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Cryptography Research: Cracking the Enigma code

One of the world’s earliest cryptographic machines, the Enigma, is on show at the Cryptography Research stand. Owned by the company’s president and chief scientist Paul Kocher, this original naval machine from World War II was used by Germans to encrypt communications with boats in the earlier part of the war.

“The breaking of the Enigma by first Polish, then French, then British – and the US also likes to take credit – certainly played a huge role in the course of World War II,” explained Kocher.

“The rich history of both the successes and failure of these historical security systems are certainly analogues to the failures of current security systems,” he added. “I’ve owned two Enigma machines as well as other old cypher machines. They’re very rare,
as anyone who was operating an Enigma machine was supposed to have destroyed it.”

Kocher explains the presence of the Enigma on his company’s stand as a bit of interesting history, combined with an approachable way to see security being done. “The things we do security-wise are hidden nowadays. The mathematics have changed dramatically, of course but this is more relatable, in a way.”

Cryptography Research, a division of Rambus, specialises in semiconductor security R&D.