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Human factors and missed solutions to Enigma design weaknesses / Harold, Thimbleby

Cryptologia, Volume: 40, Issue: 2, Pages: 177 - 202

Swansea University Author: Harold, Thimbleby

Abstract

The German World War II Enigma suffered from design weaknesses that facilitated its large-scale decryption by the British throughout the war. The author shows that the main technical weaknesses (self-coding and reciprocal coding) could have been avoided using simple contemporary technology, and ther...

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Published in: Cryptologia
ISSN: 1558-1586
Published: Taylor & Francis 2016
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa28818
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Abstract: The German World War II Enigma suffered from design weaknesses that facilitated its large-scale decryption by the British throughout the war. The author shows that the main technical weaknesses (self-coding and reciprocal coding) could have been avoided using simple contemporary technology, and therefore the true cause of the weaknesses is not technological but must be sought elsewhere. Specifically, human factors issues resulted in the persistent failure to seek out more effective designs. Similar limitations seem to beset the literature on the period, which misunderstands the Enigma weaknesses and therefore inhibits broader thinking about design or realising the critical role of human factors engineering in cryptography.
Item Description: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author have been asserted.
College: College of Science
Issue: 2
Start Page: 177
End Page: 202