I have to admit I’m a bit of a technology history buff – whether it’s mechanical or electronic – and in the new August 2014 issue of APC magazine out today, I’ve designed and created an easy-build Enigma Cipher Machine using an Arduino Uno microcontroller for this month’s Arduino Masterclass.
Okay, it might not look like an Enigma Machine, but this little black box does exactly the same thing as the real three-rotor Enigma used by the German army during World War II. Encode a message with a real Enigma machine and with the right settings, this little Arduino-powered box of tricks will decode it.
Just like the real thing, you choose three rotors from a total of five, set the rotor start position, the rotor ring or ‘ringstellung’ position, even add in up to ten plugboard letter-swaps to make it more difficult to crack.
If you’re interested in cryptography, I reckon this will be an awesome place to start your journey. The magazine gives you details on how to build the Arduino Enigma Cipher Machine, plus where to get the free software I’ve developed for it. It can be powered by a standard 9VDC power brick and you enter your ‘plain text’ using a PS/2 keyboard.
The science of cryptography is far more advanced these days compared with the Enigma, but this project will still give you a fascinating glimpse into how cracking this technology literally changed the course of world history.
APC’s August 2014 issue is on sale Thursday July 24 at all good newsagents and stockists in Australia, plus on iPad and Android.
UPDATE [11-Aug-2014]: The software is up on the APC site but just in the wrong location at the moment – you can download it from http://apcmag.com/magstuff.