Declassified Cold War book breaks 'impossible' encryption in 3 steps

The US National Security Agency has declassified a Cold War-era document that reveals a wild 3 step approach to code-breaking.

@Jak_ConnorTT
Published Tue, Jun 1 2021 3:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Jun 29 2021 3:17 PM CDT

A book written in 1977 has recently been declassified by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), and it reveals a three-step process for breaking "impossible" encryptions.

Declassified Cold War book breaks 'impossible' encryption in 3 steps 01 | TweakTown.com
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The book was written by cryptologist Lambros Callimahos, and it explains how to break all types of codes that are commonly used by the military. For the aforementioned reason, the NSA decided to claim that the book's release could endanger national security, as it could reveal the NSA's "code-breaking prowess". The NSA later declassified the book in December 2020.

One of the chapters of the book is titled "Principles of Cryptodiagnosis", and within that chapter, Callimahos reveals a systematic three-step approach to deciphering an encrypted message that used an unknown method. For example, the NSA may encounter thousands of encrypted messages, but if the cryptographers don't know the method for how the messages were encrypted, then they won't be able to break the encryption.

Phys.org reports, "As Callimahos details in his chapter, the code-breaker must begin with all the necessary data. This includes the ciphertext (the enciphered text hiding the real message), any known underlying plaintext (text from before the encryption was applied), as well as important contextual information."

As for puzzles, "For puzzles, part of the plaintext may be given to help the solver. With confidential military messages, the solver may suspect certain words have been encoded into the ciphertext, based on past knowledge. For example, there may be key terms such as "message begins," "message ends" or "secret," or specific names, places or addresses." per Phys.org.

Declassified Cold War book breaks 'impossible' encryption in 3 steps 02 | TweakTown.com

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest news. Jak's love for technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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