Cracking Enigma in 2021 - Computerphile

Enigma is known as the WWII cipher, but how does it hold up in 2021? Dr Mike Pound implemented it and shows how it stacks up against his laptop.
Mikes Code:

Cryptool v2 is here:

The original paper that Mike's attack is based off


This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley.

Computer Science at the University of Nottingham:

Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran's Numberphile. More at


  • Greg M.
    Greg M.2 hari yang lalu

    It might interest you to know that every published work from tv, movies, commercials, and youtube, and even the Bible/religions have been encrypted for only the most intelligent to decipher. All the rules are hidden in plain sight. I know cause I am the first person to decipher it. They call me Lucifer (Loose "if" er) and that's just one of many names they use for me.

  • omzig18
    omzig182 hari yang lalu

    I want one of the alan Turing notes wouldn't mind one of the Sherlock Holmes quarters too

  • philip dias
    philip dias5 hari yang lalu

    An 8086 could probably break it

  • Hard Cas
    Hard Cas5 hari yang lalu

    I was writing a report about Enigma, and while researching I found this interesting finding. John Herivel was a worker at Bletchley Park, and he claimed that Enigma operators being under wartime stress wouldn't fully change the settings of the previous day to the new one, and we can use this carelessness to help us find the settings for the day. This became known as the Herivel Tip, and it apparently accelerated the decryption of Enigma. The reason why I find this interesting is because this Tip would practically be useless. The Enigma machine itself wouldn't transmit and required 2 machines to operate and communicate messages through radio (that's how we picked up their encrypted messages). So why would an operator, who didn't fully change the settings to the setting of today, send messages to the other operator in the first place? I'm not doubting Herivels genius, but I just find this tip to be completely pointless because unless the Germans were really incompetent, they wouldn't waste time sending a message that the other operator can't understand unless they somehow randomly put it in the same setting as them. Please help me in understanding why the Herivel tip is considered a big help in deciphering enigma, the more I think about it, the more pointless and unhelpful it seems.

  • Rey Blais
    Rey Blais5 hari yang lalu

    Anytime I hear about Turing, it always makes me sad to think how he was treated after all his accomplishments.

  • Craig Monty
    Craig Monty6 hari yang lalu

    But you didn't even crack it after all that waffle? Just got "slightly closer".....

  • Bruce Rosner
    Bruce Rosner6 hari yang lalu

    While the war time Enigma messages were limited in length they also had very limited military vocabularies. There are not many different words used in weather forecasts or a troop movement orders or naval communications for example. The specific circumstance of an intercepted encrypted message can give useful information of its purpose and hence its vocabulary.

  • Nixel
    Nixel7 hari yang lalu

    So if you were to write a script that shows the current configuration and gradually gets more of them correct, it would _actually_ look like those Hollywood password cracking scenes, where the letters "lock into place" when they're correct?

  • Walter bishop
    Walter bishop7 hari yang lalu

    So the basic understanding is mathematicians in the 1940s could work out better than people today, with no computers.

  • James Ward
    James Ward9 hari yang lalu

    You're approach is based on a knowledge of how an enigma machine works though, did Alan Turing have a captured enigma machine?

  • Hard Cas

    Hard Cas

    5 hari yang lalu

    Most likely, on May 9, 1941 the Royal navy forced a Uboat to surface. While the Germans were bailing, they were able to capture an intact Enigma machine, with a codebook. From there they took apart the Enigma machine to discover how it works, specifically the internal wiring of all the rotors, and were able to use the machine to decrypt messages.

  • VendiGlobe
    VendiGlobe9 hari yang lalu

    So what about giving Polish people some credit. Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski

  • Michael Dodd
    Michael Dodd9 hari yang lalu

    Cracking Enigma is easier than looking in to the camera it seems :)

  • Peder Sloth Züricho
    Peder Sloth Züricho10 hari yang lalu

    Question: Mirroring camera or lefthanded?

  • Peder Sloth Züricho

    Peder Sloth Züricho

    10 hari yang lalu

    Forget what i said i answered my own question, the letters are the right way around ;)

  • Rk Dl
    Rk Dl10 hari yang lalu

    Talking about Enigma also seems to itch the privates after @17:51 minutes

  • R
    R10 hari yang lalu

    it was dubbed ' the unbreakable code ', if I remember right...

  • Decibell one
    Decibell one10 hari yang lalu

    So hard to follow.

  • chan dick
    chan dick10 hari yang lalu

    watching him moves around in his chair irritates me

  • JP V
    JP V10 hari yang lalu

    can you crack sugma?

  • Armin Lutz
    Armin Lutz10 hari yang lalu

    Call it a hunch but i think if you get some of it right, it will be slightly better.

  • adrian coelho
    adrian coelho10 hari yang lalu

    Very interesting.

  • gamanyme
    gamanyme11 hari yang lalu

    if you did your homework you would know that in fact the messages send via enigma DID have in fact a particular string text everytime and everytime in the same location of the message and turing also had to used it to crack the new combination everyday fast eneough

  • DJ DarkMatter
    DJ DarkMatter11 hari yang lalu

    this dude is rambling. said the same thing like 5 times. no hate, but annoying. this vid could have been 10 mins long

  • Geert van Kollenburg
    Geert van Kollenburg11 hari yang lalu

    19:56 kid skipping through the garden in the background :). Wonders of working from home

  • Blackened Sprite
    Blackened Sprite11 hari yang lalu

    7:37 if I recall correctly, the enigma machines were changed daily, so you literally had that day to do it, then had to start again the next day, and nothing you did before was of any real use (except, obviously, those pesky weather reports...)

  • Lost Alone
    Lost Alone11 hari yang lalu

    Enigma is the perfect example of why people who don't know about cryptography shouldn't decide which crypto system to use.

  • Bill Davies
    Bill Davies11 hari yang lalu

    Mike still has some fanfold paper... amazing!

  • aps ind
    aps ind11 hari yang lalu

    That's a lot of ifs before you say it's easy to crack

  • Kuit the Geek
    Kuit the Geek11 hari yang lalu

    I'm definitely going to start using the phrase, "How English is this?" when correcting grammar. I love the concept of how close is something to a language and just referring to it as "How language is this?". This was a great video. Very informative.

  • Zoltán Pósfai
    Zoltán Pósfai11 hari yang lalu

    "Modern ciphers don't have this issue." Microsoft pptp 3DES anyone? :)

  • Armagan Aktan
    Armagan Aktan12 hari yang lalu

    How I get jealous when I see much smarter people...

  • Mr. UwU

    Mr. UwU

    11 hari yang lalu

    Something I've learn of that feeling is to don't compare yourself to others, and instead focus on just learning stuff

  • Nick Crosby
    Nick Crosby12 hari yang lalu

    And your next vid on cracking Lorenz? Love this stuff

  • Zormac
    Zormac12 hari yang lalu

    He keeps saying that if you get one rotor right it's better than if you don't get any. How exactly does that work? If each rotor's input is the output of the previous one, wouldn't it always be complete nonsense unless you get everything right? How can a single rotor setting return some of the correct keys?

  • Perry Rhodan
    Perry Rhodan12 hari yang lalu

    Think about.. your way of solution, will it work if the original message was written backwards? ( 2 possibilities. First words versus sdrow and second complete sentence backwards.. )

  • david bullock
    david bullock12 hari yang lalu

    After the War the British gave the enigma system to the Australian Government as a "Uncrackable" encryption device, knowing full well they could look at all our secret communications.... Can't wait for us Aussies to become a republic.

  • Mesut Baysan
    Mesut Baysan12 hari yang lalu

    In the ww they ended all messages with the same greet. How did this phrase improve the decryption?

  • James Smith
    James Smith12 hari yang lalu

    "During the Woarr"

  • Chris Coffee
    Chris Coffee12 hari yang lalu

    I've not seen printer paper like that since I coded S3 for ICL in the late 1980s - every morning a bloke came round the office with a massive trolley and dropped off a stack of it with a printout of my journals and source listings from yesterday !

  • Shicho Sekura
    Shicho Sekura12 hari yang lalu

    Liked it just for the "random" ZUSE 6:06

  • Paul Morrey
    Paul Morrey12 hari yang lalu


  • Mścisław Chrząszczewicz
    Mścisław Chrząszczewicz12 hari yang lalu

    Thanks to Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski it was cracked first on december 1932. Great video!

  • C20H42
    C20H4213 hari yang lalu

    Very interesting and nice video!

  • SenorQuichotte
    SenorQuichotte13 hari yang lalu

    This dude needs his own channel. Throw an AI with a neural net at it with some cloud computing power, solved in 10 sec. Tensorflow could probably do it in 3 minutes.

  • Simos Katsiaris
    Simos Katsiaris13 hari yang lalu

    will not go into deepL, uses the basis of deepL...

  • Matthias Schorer
    Matthias Schorer13 hari yang lalu

    The enigma is a very clever piece of gear. I programmed one for the iPad and for that had to dive deep into the mechanics of that maschine. The weak point was the switch board which the Germans put in to make it more secure. The contrary was the case.

  • John Barradale
    John Barradale13 hari yang lalu

    How would you decrypt this code if you had no notion of using rotors or wheels in the first place?

  • John P
    John P13 hari yang lalu

    Would have helped more if the video showed how to write code in a laptop to crack enigma or which program is used, or how to access that program especially if the instructions depend almost entirely on the computer to do the legwork that would be the most critical information to detail.

  • Dan Bowkley
    Dan Bowkley13 hari yang lalu

    Going at it totally backwards, how difficult would it have been, during WWII, to have implemented AES on the hardware of the day? Would it have been possible at all?

  • Tulip1811
    Tulip181113 hari yang lalu

    great video except for the seasickness

  • CmdrCommando
    CmdrCommando13 hari yang lalu

    Consider this, Arne Beurling did it with a pen and paper during the war before the Turing machine.. And laptops. Love the show!!!

  • Mateusz SP8EBC
    Mateusz SP8EBC13 hari yang lalu

    By the way. Will it be possible to crack the Enigma settings if it was used not for encrypting an text in any human language, but rather for encrypting a binary data saved in something 'Base64 like'. I think that this might be way, way, way harder if the input set wouldn't have any strict structure or anything to use for analysis like that presented in the video.

  • David Gough
    David Gough13 hari yang lalu

    At 1.07 he says," let's look briefly at what the Enigma machine is. The subtitles, on the other hand, prefer to say, "Let's look at what the knitting machine is". Time to get the sub-title program improved.

  • Jeroen Doppenberg
    Jeroen Doppenberg13 hari yang lalu

    I see Thinkpad, I upvote

  • Brandon Hoffman
    Brandon Hoffman13 hari yang lalu

    I was thinking about enigma during this episode, which i then corelated to the United States using the Navajo. Which then led me to wonder whether or not the united states drafted people of a different nation to fight for them. Yep we drafted peoples from a different nation. Which to me feels like subjugation and the continuation of mistreatment towards the Native American's. It also makes that poster of uncle Sam pointing with the caption that reads "we want you" have some real negative vibes.

  • Sven Höhne
    Sven Höhne14 hari yang lalu

    Did I get you right, you set yourself on the situation that you know the internal configuration of each rotor, or did your software bruteforce those aswell?

  • Alespic
    Alespic14 hari yang lalu

    Nice, I brought Turing as my exam’s thesis

  • Ales Z
    Ales Z14 hari yang lalu

    you should have been born 80 years ago man!

  • james grist
    james grist14 hari yang lalu

    cheating by knowing about the cogs and the switch board. how did bletchley figure this part out?

  • VK's ASDgaming

    VK's ASDgaming

    13 hari yang lalu

    @plasmaastronaut It certainly is more efficient than "unbreakable" codes in movies which are being decrypted before they are implemented.

  • plasmaastronaut


    13 hari yang lalu

    @VK's ASDgaming what a cheap piece of junk, no wonder it got cracked

  • VK's ASDgaming

    VK's ASDgaming

    14 hari yang lalu

    @plasmaastronaut Commercial Enigma had three rotors. Army Enigma added plugboard. Later more wheels were added and those were not commercially available.

  • plasmaastronaut


    14 hari yang lalu

    @VK's ASDgaming bah. its pretty lame if in war time the military is using internationally / commercially available 'off the shelf' machine variants.

  • VK's ASDgaming

    VK's ASDgaming

    14 hari yang lalu

    Poles had already broken and reverse-engineered 3-rotor Enigma with plugboard and gave Brits this info and machinery just before the war begun. Brits also had procured commercial variant with simplest way possible: buying one.

  • CityStarrzz
    CityStarrzz14 hari yang lalu

    Watching with headphones and wincing when he draws with that felt tip marker.

  • oppamaclare
    oppamaclare14 hari yang lalu

    17:52 ... this is when he rearranges the rotors.

  • John Pesich
    John Pesich14 hari yang lalu

    I couldn't finish. I wish a word on SHA-2 would have been made.

  • John Pesich
    John Pesich14 hari yang lalu

    One is more English than another... Clearly you haven't been on Twitter.

    DIREWOLFx7514 hari yang lalu

    "this isn't something one does by hand right, not quickly" I'll give you one name: Arne Beurling. On his own, without any computation assist, without access to any hardware ( unlike Bletchley park, which had a copy of the early Enigma that was brought out from Poland ), he cracked the Geheimschreiber, which was roughly the Enigma for teleprinters, in 2 weeks.

  • Christian Borss
    Christian Borss14 hari yang lalu

    Great video! When you explained your algorithm, I was wondering how you can avoid that you run into a local maximum. But apperently it happens. Any suggestions how to improve it besides starting again with a different seed and see if you end up with a better fitness?

  • Adam Young
    Adam Young14 hari yang lalu

    Get this geek into mi5

  • Aaron Cook
    Aaron Cook14 hari yang lalu

    You never told us the weakness of enigma

  • Michael Brady
    Michael Brady14 hari yang lalu

    Brits only "broke the code" because they captured the "Day Codes" from the Germans.

  • Thorstein Klingenberg
    Thorstein Klingenberg14 hari yang lalu

    References his laptop a lot, has a ThinkPad X-series. I love it 👍😊

  • Jarod Baker
    Jarod Baker14 hari yang lalu

    mans just explained the weakness of enigma 180 times before getting to the point.

  • Katy Gets Rekt TV
    Katy Gets Rekt TV14 hari yang lalu

    Any chance you could spend £10 on a tripod so I don't feel like I'm in Drake Passage for the entire video? Thanks!

  • Fled From Nowhere
    Fled From Nowhere14 hari yang lalu

    Does he have some sort of bug crawling under his skin? Why does he move like that?

  • Grimshaw Grummage
    Grimshaw Grummage14 hari yang lalu

    this video just ended abruptly

  • Rixtronix LAB
    Rixtronix LAB14 hari yang lalu

    Cool info, thanks :)

  • 233kosta
    233kosta14 hari yang lalu

    My instinctive answer to "Is the Enigma secure today" is a flat out no, for the simple reason that it got cracked in the '40s. Bruteforce-wise it may still be nigh-on impossible, but if there were enough vulnerabilities to make it crackable back then, there's no reason those same vulnerabilities wouldn't be used to crack it today and given nearly a century of development in computing - much more quickly and efficiently. No cipher is safe from attack by intelligent and resourceful individuals, now more than ever before.

  • Wiizl
    Wiizl14 hari yang lalu

    But did Turing know how Enigma worked? I mean is it even possible to crack if you don't know that there are plugs and rotors an how many of them might be?

  • SheyD78
    SheyD7814 hari yang lalu

    Very surprising, I really did assume the brute force of a modern pc would break it without difficulty given the difference between what was available then and now. With people mining crypto-currency with graphics cards it seemed likely. Guess some things can't really be forced with just a bigger hammer (so to speak).

  • Mr. UwU

    Mr. UwU

    11 hari yang lalu

    I guess a top-level super computer would be able to brute-force it. After all, the best one is able to do 450petaflops

  • Rodrigo de Piérola
    Rodrigo de Piérola15 hari yang lalu

    (cough) Polish decoders and their bombas(cough)

  • Peter Rimshnick
    Peter Rimshnick15 hari yang lalu

    Why not use simulated annealing or genetic algorithms etc?

  • Karel van der Velden
    Karel van der Velden15 hari yang lalu

    After having worked later generation machines (KL-7) in the seventies as a navy radio-operator I marvel at the simplicity of this explanation. Thanks.

  • rayan69pl
    rayan69pl15 hari yang lalu

    Another Briton who repeats the lies that Alan Turing has broken the Enigma code. The Enigma code was broken by three Polish mathematicians, ie Jerzy Różycki, Marian Rejewski and Henryk Zygalski !

  • VK's ASDgaming

    VK's ASDgaming

    14 hari yang lalu

    @rayan69pl You imply that I lied by saying that Poles made the groundwork of breaking Engima by cracking and reverse-engineering its army variant with three rotors and plugboard. They also gave all their knowledge to Brits just before the war. Sad truth is that Poles just got forgotten because their part remained quite well hidden after the war.

  • rayan69pl


    14 hari yang lalu

    @VK's ASDgaming I know it's hard in the West to admit your lies, but before you write anything, read about it. The Enigma code was cracked and read for the first time in 1932 by Marian Rejewski. Of course, Turing contributed to the work, but to give him all the credit is a plain, hideous lie!

  • VK's ASDgaming

    VK's ASDgaming

    14 hari yang lalu

    They set the foundation by breaking army-Enigma with three rotors and plugboard. Enigma had to be continuously broken.

  • Stefan Zett
    Stefan Zett15 hari yang lalu

    With a modern computer it should be done in some minutes to break the positions of a three wheeled enigma. If you like you could read former secret texts from the war.

  • Korgo
    Korgo15 hari yang lalu

    Very interessting! Thanks :)

  • Donald Burkhard
    Donald Burkhard15 hari yang lalu

    Thought it was made to decrypt not encrypt?

  • Donald Burkhard
    Donald Burkhard15 hari yang lalu

    But one “p” not always same letter out?

  • Dan Kelly
    Dan Kelly15 hari yang lalu

    I actually haven't seen indications that he truly understands this subject matter. I get the feeling he got help online and/or from friends and can barely see the forest for the trees.

  • Gislo A
    Gislo A15 hari yang lalu

    Something about this guy I just like, he starts talking - i listen... passion perhaps? He seems likeable. Wonder how he is in his personal life hm...

  • Toni Ruottu
    Toni Ruottu15 hari yang lalu

    At 4:00 he says we don't have any idea what the plaintext is. He then proceeds to assume that the plaintext is human readable. Does this mean that the Enigma can securely be used to encrypt random sequences that are not human readable?

  • george d
    george d15 hari yang lalu

    @10:45 you said that there are 26 * 3 different starting positions. It should have been 26 ^ 3 instead.

  • Antonio Duverge
    Antonio Duverge15 hari yang lalu

    Turin did a much better job than this guy, he talks and talks at the end, he cheated anyway.

  • LA3CLA on the road and more
    LA3CLA on the road and more15 hari yang lalu

    Germans scientists in WW2 had some brilliant minds... they overengineered lots of things for quality too.

  • pogonator1
    pogonator115 hari yang lalu

    Question, you and Turing know how the Enigma machine works, and because of this you see the where the weaknesses are. But if you just had the output, a lot of coded messages, how much work would it be to break it today?

  • Somting Wong Wai
    Somting Wong Wai15 hari yang lalu

    So the best place to keep my passwords is a physical written sticky note in my draw.

  • DowskiVision MagicalOracle
    DowskiVision MagicalOracle15 hari yang lalu

    Videos like this are why I love the computerphile channel!

  • Austin Levreault
    Austin Levreault15 hari yang lalu

    lol Regarding the index of coincidences.... but if you have everybody using the same enigma settings on a given day and the allies intercept all of them, it doesn't matter that each message is only 200 letters long because the allies have hundreds of messages.

  • Jeffery's Mom!!!
    Jeffery's Mom!!!15 hari yang lalu

    ok I got 7 min in and I gave up

  • Wanderer
    Wanderer15 hari yang lalu

    In my mind the only weakness of the enigma was that the letter punched in, would never be repeated through out the process. So not 1/26 be 1/25. and like you said, could be put against some traffic in the clear. If none of the letters corresponded but had similar composition, was likely a key.

  • George Chu
    George Chu15 hari yang lalu

    This is also knowing the mechanical arrangement...

  • Rulovsky Pharaoh
    Rulovsky Pharaoh15 hari yang lalu

    stop wasting paper, buy a whiteboard please

  • Robin Phillips
    Robin Phillips15 hari yang lalu

    Dont forget that it was in military German, Navel or Luftwaffe!

  • SteeVee Dee
    SteeVee Dee15 hari yang lalu

    My wife's sister knows a 100 year old lady who worked in the office next to Turing at Bletchley during the war. She must have some stories but to my knowlege she's never discussed them with anyone.

  • Antonis Kouros
    Antonis Kouros15 hari yang lalu

    Stop moving the camera... my head... can't watch it!