Cryptology Annual News Update and Vignette

Bill Ricker

Sept 21, 2022

Cryptology News Bulletins 2021-09 to 2022-08

Certificate Authority Root problems

Let’s Encrypt Root CA Expiration

  Rich Pieri via  Fri, Oct 1, 9:34 PM  
  to discuss  
  Some CA bundles like the one distributed with Sylpheed for Windows
  contains several expired CA certs including the now expired 
  DST Root CA  X3 certificate. 
  This can cause problems with Let's Encrypt certificates
  even though the bundle has the ISRG Root X1 CA cert.


ROT8000 is the Unicode equivalent of ROT13. What’s clever about it is that normal English looks like Chinese, and not like ciphertext (to a typical Westerner, that is).


web app

not as easy to do in shell or Perl/Python as Rot13 !!

PGP Fit for purpose?

“Why BSI can’t encrypt”.

Sebastian Schinzel @seecurity

“Why BSI can’t encrypt”.
The German Ministry of Information Security (BSI) just leaked one of its PGP private keys. The receiver initially asked for the public key and got the private key as an email attachment.

Don’t treat this as a failure of BSI people. They are good people. It’s more like “PGP is so shitty that even the BSI screws it up badly”.


Stephan Neuhaus @stephanneuhaus1 Nov 16, 2021

Cryptography is a machine for turning any problem into a key management problem.

deleted so anonymous

PGP is a program which turns cryptography into an arsenal full of foot-guns

Crypto News Feature: Post Quantum Cryptography

What’s Quantum Computing?

Quantum Superposition when used for computing.

Kinds of Quantum Hardware

We’re discussing PQC before QC?

Yes !

What’s the problem?

Generalization of Forward Secrecy

NIST’s Post-Quantum Cryptography Standards

The goal of post-quantum cryptography (also called quantum-resistant cryptography) is to develop cryptographic systems that are secure against both quantum and classical computers, and can interoperate with existing communications protocols and networks. – NIST

NIST PQC Competition

National Institute of Standards & Technology started a multi-round competition, similar to with AES and SHA3 competitions

NIST PQC Selections for 2022

NIST PQC 2022-08-16 July 5th

† and weeks later into Round 4, SIKE was broken. Badly. 1 core-hour.
Well, that was ^further research^.

So when can i play?

The plan is to roll out these new PQC ciphers as additional cipher options in TLS. Soon?

NIST PQC Schedule

Known weaknesses

Isn’t that an unlikely compromise?

No. It’s happened.

History Vignette - Pin&Lug Hagelin Cryptographs (C-3x/M209)

Bletchley Park Podcast

Bletchley Park Podcast E131: It Happened Here: Secrets of the Supermarina 3 (91 min)

November 2021

Many visitors to Bletchley Park are familiar with the story of breaking Enigma and reading German and even Japanese codes. But equally important work was done on Italian ciphers.

Not only were the Code-breakers able to read Italian naval messages, before and during the war, but this information was used to decisive effect in the Battle for North Africa, and the ultimate defeat of Italy in 1943. In this It Happened Here episode, Bletchley Park’s Research Historian Dr David Kenyon reveals the secrets of one of Bletchley Park’s lesser-known decryption successes.

As always, grateful thanks go to Dr Ben Thompson for voicing our archival documents.

Featuring the following contributors from our Oral History Archive:
Mavis Batey
Rozanne Colchester

Swedish Innovation, adopted by several countries

Hagelin M-209-A

Cracking Italian Navy HQ’s Hagelin C38m pinwheel in WW2

How Broken

  1. Manual break of a depth
    • Depths
      • caused by errors
      • subtract two aligned messages
      • or codewords seen previously as covernames for ROMMEL, AFRIKACORPS, TUNIS, etc
    • complete-the-word cross-rif between 2 messages
    • which discloses fragments of both messages and their shared key
  2. Infer settings from key disclosed in longest depth fragment
    • internal: wheel pin positions and lug multipliers
    • external: start position
  3. Read entire message, using Settings and analog hardware
  4. Use settings found to simplify break of other messages


Another Bill Tutte, Tommie Flowers & Dollis-Hill Gang at P.O.R.S. legend that is not yet fully understood!

Bill Tutte of BP and the Dorris-Hill Gang for the win, before their latterly-famous “Heath Robinson” and “COLOSSUS” attack on Lorenz.

Tommie Flowers & Sidney Broadhurst of the Post Office Research Station, London (aka Dollis-Hill) were better known in the public for their post-war work on ERNIE1, the Post Office’s Premium Bond Lottery randomizer; and in the UNCLASS Electronics world (IEEE, ITU, etc) for the electronic telephone exchange, 3 years before Bell’s comparable 1ESS was installed in NJ.




S.W.Broadhurst and Highgate Wood Electronic Exchange racks, 1962. ⇒

Wm.T.Tutte (BP Research Section)

A NIGHTINGALE in the Post Office

NIGHTINGALE codename for a machine

“It is mostly unknown how it functioned.”

“An operator remembered it was like playing a church organ.” (implies both a keyboard and a bank of toggle switches?)

(BP say they may have a photo unlabeled, that has repetition of 6 units, which would be one per rotor, so plausible!)

NIGHTINGALE was the ^analog^ or emulator for Hagelin (later CryptoAG) C38/C38m/M109/CSP 1500/AM-1.

Stepper Relays aka Uniselector

NIGHTINGALE was built with telecoms Stepper Relays aka Uniselectors, Stepper switches, Steppers.

Steppers could be used as inside-out rotors, when rotors were used as ROMs.

Uniselector Stepper Switches / Stepper Relays were ubiquitous in pre-electronic electro-mechanical automated telephone exchanges (1927 how-to silent movie)

Bibliography & Footnotes

YouTube of this presentation will be linked here

Prior talks in this series - most talks have slides &/or YouTube attached, sometimes extras. Alas the YouTube audio pre-pandemic wasn’t great, BLU needs a donation of a wireless clip-on mike if we ever return to Hybrid/In-Person meetings. Or we all need to wear a wired or BT headset while presenting in person? if i can get a stealth stage headset that would be better visuals!

News and Focus sections have embedded links.

Good security news streams are and, the latter being less cryptologic focus.

History section general references

  1. See our prior discussions of GEE, VENONA for breaks of One Time Pad↩︎

  2. DSA-1571-1 openssl predictable random number generator (CVE-2008-0166) (Schneier)↩︎

  3. Supermarina = Navy HQ; ^Super^ as in Superior, Above, Supervisory over the Navy.↩︎

  4. Not actually Caesar; Self-reciprocal Beaufort, C=K-P & P=K-C, reversed standard alphabet↩︎

  5. Regia Marina Italiana 1940-1943 Naval situation and impact.↩︎

  6. CryptoMuseum M-209/C-38 page↩︎

  7. More information on Indicators as used by Allies and Italian Navy: Hagelin serie C: Indicators ( these m209 pages cover all C-38 users and variants including M209 and C38m, looking at national Indicator Systems, including C38m Supermarina. )↩︎

  8. See our prior discussion of CryptoAG RUBICON/MINERVA in 2020 (and minor mention 2021)↩︎

  9. Bauer, op.cit., p.191-192↩︎

  10. TICOM (Target Intelligence Committee) was like PAPERCLIP (collecting science/weapons papers and scientists) but for Intelligence/crypto/maths. (wikipedia, declass archive, archived I-45 inter alia)↩︎

  11. See above footnote on SuperMarina.↩︎