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Books
Topic Started: Jul 4 2009, 02:05 AM (2,147 Views)
Gerry StPierre
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I am fairly new to cryptology. I found out about the chaocipher after doing some googling after reading an article about Kryptos. That lead me to the Realm of Twelve website. Which led me to Elonka's page. The chaocipher intrigued me as something that I could possibly contribute to solving in some manner. First it is fairly modern. Second it is in English, my native (and only) tongue. Finally, there is an active community attempting to solve it thanks to mosher's work.

I wanted to do some reading on crytography. My local library only had a very basic book.

I used up a couple of Borders gift cards I had lying around and bought
The Code Book, Simon Singh (already read)
Codes, Ciphers, Secrets and Cryptic Communication, Fred B Wrixon

Any other suggestions? Anything that is relevant to the challenge of the Chaocipher?
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jdege
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Books on cryptanalysis have been have been few, far between, and have rapidly fallen out of print.

The classic text is "Cryptanalysis" by Helen Gaines. This was published back in the 30's, as the American Cryptogram Association's basic text. It's dense, covers a lot, and doesn't discuss some important techniques that weren't publicly known at the time. But it is still in print, and covers a range of ciphers that no other book does.

There are two other books in print, Abraham Sinkov's "Elementary Cryptanalysis", and F.L. Bauer's "Decrypted Secrets". Both require some math, but if you've taken basic linear algebra you should have no trouble with them. (If you haven't taken linear algebra, you should put it on your list),

Then there are the military manuals. William Friedman was arguably the greatest cryptanalyst of modern times. But what his job actually was was to create training programs and to write manuals for the US Army's cryptography sections.

FM 34-40-2 is a basic intro to cryptanalysis that is largely based on excerpts from Friedman's texts, and is available online.

The texts themselves, or those parts of them that are not still classified, are available from Aegean Park Press

There are two in particular to look at. "Military Cryptanalysis" and "Military Cryptanalyics." The former is a four-volume text from the 1930's that covers pretty much everything. The latter are the first two volumes of what was intended to be a seven-volume revision of the former. But only the first four volumes were written, and only the first two volumes have been declassified.
When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.
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osric
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I think Simon Singh's 'The Code Book' is an excellent way to get into ciphers and the Challenges at the back of the book are fun to attempt, even though the prize has already been won. After that David Kahn's 'The Code Breakers' will take you further into the subject and is highly readable.

If you want to get into solving ciphers then I recommend you join the American Cryptogram Association, where you will get a 2-monthly magazine with articles on solving ciphers, and access to skilled people who know what they are doing and can help you. You will also get 100 ciphers to solve in each magazine. Have a look at http://www.cryptogram.org/
to find out how to join.

As far as Chaocipher is concerned, I think all that's relevant has been gathered together at the Chaocipher Clearing House.
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jdege
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osric
Jul 5 2009, 04:10 PM
If you want to get into solving ciphers then I recommend you join the American Cryptogram Association, where you will get a 2-monthly magazine with articles on solving ciphers, and access to skilled people who know what they are doing and can help you.
And in the July/August issue, you'll find my very first submission to the Cryptogram: A Slide Method for Finding the Period of Periodic Polyalphabetics.
When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.
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mosher
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I highly second what both jdege and osric have written. I've been enamored by the subject of cryptanalysis since I was 15 back in the early 70's. What I'm about to write is a summary of my own experiences in this fascinating field.

I would divide the literature into two groups: the history of cryptology, and the art of cryptanalysis. I've always found that the history and stories of cryptology wonderfully complement the technique and art of cryptanalysis. If you want to understand the how and why of cryptology, here are some excellent books:

o The Codebreakers (David Kahn)

This is THE book that got me started. Already as a teenager I had read the book cover-to-cover numerous times, penciled in my own notes, and savored the copious references in the back. If you want to live the ancient and modern history of cryptology and cryptanalysis, there's no better text. Written in 1967 it might seem a bit dated (it was updated a bit in the 90's) but the text, stories, anecdotes, and cryptanalytic techniques of classical cryptography explained within are timeless. Most highly recommended. Be sure to read the full version, not the abridged paperback.

o Battle of Wits (Stephen Budiansky)

An excellent exposition of World War II cryptology. You'll feel you "were there" and will learn real-life cryptanalysis along the way. Budiansky has a talent for including lots of technical details for cryptanalysts.

o The Story of Magic (Frank B. Rowlett)

The memoirs of Frank B. Rowlett, the first cryptanalyst recruited by William F. Friedman in 1930. Rowlett was later to be the driving force behind the United States's breaking of the Japanese PURPLE diplomatic cipher. A fascinating and illuminating story of his personal experiences, it breaks off abruptly in about 1944. Nonetheless, you'll get a clear picture of real-life cryptanalysis told by a master.

o The Code Book (Simon Singh)

As mentioned by osric, this is a good book that has new material to add.

o The American Black Chamber (Herbert O. Yardley)

Yardley was a master storyteller, and nowhere is it more evident than in this classic expose of his creating and leading the American Black Chamber. Within the captivating stories you can find descriptions of cryptanalytic techniques.


In the art of cryptanalysis there are elementary and more advanced texts:


Elementary Cryptanalysis

o Cryptanalysis (Helen F. Gaines)

As jdege mentioned, this is a classic text, tackling the bread-and-butter of cryptanalysis. It doesn't have a direct bearing on techniques you need for tackling Chaocipher, but a well-rounded knowledge of cryptanalysis can only help when working on any cipher.

o Elementary Cryptanalysis (Abraham Sinkov)

Abraham Sinkov was another of Friedman's original hirees in 1930. This book is a clean, precise, and mathematically oriented introduction to cryptanalysis. It explains both statistical and algebraic methods of cryptanalysis. An excellent text.

o American Cryptogram Association (ACA)

I joined as a teenager and have enjoyed every moment of my membership. Its bi-monthly magazine, "The Cryptogram", contains both challenge ciphers (taken from a set number of cryptographic systems) and interesting article written by members (an example, as mentioned before, is jdege's article in the latest issue). The ACA recently sent all members its second edition of all issues of "The Cryptogram" from 1932-2008, all on CD and searchable. This alone is worth the membership, but you'll be glad you joined in any case.

o The Elements of Cryptanalysis (William F. Friedman)

Solid basis for the rudiments of cryptanalysis, written in Friedman's usual clear fashion.

o LEDGE, "NOVICE NOTES," American Cryptogram Association, 1994.

Clear explanations for solving ACA standard cipher types. Can be bought through the ACA.


Advanced Cryptanalysis

o Cryptologia (An International Journal Devoted to Cryptology)

This is the academic side of cryptanalysis, with articles ranging from practical, down-to-earth techniques to more abstract and esoteric topics (osric himself has published an article in Cryptologia entitled "Breaking Short Playfair Ciphers with the Simulated Annealing Algorithm", Vol. 32, Issue 1, 2008). A must for the serious cryptanalyst. The problem is that buying all issues from 1977 can be highly costly. Several books with collected articles have been published and these are very good. You can search for and buy reprints of articles (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t725304178~link=cover).

o Decrypted Secrets (F. L. Bauer)

Provides lots of mathematical underpinnings for many various cryptosystems. A good read for the advanced cryptanalyst.

o Machine Cryptography and Modern Cryptanalysis (Cipher Deavours and Louis Kruh)

Invaluable articles on classic machine ciphers, their history, and plenty of hands-on techniques for breaking them. This starts to come closer to techniques needed to work on Chaocipher. Just beware the numerous errors in the book: wrong chapter names, incorrect examples in places, poor index, and more. The invaluable content, however, lets the ecstasy exceed the agony.

o The Riverbank Publications (William F. Friedman)

Although somewhat dated, Friedman's clear style of writing and thinking makes this an excellent series on which to learn what it means to be a cryptanalyst.

o CLASSICAL CRYPTOGRAPHY COURSE BY LANAKI

I would highly recommend you read through, and do, LANAKI's course. You will encounter practically every topic in classical cryptography there is to meet. Can be accessed online at:

http://www.math.utoledo.edu/~codentha/Cryptanalysis/lanaki/


o Military Cryptanalysis (William F. Friedman)

A top-notch four-volume series, you can find it today on the NSA declassification site (http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/declass/military_cryptanalysis.shtml). As jdege mentioned, Military Cryptanalytics, a joint collaboration of Friedman and Lambros D. Callimahos, is an updated and revised version of "Military Cryptanalysis" which the world awaits for further declassification.

Aegean Park Press is a good source of cryptographic, including many mentioned above.

You would do well to read tutorials written by jdege and others published both on this site (here's a partial list) and around the internet (e.g., jdege's postings on this site). They are clear, to the point, and downright educational.

If I had to recommend a short list of books, I'd pick the following:


  • The Codebreakers (Kahn)
  • Cryptanalysis (Gaines)
  • Elementary Cryptanalysis (Sinkov)
  • Classical Cryptography Course by LANAKI


As soon as you've digested these, seriously consider the other titles.

Good luck!

Moshe

Edited by mosher, Jul 7 2009, 02:31 AM.
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osric
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Mosher,

An excellent reading list! Well done and thank you.
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Gerry StPierre
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Thanks so much for taking the time to put together such a great list! And thanks to everyone else who responded here with useful suggestions. It will take me awhile to make a significant dent in it, but will be worth whatever time I can dedicate to it.

It is also great to see the number of accomplished people working on this challenge!
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Gerry StPierre
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osric
Jul 5 2009, 04:10 PM
If you want to get into solving ciphers then I recommend you join the American Cryptogram Association, where you will get a 2-monthly magazine with articles on solving ciphers, and access to skilled people who know what they are doing and can help you.
In the mail
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osric
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Welcome aboard! If I can be of help at any time just give a shout.
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Gerry StPierre
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I've received the July-August 2009 edition of The Cryptogram. I've solved the first 5 Aristocrats cons. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to spend on this (or any other) hobby!
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jdege
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Gerry StPierre
Aug 11 2009, 02:30 AM
Unfortunately I don't have enough time to spend on this (or any other) hobby!
No one ever does.
When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.
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nullsole
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What a great list! I have all (and then some) except for Cryptologia journal (can't afford the sub just now) but did want to mention one that wasn't listed - Solving Cipher Problems: Cryptanalysis, Probabilities and Diagnostics by Frank W. Lewis (aka MASTERSON).

Mr. Lewis goes over most of the ciphers from the ACA and includes lots of personal history and even photos. He was hired by Mr. Friedman and worked along with him Rowlett, Sinkov and Kullback. Mr. Lewis shares some interesting insights and experiences in the book.

The book is still in print and available through Aegean Park Press and in many libraries.

Welcome to the group!
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mosher
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Hi nullsole,

You are "spot on" with Frank W. Lewis's "Solving Cipher Problems: Cryptanalysis, Probabilities and Diagnostics"! Although seeing the book over the years in the Aegean Park Press catalog, I was not aware of the splendid and rich material within. A few weeks ago I learned of its contents, have mended my errant ways, and intend to order it in the very near future. Thank you for adding this excellent book to the list.

Moshe
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cmdline
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If anyone is interested, here is a copy of Parker Hitt's "Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers", which Bryne used for Exhibit 3. http://www.archive.org/details/manualforsolutio00hittrich
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mosher
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Hi cmdline,

I just returned from a week's vacation with the family and read your posting now.

Many thanks for the link to Hitt's book -- always valuable. What was new to me was the www.archive.org site with its on-line documents. I searched for "cryptanalysis", "cryptography", etc. and found two classical items of interest:

FYI, look at the end of Langie/Macbeth for a test message created by J.C.H. Macbeth. Is anyone willing to try to solve it? The solution is to be found in a Cryptologia article:

THE MACBETH TEST MESSAGE
David Shulman
Cryptologia, Volume 3, Issue 2, 1979, Pages 100 104

If anyone is interested in tackling it with some judicious hints, just post your requests in this forum. The system should be revealed (a-la Kerckhoff) with the challenge being to solve the given test message. I believe hill-climbing could come in handy here.

Moshe

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