It was high-tech encryption for an important period of time in the mid-1940s, so perhaps you can forgive us our obsession with the Enigma machine. But did you know that you can make your very own Enigma just using some cut out paper strips and a tube to wrap them around? Yeah, you probably did. But this one is historically accurate and looks good too!
If you just want to understand how the machine worked, having a bunch of paper rolls in your hands is a very intuitive approach. Alan Turing explained the way it worked with paper models too, so there’s no shame there. With this model, you can either make the simple version with fixed rotor codes, or cut out some extra slip rings and go all out.
What is it with Hackaday and the Enigma machine? Just last month, we covered two separate Enigma builds: one with a beautiful set of buttons and patch cables, and another in convenient wrist-watch format. In fact, one of our first posts was on a paper Enigma machine, but the links are sadly lost to bitrot. We figure it’s cool to repeat ourselves once every eleven years. (And this one’s in color!)
[Nakul], [Nikilesh], and [Nischal] just finished posting about their entry in the 2012 Open 7400 Logic competition. It’s an encryption system based entirely on 7400 logic chips. The device operates on 8-bit binary numbers, which limits its real-world applications. But we bet they learned a lot during the development process.
The encryption algorithm is based on a the concept of cellular automaton. This is a something with which we’re already familiar having seen many Conway’s Game of Life projects around here. What we’re not familiar with is this particular wing of the concept called ‘Rule 30‘. It works well with this project because a complex pattern can be generated from simple beginnings.
After conceptualizing how the system might work the team spent some time transferring the implementation to the chips they had available. The end result is a quartet of chip-packed breadboards and a rat’s nets of wires, but the system is capable of both encrypting and decrypting data.
Piratbyrån and their hearties from The Pirate Bay are on a pan-European summer journey that will end at the Manifesta art biennial in Italy, but in the meantime they’ve been hard at work lobbying for total network encryption, a system that would protect users of a network (say, a P2P network) from deep packet inspection and other forms of activity analysis.
The system by which this will be achieved is called IPETEE, and it works by replacing the basic operating system network stack and doing all encryption and decryption itself. More details can be found in the IPETEE technical proposal.
Ars Technica pointed out numerous holes in the scheme, noting that most torrent apps already have encryption options. IPETEE applies to more than just torrents, though, so the larger problem is that encrypted packet still need source and destination IP addresses, meaning that one of the most crucial things you’d want to keep private (your destination site) is still accessible.