Welcome to the companion Web site to "Decoding Nazi Secrets,"
a two-hour NOVA
special that chronicles how the Allies succeeded in cracking the infamous
German message-coding machine, the Enigma. The program was originally broadcast
on November 9, 1999. Here's what you'll find online:
Crack the Ciphers
Jim Gillogly, who has been called "arguably the best non-government cryptanalyst in the U.S." in the field of classical (historical) cryptosystems, offers three World War II-style ciphers of different levels of difficulty for you to try to break.
Send a Coded Message (Hot Science)
Manipulate an online version of an Enigma-like machine to encode your own message, then e-mail that message to a friend with instructions on how to decode it using a secret key.
A Simple Cipher (Hot Science)
Learn some of the tricks codebreakers use to solve ciphers, then use your new talents to make sense of what looks like a bunch of gibberish.
Are Web Transactions Safe?
Secret codes are not just for spies; they protect your online credit-card purchases, for instance. This feature looks at all the ways encryption affects you, with a special emphasis on the Internet.
Mind of a Codebreaker
Led by Alan Turing, inventor of the computer, the codebreakers of Bletchley Park were a brilliant, quirky bunch who broke the Engima in large part by learning to think like the German codemakers themselves.
How the Enigma Works
The Enigma looks roughly like a typewriter, but it is infinitely more complex, with fully 17,576 ring settings for each of 60 possible wheel orders—and that is just to set it up for use.