streda 22. februára 2023

Spanish Embassy's cipher machine break by Czechoslovakian Secret Service and KGB

How the Czechoslovak secret service ŠtB breaks the encryption machine Gretag TC 803 at the Spanish embassy in Prague:

Detailed description of the encryption machine Gretag TC 803:

Picture of the cipher machine's daily key block 

 "...Another break-in at the embassy took place on June 27, 1980. In this case, the State Security encountered a problem that it could not deal with. The Spanish started using the Gretag TC 803 encryption machine. ... Daily slips of paper with an encryption key were inserted into it. These were stored in a safe and bound with bookbinding cloth on three sides and in the middle. The canvas thus formed a kind of letter E with four arms. Between the canvas arms were perforated slips of metal foil that were inserted into the encryption machine. One part was designated for each day. Used and unused keys were shredded the next day. Without knowledge of this key, encrypted telexes could not be decrypted. Not even a specialist bookbinder from the Department of Intelligence could devise a way to bypass this security in a way that would not be noticed by the Spanish embassy cipher clerk. ... Although the StB found out the settings of the encryption machine's commutators for the second half of 1981, without knowledge of the day's encryption key, it was unable to decipher the dispatches sent. "An attempt was made to disassemble the block. A part of the light blue cardboard that covers the end of the binding cloth strips was peeled off by steaming. A high risk of exposure was found during this operation, as it is an area of 20 x 15 cm. (…) On the basis of the knowledge gained from the said inspection, I recommend consulting the problem through cooperation with the relevant workplace of experts in the issue of specially secured shipments in the USSR." Another inspection of the embassy took place on September 22, 1981, the StB copied the paper documents, but it was again unable to break the encrypted communication failed. ... The direct participation of four KGB workers in breaking into the Spanish embassy in Prague took place for the first time on March 17, 1983. The KGB had evidently managed to find a way to break the cipher blocks and copy the daily cipher for the Gretag cipher machine. It was not until four years after the installation of the "security" door to the encryption room that an employee of the Grany company, which manufactured the door, visited the embassy and removed the "defect". Between August 7 and 10, 1984, State Security verified that the door to the code room was recoded and was unable to discover the new password. The new lock was only breached during another break-in at the embassy on July 3, 1985, when Soviet specialists managed to copy all the encryption keys necessary for decrypting the communications of the Spanish embassy. Another break-in at the embassy took place in June 1986, when it was again possible to break into the encryption room and copy everything that the StB and KGB were interested in."


štvrtok 15. októbra 2020

Military Ciphers according to cpt. Frybort

Article about military ciphers by cpt. Bedřich Frýbort, in "Vojenský svět", 1937, 11 and 12, vol. V. I. part, pp. 438-9, II.part: pp. 479-80, Title of the article in czech: "Šifrování":


Content of the article is probably about basic cipher systems used in military exercises in Czechoslovakia.

Member of the group C of cipher solutionists at Czechoslovak HQ of the Ministry of Defence headed by lieutenant colonel Josef RŮŽEK, in czech:"člen šifrové skupiny C HV MNO", according to Porubský, Š.: Application and Misapplication of the Czechoslovak STP cipher during WWII (report on an unpublished manuscript). In: Tatra Mountains Mathematical Publications, vol. 70, no. 3, p.47

streda 14. októbra 2020

Miracle over miracles

Title of the article: "Miracle over Miracles", which was published on 15.04.1939, writes about kryptograph by certain danish inventor named Helgermhansen:

Google translate of the article:

Miracle over miracles ...

Copenhagen, Friday. (Stefani.) A young Danish named Helgermhansen invented a machine called a cryptograph, with which one can find the key to each secret cipher. The Danish Ministry of War is studying the machine. The sale of a patent abroad was prohibited.

utorok 13. októbra 2020

Časový tunel do minulosti - kryptografia a inkvizícia

 Program Čs. rozhlasu v Bratislave na 5.12.1932:

Obidve témy, ktoré ma obzvlášť zaujímajú: kryptografie, prednáška prof. Evžena Římana, ktorý napísal prvú brožúrku na toto téma:

a ďalej inkvizičné procesy s kacírmi v stredoveku, prednáška univ. prof. dr. Vratislava Buška, právnika, znalca cirkevného práva a bývalého rektora Univerzity Komenského v Bratislave( v rokoch 1936–1937).



Nech sa vám pekne počúva:)

pondelok 5. októbra 2020

Challenge Grille cipher / Flamm's Kryptograph

Flamm's Kryptograph, patented in USA, 1875.

A newspaper article published in the past covers an encrypted message written by man with pseudonym Tekew:













In Slovak:

Odkaz na šifrovanie pomocou Flammovho Kryptografu v slovenčine, Obzor, 1875, s.217-8:


Rozlúštenie tejto šifrovanej správy je nasledovné, vďaka čitateľovi s pseudonymom Narga na blogu Klausa Schmeha:


Later on, i found that  the Plaintext of the turning grille cipher challenge was presented in the next answer from reader with initials H. E. A. to Tekew's describing:

(To be continued)

štvrtok 24. septembra 2020


 I added five new links to the article about cs ciphers.

I have added Google Translation of transcription of the article about cipher machine Panmilion.

streda 23. septembra 2020

Unknown czechoslovak cipher machine - breaking news

I found some notes about unknown cipher machine called "Panmilion", constructed by czech military inventor cpt. Josef Sieber.  Instrument called "deformation pantograph", according to another article in Výrocní zpráva za rok 1924, and was invented by same inventor, in: Vojenský zeměpisný ústav, vol. 1925, pp.122-129. Article about cipher machine is from Narodni listy, No. 69, vol. 65, p.10:

Next page:

Google translate of transcription of the article:
Technical patrol.

Cipher machine of home construction.

Last May, we reported on the remarkable invention of Czechoslovakia. Captain Josef Sieber - a deformation pantograph, the production of which has now been taken over by the Prague company Srb and Štys. Today we can report on a new invention of the same officer, an encryption and decryption machine, which the inventor called "Panmilion" and which not only fully matches the best known designs of these combined machines, but also surpasses them in its pure simplicity and ease of use.

Today, pat is considered the most perfect encryption machine. "Enigma", which we also referred to at the time. This machine is similar to a normal typewriter, a three-line keyboard and a total of 215 keyboards. The alphabet of this machine has 52 non-zinar marks. The function of the machine is such that when encrypting instead of a written letter, the machine itself writes another letter, when repeating the same mark it replaces it again with another letter. about the same power, because it requires a special motor to produce the necessary electricity.Writing is similar to ordinary typing. , if the machine is set to the same key as the machine with which the trap was built, the machine writes the original text.

Encryption machine cpt. Siebel can be connected to any ordinary typewriter, writing on it is the same as on a typewriter. Machine size as 360X360X140 mm, weight as 8 kg. Electricity is enough for its drive. energy 4-6 V. The basic number of keys is approximately 400,000 sextillion. The alphabet of the machine contains 35 signs. There are another 531,441 options in each key, that is, additional keys. Each letter has a special key, arbitrarily controllable and changeable even while writing one trap, the key of one letter is in no relation to the key of another letter. The machine is equipped for double encryption, either in alphabetical characters (letters) or in numbers. The special equipment of the machine enables perfect writing in all languages where Latin is used. The machine converts the special marks of the language into the international Hughes alphabet and automatically provides the rewriting text with these marks when decrypted. The machine can be brought into three positions, corresponding to special marks and letters of all cultural languages. The machine can be manufactured in 74,000 different constructions so different from each other that even with the known key it is not possible to decipher the traps written by the machine of another construction. As a result, the machine can be used simultaneously in many institutions and in many states without the assurance that even if the key is revealed, the owner of another design could decipher the traps not intended for him. The internal connection would be the secret of the machine owner and could be easily changed at will at any time. As a result, a 4-6 Volt force will suffice for the machine. The machines can also be used for service in military formations in the field in the event of mobilization, as two small dry batteries are always easy to obtain and renew. Attaching the machine to an ordinary typewriter does not preclude the typewriter from typing, it is possible to type on the typewriter even if the Panmilion encryption machine is connected. The price of the machine is a good half less. than the price of other solid encryption machines. According to our detailed information, we can confirm that the Panmilion encryption machine is a surprising work of a serious inventor, and its construction is achieved today in this field of primacy. It will be interesting to see whether the inventor will find an entrepreneurial manufacturer in the country or whether he will have to look for it for our economic damage, beyond the borders - yyy—

(to be continued)