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Tunny Code-Breaker Rebuilt At Bletchley Park

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the weighty-name dept.

Encryption 47

Jack Spine writes "Engineers at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park have rebuilt the Tunny machine, a key device used in decoding German High Command messages during the Second World War. The Tunny machine took a team of three people three years to rebuild. At the end of the war, Tunny machines were broken up and the components recycled, while the original circuit diagrams were destroyed or hidden. The team had to piece together plans for the machine from odd pieces of circuit diagram that had been squirreled away by engineers, as well as from the recollections of some of the original builders."

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Butts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253372)

Butts! I like butts! Man butts are hot! That's why I fucked Taco's butt last night while kdawson rimmed me.

Re:Butts (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253686)

www.tnmoc.org

Enough is enough... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253486)

I hate how the UK is still milking that code breaking monster at Bletchley Park. It's as if to compensate for the lack of British made software on the global market? So GTA and Tweetdeck were made in the UK, what else? MS, Apple, Sun/Oracle, Adobe, Google, Facebook, Twitter... nope.

Re:Enough is enough... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253522)

And the fuckers need to learn to brush their fucking teeth. Fucking limeys and those stained teeth.

Re:Enough is enough... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253756)

*intake of breath*
ARM - The processor architecture designer. If you've have a smartphone, any smartphone, there's a 90% chance there's an ARM designed chip or processor in there.
Pace - The largest Set Top Box manufacturer in the world
Sage - 3rd biggest enterprise resource software in the world
Symbian - First created by PSION software in the 90's.
Codemasters - Still churning out Colin McRae/DIRT racing games
Traveller's Tales - LEGO *insert film franchise* game developers
Splash Damage - Developers of Brink
Lionhead - Developers of Fable
Criterion - Developers of the Burnout series
Rare - Goldeneye, latterly Kinect developers
The list goes on. And I might be British but my teeth are OUTSTANDING.

Re:Enough is enough... (2)

throbber (72924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253992)

.... And I might be British but my teeth are OUTSTANDING.

Richard Hammond .... is that you?

Re:Enough is enough... (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254124)

Psygnosis is the only one that matters. And they're dead.

Re:Enough is enough... (1)

sleepy_weasel (839947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36261666)

*intake of breath*
Sage - 3rd biggest enterprise resource software in the world
Symbian - First created by PSION software in the 90's.

My wife loves her Symbian... wait... uh nevermind. Nothing to see here.

Geeks (4, Insightful)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253530)

Got to love geeks that love their jobs so much that they'll go beyond the impossible to rebuild something that was broken down and sold for scrap.

Re:Geeks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253662)

The people at Bletchley Park bite the heads off of chickens? Why the fuck is that something to admire? I'd string the fuckers up for such shit.

Re:Geeks (2)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254062)

It turns out it just makes soft serve ice cream and keeps printing out the number 42.

Shameless Wiki for more info (5, Informative)

ZX3 Junglist (643835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253610)

TFA is a little light on information on the "Tunny" code breaker (Tunny is the nickname for the German Lorenz cipher machine), so here's the link to the wikipedia for further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_cipher [wikipedia.org]

Get it from the horses mouth (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253724)

http://www.tnmoc.org [tnmoc.org]

(sorry about double post - crap /. ui + n900 + train = fail)

Rather odd justification... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253666)

I do applaud the team who spent many countless hours rebuilding such a machine, but I'm really curious as to the reasoning behind such an effort.

This is kind of like walking into an automobile museum and finding a replica of a Ford Model T, built with modern blended steels. It just isn't quite the same.

Re:Rather odd justification... (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253730)

Probably better than walking into a museum and finding an empty spot where the Ford Model T would be if there were any left in the world. (it's a car analogy)

Re:Rather odd justification... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253796)

I do applaud the team who spent many countless hours rebuilding such a machine, but I'm really curious as to the reasoning behind such an effort.

This is kind of like walking into an automobile museum and finding a replica of a Ford Model T, built with modern blended steels. It just isn't quite the same.

Except now imagine there were no existing Model Ts to use as a reference, no diagrams, no instructions on how to contruct it, the original machinery used to make the model T is all gone, and all you had to go off of was what they described, including people's memory from 70 years ago.

So yeah, just like it, except not...

Re:Rather odd justification... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36254618)

No, it's like walking into a car museum and finding a printed description of the Model-T instead of something you can see and feel. There are no versions of these machines still around to put in the museum. The replicas are built from as many original components as possible, including radio tubes made in the 30s and relays and working components from that same era or of the same design.

You build a replica because that is the best you can do.

Re:Rather odd justification... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36259670)

Or like walking into a museum, and seeing a plaster replica of a T-Rex skeleton, which was reconstructed out of part of a skull and half a thigh bone (or whatever they had).

Re:Rather odd justification... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36261346)

Your T-Rex analogy is right on the money, but GP posed a *car* analogy. That means you have to counter with an *alternative car analogy*. It doesn't have to be a *good* one.

Sorry, I don't make the rules here, I just accept them uncritically, then mindlessly impose them upon others. Just like anyone else.

Re:Rather odd justification... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36262582)

Fine.

In 64 million years, when the dominent species creates a museum dedicated to the fossilised remains of cars (which they assume were the dominant species) ...

But why... (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253760)

Have to ask. Why on earth would they destroy them all in the first place?

Re:But why... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253816)

Because the stuff might have been classified and/or they felt there was no need to keep the machines?

Re:But why... (2)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253866)

A government's obsession with secrecy is not always a logical thing.

Re:But why... (5, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254210)

A government's obsession with secrecy is not always a logical thing.

The thing your forgetting is that we didn't want any of our temporary allies to advance their code breaking tech on our backs. Since we had advanced in our tech they were obsolete but still valuable to other nations they were destroyed because we had no use for them but other countries may have. Lots of military grade electronics are repurposed or destroyed today for the exact same reason.

Because were it but for... (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36291602)

If no hint was given that those cipher systems had been broken, it could be plausibly hoped that other nations would adopt similar systems after the surrender of Nazi Germany, considering them secure. Sure enough, the Soviet Union soon cobbled together a similar system, probably inspired by captured equipment. One can only imagine the frisson of glee that ran through the cryptanalysts when they discovered they could re-apply techniques and breaks they had already honed against the Germans.

So, on the whole, it made absolute sense.

Re:But why... (1)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254418)

What do you think the demand was for machines to break the ciphers of Nazi Germany after they surrendered?

There's no way that the machines were going to end up in a museum because the last thing the British government wanted was for the World to know how successful they were at cryptanalysis.

Re:But why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36254504)

Churchill ordered all of the different code breaking machines destroyed after the war. (Tunny, Colossus and Bomb machines) because they were a profound military secret. (and government reasoning is not always transparent) That secret was kept until the 1970s. Only then did people's families find out what their husbands, wives or children had done during the war. Some parents died never knowing what their kids had done during the war.

Re:But why... (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255724)

Oddly enough, the American counterparts to Colossus were never destroyed. Instead these became prototypes of commercial computing equipment, built by the likes of IBM.

History is full of examples of technology, developed by the Allies (primarily the British) that was abandoned at home, but pursued by the USA for commercial gain. Radar and magnetrons, gas turbine engines, vacuum tube (as opposed to relay) logic, supersonic flight, to name a few. The Canadians development of a supersonic fighter/bomber industry was also stopped with the cancellation of the Arrow [wikipedia.org] , possibly at the request of the USA military aircraft industry.

Re:But why... (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255122)

Apparently a number of German code systems kept on being used after WW2 (and by nations other than Germany). At least part of the Bletchley Park inventory ended up in GCHQ were the machines were used into the '70s.

Re:But why... (1)

heroid1a (1898046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36263788)

It's even better than that: captured German Enigma machines were sold to newly independant former colonies, for their new governments use. Since nobody outside the highest circles knew Enigma had been broken, it seemed like a good deal. That is why most of the code breaking equipment was destroyed or spirited away, and the code breaking secrets kept until recent years!

Re:But why... (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36291618)

And the Soviet Union adopted a teleprinter encryption system loosely based on the Lorentz (Tunny) and Siemens Geheimschrieber. Needless to say, the Soviets wouldn’t have adopted that kind of technology if they had known it had already been broken during the war, and thus what was (presumably) a huge insight into the USSR’s secrets would have been lost.

Detailed drawings? (2)

starseeker (141897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253794)

Does anybody know if they've put together/published a detailed set of drawings for this machine? Given how much work it was to create it and how cool/historically significant it is, it would be nice if the hardcore nerds among us could order copies of the detailed technical information.

Re:Detailed drawings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253856)

Having visited Bletchley and met some of the Engineers there working on the reconstruction projects, I would think that if there aren't such drawings they'd be more than happy to try and give you as much information as they can via email etc. They're mostly just enthusiasts doing the work because they love it.

recollections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253980)

>The team had to piece together plans for the machine from odd pieces of circuit diagram that had been squirreled away by engineers, as well as from the recollections of some of the original builders."

Yah, dis here piece war -- ahem, war -- ahem, was da thingy for making da, uh, ahem. Like you see.

Engineer: okay...............

seriously though. These guys are what, 104 year old Germans?

Re:recollections (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254146)

seriously though. These guys are what, 104 year old Germans?

This machine was built by Brits, to break the German codes.

Re:recollections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36254238)

well, there goes my joke.

Re:recollections (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255058)

>

seriously though. These guys are what, 104 year old Germans?

Indeed. Because England's population 70 years ago was made up completely of Germans over the age of 34.

Now I'll have to visit Bletchley again (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254122)

I've been there, but went on a weekday. The tour guide that day was more into the uninspired architecture of the manor house than the crypto gear.

Re:Now I'll have to visit Bletchley again (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255224)

That's unfortunate. I've been a couple of times, and had a knowledgeable guide each time.
In winter, they have a small staff on weekdays, so not everything is open and you may get a dull guide. Weekends are better. Or go during the summer.

Check the BP website [bletchleypark.org.uk] for details.

Re:Now I'll have to visit Bletchley again (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36291626)

I went this year on 10 April and the guide was brilliant. He even answered some of the finer points of Dilly Knox’s diagonal board.

Not strictly a codebreaking machine (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255016)

The Bletchley Park guys figured out how the Lorenz machines worked by decoding messages by hand. They then built the Tunny machines to emulate a Lorenz machine. The actual codebreaking was mostly done by a Heath Robinson machine (or later, a Colossus), this yielded the correct wheel settings. These settings were then entered in the Tunny machines, and these could be used to decrypt the day's Lorenz traffic.

I was at Bletchley Park last year and saw the Tunny exhibit. Didn't realize that they were still working on the rebuild.

You know who else is built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36256034)

Robin Tunney. I was hoping that we'd see some pics!

?GCHQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36258756)

Are we sure all the Tunny decoders were destroyed? It is an accepted truth that after the war there were many German encoding machines available to which ever government wanted them for diplomatic telegraphy, with an accepted knowledge that no-one could break the codes (Bletchly was TS Ultra).

So later when the UK PM was in talks with other leaders on how the common market would be founded, he wrote in his memoirs that after each days negotiating he would awake the following morning to a decode of everyone else's diplomatic messages with his breakfast.

You tell me, if all the machines were destroyed then how come he could read their messages?

Hint, look up the history of GCHQ.

Why? (2)

libcrypto (599315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36259374)

Why?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36276664)

It's simple... just because they can!

Re:Why? (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36291640)

It’s simple: because it’s difficult... just because they almost couldn’t.

cl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36260384)

http://goo.gl/AoTY5

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