Up Close with an Enigma

At last month’s RSA conference in San Francisco, I stumbled upon a vintage 1944 model of the German crypothographic machine, popularly known as the Enigma. This particular machine was owned by the National Cryptologic Museum, and was part of a larger booth hosted by the National Security Agency. The staff at the exhibit were quite friendly and it didn’t take much to convince someone from the NSA to talk on-camera about the Enigma. (I did decide to submit the video to the NSA public affairs office for final review.) Reading through the accompanying historical pamphlet and listening to NSA staffers, I developed a better appreciation for the contributions made by Polish authorities (and mathematicians) towards breaking what was then, the most important cryptographic machine in the world.

Also from RSA 2009:

  • Making Mashups Safe(r) with MashSSL: Of the ten presentations at the inaugural RSA Innovation Sandbox, I thought the most intriguing technology came from SafeMashups (a startup out of UT San Antonio). They use SSL certificates and handshakes as the foundation for a scalable trust infrastructure.
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