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WWII Colossus Codecracker Outdone by a German

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-irony-you-are-so-sweet dept.

Encryption 182

superglaze writes "The Colossus codecracker contest was a short-lived ordeal. Not only has it been outdone in a cipher-breaking challenge, but — irony of ironies — it was beaten by a German! From the story: 'The winner was Joachim Schüth, from Bonn, who completed the task using software he wrote himself. "[Schüth] cracked the most difficult code yesterday," said the museum's spokesperson on Friday. "We're absolutely delighted. He used specially written software for the challenge. Colossus is still chugging away, as we got the signals late. Yesterday the atmospheric conditions were such that we couldn't get good signals.'"

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182 comments

Germans Efficiency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380455)

Great for cracking codes.

Great for killing Jews.

Re:Germans Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380683)

And the trains always run on time... Oh, wait....

Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphillis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381443)

Never underestimate Nazi brains, and be very glad (Frenchies especially) Hitler had syphillis and was quite bonkers. You would all be driving around in volkswagons, wearing lederhosen, talking german, paying in deutche mark, and working in the mines to keep the germans even fatter.

May be, but Hilter wasn't German, he was Austrian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381493)

May be, but Hilter wasn't German, he was Austrian, as is the Governator, whose parents were Nazis.

Hey Mate, for the American's, Austria is not Aust (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382143)

Hey Mate, for the Americans, Austria is not Australia. We fought on the good guy's side, along with the British, and even the Americans. Austria is a small little country that borders Germany to the south. Australia is a big country, so big it's even a continent. Continent? Look it up, mate.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (-1, Troll)

thufir (129668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381911)

at least everyone born would be beautiful and intelligent.

contrast this to the disgenics program forced upon humanity by the jews.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382499)

Never underestimate Nazi brains, and be very glad (Frenchies especially) Hitler had syphillis and was quite bonkers. You would all be driving around in volkswagons, wearing lederhosen, talking german, paying in deutche mark, and working in the mines to keep the germans even fatter.
Just a thought, but I've always considered that the Germans were lucky to have lost the war when they did. Why?

The atomic bomb. It's easy to forget that it was developed in response to fears that the Germans might develop one first (which makes it ironic that it was the Japanese that it was ultimately used against). It might be easy in retrospect to say that they weren't realistically close to having one during WWII, but this wasn't so clear at the time.

And even if this *had* become known towards the end of the (prolonged) war, the Americans would have had the bomb by then, and- I suspect- little tolerance for letting the Germans prolong the war and giving Stalin a chance to sweep further across Europe (never was the difference between "friend" and "allie" more clear)- even if Germany couldn't win.

If the Nazis had still stood a plausible chance of winning- or even "drawing"- the war by the time the bomb was ready, then it's near-certain that at least one bomb would have been dropped on the country. It's the kind of thing that some people would say is terrible in retrospect. However, given what Nazi Germany *did* do (with the support of most of their people) and what they would have done had they won the war, I'd personally have considered it morally justifiable (and imperative) to use as many atomic bombs as necessary to bring the war to a swift conclusion.

As I said, they were damn lucky.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (2, Insightful)

uradu (10768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382743)

Well, lucky are the few with such moral certitude as you. It's not clear at all that the Allies would have ever dropped a bomb over Germany, given the proximity of so many Allied countries. They had no qualms dropping them on Japan because of its geographic isolation. Besides, obliterating Germany that way would have prevented much of the technological looting after the war. The US in particular made out like bandits so to speak, and the war ended up being a net economic gain in the long run, both in terms of technology gained and new markets established.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382813)

This is a really interesting point, one I'd never considered in quite that way... I remember the Star Trek episode that posited the idea that Edith Keilor could have forestalled the entry of the US into WWII... It never quite made sense to me - somehow she stopped Pearl Harbor? Or that somehow her peace ideas would have made Americans choose NOT to go to war with Japan afterwards... It is unlikely.

Anyway, I remember a sociology class I took in college that showed a survey of Americans right after the end of WWII on what they thought, at that time, should have been done with the bomb. A miniscule percentage said we should not have used the A-bomb on Japan, and the vast majority said we should have. But the interesting point of the survey was that some 8% of Americans believed we should have continued to drop atomic bombs on Japan, even AFTER THEY HAD SURRENDERED... That 1 out of 15 Americans would believe such a thing at that time points out just how pissed off Americans were at that point... WWII touched virtually every home, with either a relative dying or being wounded, or certainly a neighbor who suffered such a fate... It is VERY likely that had one atomic bomb not stopped the war in Europe, we would have continued to drop bombs on them until they did surrender. Remember, the plants that were built to manufacture the uranium and plutonium for the bombs weren't built to build one or two bombs... they were built to build hundreds, if not, THOUSANDS of A-Bombs...

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382861)

They were lucky? Well the guessing at alternate history game is always fun.
Noncrazy Hitler doesn't start a war on several fronts and cleans the allies out of Europe before invading Russian. When he invades he doesn't do it in winter.
Noncrazy Hitler after taking control of as his side of the planet offers peace to the US who is a whole ocean away and agrees.
Noncrazy Hitler also develops nukes which can be delivered by missiles developed by his scientists who, as he didn't lose, were not captured for use by the US for their rocket program.
Noncrazy Hitler slips, falls, and dies in his bathtub while shaving his legs. This saves the US from nuclear annihilation in 1960.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21383169)

They were lucky? Well the guessing at alternate history game is always fun.
Yes, I'm aware that debating the past in this manner is always an intellectual wankfest to some extent.

However, Noncrazy Hitler wouldn't have been Hitler as we know him, and history would have had to be very different. By contrast, Germany surrendered just 3 months before the atomic bomb was ready enough to be dropped on Japan.

It was the JAPs that brought amerikuns in ww 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21383085)

If it weren't for the japs, the usa would not have entered the big one. Nazis would have ruled europe. Attacking russia was a mistake at that point. Should have kept the pact and strung stalen along. Third Reich indeed. The war would have ended much sooner, perhaps as early as '42, if all the resources weren't wasted.

Re:Never underest. Nazi brains - Hitler had syphil (0, Flamebait)

uradu (10768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382601)

Well, everyone does seem to be driving around in "volkswagons" and even wearing Lederhosen (at least around Oktoberfest time), so perhaps they won anyway...

Re:Germans Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380849)

Can't have been that efficient, what with millions of "survivors".

wait wait wait. (4, Interesting)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380479)

I thought germans weren't allowed to have hacking software on there computers?

"user disabling or circumventing computer security measures to access secure data,"
http://www.ibls.com/internet_law_news_portal_view.aspx?s=latestnews&id=1830 [ibls.com]

Perhaps because they wanted him to "crack" it?

Re:wait wait wait. (0)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380635)

Not trolling here, but it's nice propaganda for the Germans. I mean it kind of illustrates a sort of victory over the Germany of the past. I could see an exception made for just such a reason. It looks good that a new German beat the socks off the creation of an old German. I'm tiptoeing and not trying to introduce "them" into the discussion. This definitely has some propaganda value though.

Re:wait wait wait. (2)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380841)

Not all Germans who lived from the 1930's to the 1950's were Nazis. The Nazi party was a political party, not an affiliation of inventors.

-Rick

Re:wait wait wait. (1, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380955)

..

Also the sky is blue and I won't be having sex tonight.

What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Re:wait wait wait. (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382317)

Just saying that associating an amateur radio operator/programmer with the Nazi party is a bit on the delusional side.

There are some really weird misconceptions out there about Germany, both present and past.

-Rick

Re:wait wait wait. (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382789)

> I'm tiptoeing and not trying to introduce "them" into the discussion.

Good thing you didn't mention the war.

Re:wait wait wait. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380655)

I'm missing where anybody said anything about hacking, can you enlighten me? Everything talks about a contest to crack the code, and how the German used a military programming language (Ada) to crack it.

Where's the hacking?

Re:wait wait wait. (3, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380897)

Sure! :) The section of the law(if you want to look it up) is Section 202c StGB. The law basically say it is illegal to possess, distrubute, sell, or *create*, any software which has the ability to displace security. Such as cryptography.. he "uses his own program" to decrypt the message. Which in turn displaced its security..

Now I do not really believe this is illegal under german law.. but I am saying that I would not be suprised if someone tried to charge him.

Re:wait wait wait. (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381463)

Ahhh, I see now.

So basically the Germans have screwed themselves in regards to people within their own country testing their own security. (i.e. company hires individual to test encryption, etc)

It seems that way anyway.

Nice! Lots of forward thinking here. :P

Re:wait wait wait. (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382423)

Yup, absolutely, that was the overwhelming slashdot response when their new law was first posted about.

hackers who are doing illegal things anyway will play with all the toys they care to, as they won't care about the new law any more than the old ones, and anyone trying to test and secure their own system would be in breach of the law for having or using security software.

Re:wait wait wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381169)

It's a new dumb German law, more over the top than the DMCA. The UK has something similar working through the system. Let's hope their socialist govt gets the boot before it makes Whitehall.

Well, there goes my (2, Funny)

ronadams (987516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380493)

"Colossus DRM System" project...

ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380511)

I can see this one being a Godwin-magnet

Re:ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380533)

How dare you invoke the Nazi-Law!

Oh wait ... damnit!

Re:ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380957)

Quirk's Exception.

Vee Haf (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380525)

Vee haf vays uf makink you drink more Ovaltine!

Irony? (3, Informative)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380549)

It's not irony! :(

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380853)

Today, you are correct, this is not irony. However, if this were sometime between 1939 and 1945, it would be ironic; you would not expect a German to crack a German code, after all. Assuming the German in question supported his government's wars, and was not a spy or something.

Ooh! I know how this could be _really_ ironic: what if the code were cracked by a German supporter of the war, who already had access to an Enigma machine (and thus didn't really need to crack it in the first place), and - tee hee! - had failed math ! That'd be ironic, I'm sure of it.

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380965)

>> you would not expect a German to crack a German code, after all

It would be like Bruce Schneier cracking an NSA cipher.

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381199)

what if the code were cracked by a German supporter of the war, who already had access to an Enigma machine (and thus didn't really need to crack it in the first place)
Oh boy, so much ignorance...

(a) Enigma has nothing to do with this. Enigma was the cheap everyday military cipher. The code Colossus was used to break was a different, more advanced cipher machine used by the German high command.

(b) Having an Enigma machine is not sufficient to read Enigma messages. You need to know what settings to use, and you get those by cracking the cipher.

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381167)

Why not?

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381373)

Because it wouldn't be pedantically correct.

Re:Irony? (2, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381559)

The actual reality of the situation does not diminish the ironic juxtaposition in our minds of a Nazi helping the Allies.

And if irony is so misused, why isn't there a word to fill that gap? We have sarcasm and hypocrisy, (and, of course, bad luck and coincidence), so what is the word for something doing its opposite for dramatic or humorous effect?

Re:Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381797)

Opposite of what?

It's a coincidence that the person who cracked it lives in the country of origin of the code.

There's no "opposite" here. It's not like no one in the US has never taken a crack (or cracked) US codes. It was a contest open to all and Germans happen to be a known subset of All. So, no opposite.

Irony would be if we specifically excluded Germans from even knowing about it and then they cracked it.
To them, it would be ironic.

Re:Irony? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382407)

It would be ironic if a German had cracked the current UK code and submitted that in response to the challenge to beat a British machine that cracks German WWII code.

duh! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380575)

Of course the German was able to crack it first. I mean, Colossus was made to crack German codes. Clearly this German guy already knew how to crack it to begin with...

Re:duh! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380877)

Actually, the encrypted text was written in German, and the local broadcasts were made IN Germany.

So it would be significantly more amazing if someone OTHER than a German cracked it.

-Rick

Re:duh! (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21383317)

Um.. you're making a lame joke, right? Because EVERYBODY knows how to crack these codes by now. It is a classic study in cryptography, in many textbooks as an example, the implementation is left to the reader as an exercise.

Time travel hero wannabe (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380619)

Now I just need a copy of the software on my laptop and a time warping wormhole to 1942.
 
Just have to remember not to ask for "pepsi, free"...

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (2, Funny)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380679)

Be sure to seal the wormhole after yourself, so that the Nazis can't sneak a copy of AES through it.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380889)

Totally offtopic, but my freshman roommate and I were both military history buffs and slightly nutter. We had an imagination game called "Go back in time with a machine gun" that we used to play while drinking heavily. The challenge was to construct the most compelling fantasy of altering historical events merely by traveling back in time for a few hours with an M-60 machine gun and a lot of ammo. The Punic wars (for instance) just wouldn't be the same.

Although the fact is that the game only really makes sense up through roughly the Napoleonic Wars, because the impact of a single guy with a machine gun can't be that large after that. You might have an impact because you know the course that a battle will take, but we eventually considered that to be cheating--you're leveraging the element of surprise and your knowledge of the future, rather than your machine gun and your moxie.

I eventually adapted the game for the debate team, since we shared a lot of long road trips in cramped rental cars and needed distractions. But since there were a lot of women involved, and women don't really care too much for military history, we came up with an alternative: Go back in time with any object currently in your dorm room.

One of the best answers I ever heard was to take your laptop (with full batteries, of course) and a portable scanner back to Alexandria and start copying scrolls in the library like crazy, a few days before it burned to the ground. Somehow, it seems a little more satisfying than letting the Carthaginians conquer Rome, or kicking the Normans back to France in 1066.

This is why I quit playing D&D--too inflexible.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381211)

I think bringing a digital camera and a stack of memory cards (not that I actually have either in my dorm room, but I could on short notice if I had plans to time travel) would be more efficient than the portable scanner, and you could go for longer. The challenge would be convincing the librarians or guards or whatever to let you in and not run you through with a spear. I'm sure they protected their scrolls pretty carefully...

I suppose you could bring a supply of gold/precious stones, though they might be more expensive now than they were back then. Bringing along some good technology could facilitate pretending to be a god, which would certainly work. You could use the camera, along with some good acting, to convince them that you captured their soul, or ka, or whatever it is. Heh, especially if you can take a video clip of them, show them the clip, watch them panic, then "let them go" by taking a picture with flash, or something.

I might bring this game up next time I'm drinking heavily...

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381321)

You are ignoring the classic education of Army of Darkness...this is my boom stick! Just bring the mentioned machine gun AND a camera... This also assumes you can return to your time, and with the camera, in which case why not just toss the scrolls back on through as well?

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381469)

Bring some Aluminum. It's dirt cheap now that we have the electrical power to create it artificially, but it's extremely hard-to-find naturally and for most of history, aluminum has been one of the most rare metals there is. Napoleon dined with aluminum silverware, reserving the gold for his guests.

Go back in time, get rich (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382207)

I've toyed with the question of "What would you take back in time with you to make yourself wealthy no matter where you land?" Best answer I could come up with: stainless steel needles. Yes...sewing needles. You can carry an amazing amount and variety of needles in a relatively small container. Do you have any idea what a single fine steel needle would cost back in 1100 AD...assuming you get such a thing?

Well, maybe you want to bring the Glock too, just in case the local powers don't feel compelled to treat a traveling salesman with due courtesy and respect...

Re:Go back in time, get rich (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21383289)

What would you take back in time ... stainless steel needles.


good news, it's just a boat ride to go back and forth in time.

My Aunt was island hooping around New Guinea in a yacht last year. They traded a few fishing hooks for a handful of pearls. She had been given permission to visit in return for transferring donations like clothes, and medicines on her boat to the islands.

So their are still places where shaped metal is still difficult to come by.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381423)

Sounds fun! But what would pictures of musty old scrolls we've already probably gotten past the need of do? If it were me, I'd instead try to stop the fire and/or spread the knowledge so we have an altered history of not having to relearn all that stuff and possibly end up even more advanced that we currently are because we spent time on newer things.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

Carnivore (103106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382291)

History. There were history texts there that went back farther than anything we have now, with sources that were closer to the events than we have access to now.

I don't think we even know what we lost.

The currency to get you into the library would be information. We have lots of information they didn't have--maps would be good. Drawings of animals they didn't have. Lots of stuff.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (5, Funny)

kliklik (322798) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381429)

Just as you surround yourself with the most important scrolls and start scanning, the battery in your laptop decides to explode, starting the fire.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (2, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382247)

And his last heroic words before he died in the conflagration were 'Don't buy Delllllll!'

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

ricosalomar (630386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381451)

Is your extension cord wormhole-compliant? Otherwise, you'll need massive battery to scan all that papyrus and sheepskin. Which raises another question, was that stuff A4, Letter, or Legal? Might need a wide format scanner. Better to just bring a portable hole, and some dwarves, and Kevin.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382771)

How about: travel back in time with a knowledge of the germ theory of disease?

An army is a large group of men living in close quarters, under stress. In other words, a microbe's banquet. I've read historical accounts of battles that offhand mention the fraction of soldiers who are disabled by infections like dysentery, and it's astonishing the degree to which health casualties outnumber battle casualties. How many battles woudl have gone differently if the quartermasters knew about basic food safety? Athens might have won the Peloponnesian War if Pericles had understood the danger of keeping the population walled up inside the city for an extended siege then bringing ships in to resupply them from their remote colonies.

To bring things back onto track, most Slashdotters probably know enough cryptography to alter the course of any pre-modern war. With basic computer science knowledge, a highly flag semaphore system could be devised that would allow not only communications in battle, but for messages to be relayed over great distances, allowing empires to be managed more efficiently.

Re:Time travel hero wannabe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381117)

You want a Pepsi, pal, you're gonna pay for it! :)

NO CODES WERE BROKEN (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380737)

None. None at all.

``Climb Mount Niitaka'' is a code. How can a computer break that,
with no contextual clues?*

Now, a cipher may have been broken... or at least, a cipher session key.

* 1941-12-07

Re:NO CODES WERE BROKEN (2, Informative)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381709)

If you're going to be pedantic, I will too.

1941-12-07

Try -08. The Japanese military ran off Tokyo time, not local time.

racism? (5, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380745)

I could understand a stereotype tag, even a nationalism tag, but racism? Are the taggers implying that people from German are of different races than the rest of the world?

I RTFA and there is nothing racist in there. Just that a guy from Germany cracked the code using some software written in Ada.

-Rick

Slashdot Aryanism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380779)

I KNEW it! Slashdot subscribers are Germans bitter of the defeat of their Aryan plans! /karma....clicks "anonymous"

Mod parent up. (0, Offtopic)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21380791)

Please mod the parent up, since he actually knows what the word 'racism' means.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382259)

I'd be interested to see a slashdot week where all of a sudden posts could only be modded up instead of up or down. Modding against opinions pretty much makes the forum fairly worthless. If you only want to read what you already think, Find an outlet that caters to your views and avoid the commentary entirely.

Reffering to those who mod down an excellent point, of course. The fact that people have slowly warped racism to mean referring to any detail beyond the scope that someone is human from planet earth. The fact that a German software engineer ousted a code-breaking machine formerly used against the Germans IS a noteworthy point, whether from a humour or a turnabout kind of standpoint. Where the hell is the racism involved? There isn't even a generalization involved since the entire issue focuses on an individual not a categorization of individuals. If I were this touchy, I'd have had to tell off all my friends for the cutesy canuck jokes =)

although i do like maple syrup. BUT DONT YOU DARE COMMENT ON THE FACT OR I WILL GET SO MAD.

Humanity is weird.

Re:racism? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381109)

Are the taggers implying that people from German are of different races than the rest of the world?

I'm not going to call Louis Farrakhan on this one, but yeah, by the common meaning of race "any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.: the Dutch race." [reference.com], Germans are a race, and historically the nation was divided along racial lines. While there's a small percentage of generally-non-integrated non-Germans living in Germany, I doubt Joachim Schüth was one of them.

Nobody would say "Japanese" or "Korean" wasn't a racial group. It's really no different.

Re:racism? (1)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381681)

>Nobody would say "Japanese" or "Korean" wasn't a racial group. It's really no different.

Well, I would. But that may be because I'm german.

Actually, in german news the message read more like 'The code was cracked by a hobby-radio operator* using... programmed in Ada. The guy was from Bonn.'
Why do you guys make such a topic of that man being a german?

*no idea how to translate 'Hobbyfunker'

Re:racism? (2, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381723)

Why do you guys make such a topic of that man being a german?

It's called "irony". Jesus! It's not that complicated.

TWW

Re:racism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382137)

Irony - yes, but only in that special "Morissette" sense.

Re:racism? (1)

KingEomer (795285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382689)

Maybe it's because many people outside of Germany wouldn't know where Bonn is.

Would you say that the German news message is "cityist" because it mentioned the city where he lives? Heck, are the Olympics racist because they separate groups of athletes based on nationality, and then proceed to make a big deal of the nationality of those who win events?

Bad definitions. Race != Ethnicity (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382095)

"any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc" [...] Nobody would say "Japanese" or "Korean" wasn't a racial group.

I think that's a bad definition for race. It sounds more like a correct definition for ethnicity. "Japanese" and Korean" are nationalities and, more than that, they are ethnicities, but I wouldn't call them "races" any more than I'd say that Italians and Swedes are of different "races." Italians and Swedes are "Caucasian;" Japanese and Koreans are "Asian," (or "East-Asian" if you want to differentiate from "South-Asian.")

Because by the definition you cited, Kurds are a race, as are Armenians, as are... It just gets absurd. At this rate we'd end up with one-"race"-per-family-group!

Race is biological (but socially-constructed*). Ethnicity is (mostly) cultural. I feel like definitions that do not reflect this difference serve to make our language less accurate.

Re:Bad definitions. Race != Ethnicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382437)

Italians and Swedes are "Caucasian;"

Eh? Have the Caucasus moved since I was at school?

Re:racism? (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381387)

Pfft. The Boston Marathon is *obviously* superior to the Tour de France, and the Iditarod beats them bo--... Oh, wait.

Re:racism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381977)

Thanks for whoever put up the racism tag, I haven't had such a good laugh for a long time! :)))))

Re:racism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382011)

Eh... the racist part doesn't have anything to do with where he's from; it came from him using Ada...

Re:racism? (1)

thufir (129668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382115)

Because this is great example of the fact that Germans are the superior race of the European species -- and we all know that the European species is the superior species of Man.

Germans invent or better everything they touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380761)

That's why the rest of us love to hate them. They have superioring engineering, superior art, superior scientists, a clean and safe society, and arguably better pornography. Remember that kid who always wrecked the curve in grade school? That's the Germans, and boy do we love to hate those Nazi kraut-eating bastards.

Interesting coincidence (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381019)

I've read Enigma, also Between Silk and Cyanide. As follow-ups, I've read The White Rabbit (story of Forest Frederick Edward Yeo-Thomas' capture and survival.) Recently I've acquired London Calling North Pole, by Hermann J. Giskes, mastermind of the Game Against England, played out in Holland.

It's remarkable how few resources the Nazis had to throw at code breaking, thanks to party politics and such. Their chief reliance appears to have been ignorance of how the Enigma machine worked was their best security. Their most effective counter measures were 'playing it back', that is capturing agents and setting up a station to behave as if the agent and network were still safe and functioning normally (this was Operation North Pole in Holland.)

Re:Interesting coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381193)

thanks to party politics and such
Has any of this really changed? DMCA is not about hounding down the code breakers (politics) and not about real security.

The xxAA are not in charge of codes in Washington. So the security is weakest where the political limitations are the greatest.

We get signal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381073)

we got the signals late.
So we said "main screen turn on" and found Collosus doesn't even have a main screen. Now all our base are belong to Joachim Schüth :(

What was that about secret svcs? (4, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381375)

Heise security article says, "...British and German secret services initially had reservations about the cipher challenge."

I'd like to know more about what they said. Are they worried it will encourage kids to get interested in crypto? Where do they expect to pick up talented cryptographers anyway?

Re:What was that about secret svcs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382167)

Germany, duh! Oh, wait....

Re:What was that about secret svcs? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382563)

I'd like to know more about what they said. Are they worried it will encourage kids to get interested in crypto?

They are worried because they are still using those codes. Clearly they had not been cracked until now so they must have been secure. Now they are going to have to make things even harder by doing a ROT13 encryption first.

Re:What was that about secret svcs? (2, Informative)

HRogge (973545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21383053)

The German museum which did the sending part of the whole project had to borrow a Lorenz SZ42 encryption engine from England (because the Allies grabbed all of them after WW2). The English GCHQ (http://www.gchq.gov.uk/) feared that someone would call it war booty (sp?) and a court might decide they don't get it back.

Same reason why the art taken by the Russians by the end of WW2 can never be shown outsite Russia... according to most countries laws they would have to confiscate it..

Achtung! (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381437)

Das encryptmachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy wrecken der secrets, schnatchendatas und breakensecurity mit grossembrassen. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen.

Please give the Nazi jokes a rest (2, Interesting)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381745)

It has been ~70 years now, hasn't it? A couple of generations.. At least keep the outdated references limited to cold war stuff.

Re:Please give the Nazi jokes a rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381933)

I shit on your face, filthy Carthaginian Moloch-worshipping unclefucker.

Re:Please give the Nazi jokes a rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381993)

Well, it's been only 62. Personally, I'd say it's not soon enough for jokes.
Except for the really funny ones, of course...

Oh sure, blame it on the weather (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382089)

Yesterday the atmospheric conditions were such that we couldn't get good signals.

Somehow it sounds a lot like blaming lag for losing one of the old school Quake 1-on-1 deathmatches

Why irony? (1, Insightful)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21382229)

Why irony to describe the result? irony: incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. Here the expectation, even if misguided, is a historical one, not a nationalistic nor skill-based one. Since irony is based on expectation, it is as much an emotional process as an intellectual one. It is not necessarily a rational response; it CAN be just a sensation one gets. Obviously no one doubts Germans are technically capable of cracking codes, so expectation is not twisted around for that reason. From an earlier article on this [itnews.com.au]: "Colossus was developed at Bletchley Park to decipher German messages during World War II...Two groups of amateur code breakers will be invited to crack transmissions encrypted by one of the original Lorenz cipher machines used by the German High Command during World War II." So I do think most people might find it justifiably ironic that in a blind test a German, who otherwise knows nothing about the original German code, is able to decipher it the fastest in a contest taking place over 60 years after the fact competing with the original machine designed to decipher it in the first place. In a naive post hoc sense, one might think "the result actually makes sense because perhaps there is something 'Germanocentric' about the code." But I seriously doubt this. The historical irony remains intact. However, again only after the initial glow of the ironic sensation fades do we realize our expectation was flawed: we should have guessed that a competent German was participating, so there was a pretty good chance a German would win from the start.

Re:Why irony? (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21383181)

And in other news, over-analyzing humor takes all enjoyment out of it, along the lines of "what the hell would a rabbi do in a bar?!".

Not much faster than Colossus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21382795)

Colossus according to http://www.hnf.de/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/Pressemitteilungen_Result.asp?Anzeige=Yes&Index1=337 [www.hnf.de] cracked the message in three and a half hour. It was beaten by a modern day computer doing the job in just 46 seconds which thus was less than 300 times faster. 300 times faster is just the speed increase one expects in about 10 years according to http://www.neurophys.wisc.edu/ravi/docs/m122p2.pdf [wisc.edu]. The specially built for the task Colossus faster than mid 90s general purpose PC. One has to have great respect for the builders of Colossus.
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