Cracking Enigma in 2021 - Computerphile

12 apr 2021
774 291 visningar

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

  • Wish Alan Turing was alive to watch this!

    abhi20abhi20Dag sedan
  • I cannot understand

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

    M OM O2 dagar sedan
  • Mama Mia hundar börjar tala mat

    AboveEmAllProductionAboveEmAllProduction2 dagar sedan
  • Shouldn’tvring positions be 26*2? Last ring is not move an other one

    Hans FlamanHans Flaman3 dagar sedan
  • 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 Go5 dagar sedan
  • 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.6 dagar sedan
  • I want one of the alan Turing notes wouldn't mind one of the Sherlock Holmes quarters too

    omzig18omzig186 dagar sedan
  • An 8086 could probably break it

    philip diasphilip dias9 dagar sedan
  • 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 Cas9 dagar sedan
  • Anytime I hear about Turing, it always makes me sad to think how he was treated after all his accomplishments.

    Rey BlaisRey Blais9 dagar sedan
  • But you didn't even crack it after all that waffle? Just got "slightly closer".....

    Craig MontyCraig Monty10 dagar sedan
  • 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 Rosner10 dagar sedan
  • 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?

    NixelNixel11 dagar sedan
  • So the basic understanding is mathematicians in the 1940s could work out better than people today, with no computers.

    Walter bishopWalter bishop11 dagar sedan
  • 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 Ward13 dagar sedan
    • 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 Cas9 dagar sedan
  • So what about giving Polish people some credit. Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski

    VendiGlobeVendiGlobe13 dagar sedan
  • Cracking Enigma is easier than looking in to the camera it seems :)

    Michael DoddMichael Dodd13 dagar sedan
  • Question: Mirroring camera or lefthanded?

    Peder Sloth ZürichoPeder Sloth Züricho13 dagar sedan
    • Forget what i said i answered my own question, the letters are the right way around ;)

      Peder Sloth ZürichoPeder Sloth Züricho13 dagar sedan
  • Talking about Enigma also seems to itch the privates after @17:51 minutes

    Rk DlRk Dl14 dagar sedan
  • it was dubbed ' the unbreakable code ', if I remember right...

    RR14 dagar sedan
  • So hard to follow.

    Decibell oneDecibell one14 dagar sedan
  • watching him moves around in his chair irritates me

    chan dickchan dick14 dagar sedan
  • can you crack sugma?

    JP VJP V14 dagar sedan
  • Call it a hunch but i think if you get some of it right, it will be slightly better.

    Armin LutzArmin Lutz14 dagar sedan
  • Very interesting.

    adrian coelhoadrian coelho14 dagar sedan
  • 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

    gamanymegamanyme15 dagar sedan
  • 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 DarkMatter15 dagar sedan
  • 19:56 kid skipping through the garden in the background :). Wonders of working from home

    Geert van KollenburgGeert van Kollenburg15 dagar sedan
  • 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 Sprite15 dagar sedan
  • Enigma is the perfect example of why people who don't know about cryptography shouldn't decide which crypto system to use.

    Lost AloneLost Alone15 dagar sedan
  • Mike still has some fanfold paper... amazing!

    Bill DaviesBill Davies15 dagar sedan
  • That's a lot of ifs before you say it's easy to crack

    aps indaps ind15 dagar sedan
  • 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 Geek15 dagar sedan
  • "Modern ciphers don't have this issue." Microsoft pptp 3DES anyone? :)

    Zoltán PósfaiZoltán Pósfai15 dagar sedan
  • How I get jealous when I see much smarter people...

    Armagan AktanArmagan Aktan16 dagar sedan
    • Something I've learn of that feeling is to don't compare yourself to others, and instead focus on just learning stuff

      Mr. UwUMr. UwU15 dagar sedan
  • And your next vid on cracking Lorenz? Love this stuff

    Nick CrosbyNick Crosby16 dagar sedan
  • 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?

    ZormacZormac16 dagar sedan
  • 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 Rhodan16 dagar sedan
  • 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 bullock16 dagar sedan
  • In the ww they ended all messages with the same greet. How did this phrase improve the decryption?

    Mesut BaysanMesut Baysan16 dagar sedan
  • "During the Woarr"

    James SmithJames Smith16 dagar sedan
  • 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 Coffee16 dagar sedan
  • Liked it just for the "random" ZUSE 6:06

    Shicho SekuraShicho Sekura16 dagar sedan
  • thanks

    Paul MorreyPaul Morrey16 dagar sedan
  • Thanks to Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski it was cracked first on december 1932. Great video!

    Mścisław ChrząszczewiczMścisław Chrząszczewicz16 dagar sedan
  • Very interesting and nice video!

    C20H42C20H4217 dagar sedan
  • 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.

    SenorQuichotteSenorQuichotte17 dagar sedan
  • will not go into deepL, uses the basis of deepL...

    Simos KatsiarisSimos Katsiaris17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Schorer17 dagar sedan
  • How would you decrypt this code if you had no notion of using rotors or wheels in the first place?

    John BarradaleJohn Barradale17 dagar sedan
  • 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 P17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Bowkley17 dagar sedan
  • great video except for the seasickness

    Tulip1811Tulip181117 dagar sedan
  • Consider this, Arne Beurling did it with a pen and paper during the war before the Turing machine.. And laptops. Love the show!!!

    CmdrCommandoCmdrCommando17 dagar sedan
  • 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 SP8EBC17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Gough17 dagar sedan
  • I see Thinkpad, I upvote

    Jeroen DoppenbergJeroen Doppenberg17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Hoffman17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Höhne18 dagar sedan
  • Nice, I brought Turing as my exam’s thesis

    AlespicAlespic18 dagar sedan
  • you should have been born 80 years ago man!

    Ales ZAles Z18 dagar sedan
  • cheating by knowing about the cogs and the switch board. how did bletchley figure this part out?

    james gristjames grist18 dagar sedan
    • @plasmaastronaut It certainly is more efficient than "unbreakable" codes in movies which are being decrypted before they are implemented.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgaming17 dagar sedan
    • @VK's ASDgaming what a cheap piece of junk, no wonder it got cracked

      plasmaastronautplasmaastronaut17 dagar sedan
    • @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 ASDgaming17 dagar sedan
    • @VK's ASDgaming bah. its pretty lame if in war time the military is using internationally / commercially available 'off the shelf' machine variants.

      plasmaastronautplasmaastronaut17 dagar sedan
    • 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 ASDgaming17 dagar sedan
  • Watching with headphones and wincing when he draws with that felt tip marker.

    CityStarrzzCityStarrzz18 dagar sedan
  • 17:52 ... this is when he rearranges the rotors.

    oppamaclareoppamaclare18 dagar sedan
  • I couldn't finish. I wish a word on SHA-2 would have been made.

    John PesichJohn Pesich18 dagar sedan
  • One is more English than another... Clearly you haven't been on Twitter.

    John PesichJohn Pesich18 dagar sedan
  • "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.

    DIREWOLFx75DIREWOLFx7518 dagar sedan
  • 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 Borss18 dagar sedan
  • Get this geek into mi5

    Adam YoungAdam Young18 dagar sedan
  • You never told us the weakness of enigma

    Aaron CookAaron Cook18 dagar sedan
  • Brits only "broke the code" because they captured the "Day Codes" from the Germans.

    Michael BradyMichael Brady18 dagar sedan
  • References his laptop a lot, has a ThinkPad X-series. I love it 👍😊

    Thorstein KlingenbergThorstein Klingenberg18 dagar sedan
  • mans just explained the weakness of enigma 180 times before getting to the point.

    Jarod BakerJarod Baker18 dagar sedan
  • 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 TV18 dagar sedan
  • Does he have some sort of bug crawling under his skin? Why does he move like that?

    Fled From NowhereFled From Nowhere18 dagar sedan
  • this video just ended abruptly

    Grimshaw GrummageGrimshaw Grummage18 dagar sedan
  • Cool info, thanks :)

    Rixtronix LABRixtronix LAB18 dagar sedan
  • 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.

    233kosta233kosta18 dagar sedan
  • 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?

    WiizlWiizl18 dagar sedan
  • 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).

    SheyD78SheyD7818 dagar sedan
    • 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. UwU15 dagar sedan
  • (cough) Polish decoders and their bombas(cough)

    Rodrigo de PiérolaRodrigo de Piérola18 dagar sedan
  • Why not use simulated annealing or genetic algorithms etc?

    Peter RimshnickPeter Rimshnick18 dagar sedan
  • 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 Velden18 dagar sedan
  • 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 !

    rayan69plrayan69pl18 dagar sedan
    • @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 ASDgaming17 dagar sedan
    • @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!

      rayan69plrayan69pl17 dagar sedan
    • They set the foundation by breaking army-Enigma with three rotors and plugboard. Enigma had to be continuously broken.

      VK's ASDgamingVK's ASDgaming17 dagar sedan
  • 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 Zett19 dagar sedan
  • Very interessting! Thanks :)

    KorgoKorgo19 dagar sedan
  • Thought it was made to decrypt not encrypt?

    Donald BurkhardDonald Burkhard19 dagar sedan
  • But one “p” not always same letter out?

    Donald BurkhardDonald Burkhard19 dagar sedan
  • 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 Kelly19 dagar sedan
  • 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 A19 dagar sedan
  • 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 Ruottu19 dagar sedan
  • @10:45 you said that there are 26 * 3 different starting positions. It should have been 26 ^ 3 instead.

    george dgeorge d19 dagar sedan
  • Turin did a much better job than this guy, he talks and talks at the end, he cheated anyway.

    Antonio DuvergeAntonio Duverge19 dagar sedan
  • 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 more19 dagar sedan
  • 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?

    pogonator1pogonator119 dagar sedan
  • So the best place to keep my passwords is a physical written sticky note in my draw.

    Somting Wong WaiSomting Wong Wai19 dagar sedan
  • Videos like this are why I love the computerphile channel!

    DowskiVision MagicalOracleDowskiVision MagicalOracle19 dagar sedan
  • lol Regarding the index of coincidences.... but if you have everybody using the same enigma settings on a given day and the allies intercept all of them, it doesn't matter that each message is only 200 letters long because the allies have hundreds of messages.

    Austin LevreaultAustin Levreault19 dagar sedan