actually secretly control german intelligence

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    There were 158 Quintillion possible settings to an Enigma machine. That's 158 x10^18 possible ciphers for a single machine. Even if you had an Enigma machine you couldn't decrypt the message without knowing the settings.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >That's 158 x10^18 possible ciphers for a single machine.
      this math is why the germans were absolutely sure no one could crack it
      while they knew cracking it was theoretically possible, they were certain that the allies couldnt spend that much time, money, effort, or expertise to do so

      >Even if you had an Enigma machine you couldn't decrypt the message without knowing the settings.
      allies discovered a character couldnt be ciphered to itself
      this massively reduced the raw amount of permutations that had to be tried
      the allies also increased the amount of information they could process using early computers

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Plus Turing figured out that basically every message had the word "eins" in it so they'd search for that

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Wouldn't this also be useful for cracking English encryption by looking for "the"?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            yes, which is why we don't use substitution ciphers anymore. techniques such as stopward removal can mitigate this to an extent, but substitution ciphers (rotary encryption is a stream cipher, however this is really just a fancy roundabout way to do substitution) are still vulnerable to frequency analysis. note that the Bombe machine performed known-plaintext attacks, however due to the unicity distance (minimum number of characters that need to be decoded to ensure you've found the true plaintext and not just a lucky matching pattern in otherwise nonsens) of the enigma machines each potential match had to be manually checked

  12. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >How could they have 100% confidence in a system that had been around since the 1930s?
    It wasn't. There were many revisions and the last enigma had little to it with the first.

  13. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Did the Germans really never at any point think the Allies were reading their mail?
    yes, it's the problem with having a societal superiority complex.

  14. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Read about crypto before asking this. The Enigma was a shifting cipher that used set theory to encode messages. At the time it was impossible to brute force due to the combinations it provided. You could occasionally decode by hand but was time invasive and difficult (Allies did this for years). Some Poles came up with a decent precursor that could be used and did leak it to the Brits but the automation of that work was difficult. The real key to decodes came from using the same last block at the end of every message which when combined with the Turing Machine made it optimizable. Modern Crypto is a relatively new branch of work and really only the US pioneered it in a meaningful way. German's/Japan's enigmas were good, but a lack of serious crypto officers in both armies meant they got played every day by the Allies.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The entire Battle of Midway was a US cryptographic coup against the IJN.
      >Keep decrypting messages about Target AF
      >"Maybe Target AF is Midway"
      >Encrypted order to Midway: Send an unencrypted report that your water purifier is broken
      >Midway:Done, now why did I lie on an unencrypted channel?
      >IJN Intelligence: Target AF is out of water, attack immediately!

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        this one was pretty smart NGL
        what would they call that today, social engineering hack?

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Strategic bamboozling maneuver

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          That was similar to what the RAF called "Gardening".
          >Need a new crib sheet to help figure out the new Enigma settings
          >RAF gets ordered to go drop some mines out in the ocean somewhere
          >Germans immediately broadcast a warning to their naval units of mines in sector 123.
          >A little while later they broadcast again after demining operations are complete.
          >Crypto geeks can now look for the coordinates and the word "minen" in the message.

  15. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    A Portuguese guy managed to trick the Germans into believing that he is a super spy. This guy was initially working on his own but later managed to convince the Allies that he is legit. So the guy told the Germans that the Allies never managed to break the code and the Germs believed him. He even got paid and decorated by BOTH the Germans and the Allies.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Sorry, I forgot. He was Spanish. His name is Juan Pujol (Agent Garbo).

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Isn’t this the guy who made up like 100 different agents he “recruited” and told the germans about his escapades in Britian all while never once leaving Spain?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah, and he got payroll from the Germans for all 100 of those agents

  16. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    [...]

    ^im assuming those are the right names, I don't go to them

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      PrepHole is international
      /tech/ doesn't exist
      You probably want PrepHole - technology

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        don't do it! PrepHole is vore.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Guro, you philistine

  17. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I read they only cracked the enigma code because of them signing everything "heil Hitler"

  18. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They did, in fact, have their doubts and that is why the allies had enormous amounts of other intelligence activities, as well as elaborate policies on the use of Enigma compromise information, even going so far as to orchestrate incidents to make it appear to the Germans that they had learned the locations of some targets through other means.

    There are also less verifiable claims that many of the Germans who knew were already compromised by British intelligence or, more likely, were actively sabotaging their rivals or potentially the Nazi regime at large for personal reasons.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, though fiction, has some good examples of this. At one point an entire commando team is sent to watch German shipping overlooking a port and get "discovered" so the Germans have an explanation for why the Allies knew their ship movements and sank them all.

  19. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >How could they have 100% confidence in a system that had been around since the 1930s?
    They (correctly) assumed there wasn't enough computing power to brute force it
    This is to this day still the case unless you have some supercomputer

    They (incorrectly) assumed there were no weaknesses in it's encryption

  20. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    At least they constantly upgraded the system, 4 rotor machine was introduced in 1942 and the allies weren't able to crack it for almost a year.

  21. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Versions of Enigma were still used around the world into the 50s-60s as it was still considered unbreakable.
    That's why SIS kept the 'breaking of Enigma' story classified for another 20+ years because they were reading signals from all the minor countries.

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