Article | Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020 | The Zschweigert Cryptograph – A Remarkable Early Encryption Machine Linköping University Electronic Press Conference Proceedings
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Title:
The Zschweigert Cryptograph – A Remarkable Early Encryption Machine
Author:
Klaus Schmeh: Private Scholar
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.3384/ecp2020171016
Download:
Full text (pdf)
Year:
2020
Conference:
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020
Issue:
171
Article no.:
016
Pages:
126-134
No. of pages:
9
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2020-05-19
ISBN:
978-91-7929-827-2
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköpings universitet


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The Zschweigert Cryptograph is one of the many cipher machine designs developed in the years following the First World War (1914-1918). It was invented by textile engineer Rudolf Zschweigert, who had designed programmable stitching machines before and apparently transfered his computing expertise to cryptology. Unlike the Enigma and as good as all other crypto devices of the time, the Zschweigert Cryptograph implements a transposition cipher, not a substitution cipher. To the author’s knowledge, it was the first encryption machine that worked with keys provided on punched cards. The goal of this paper is to introduce the Zschweigert Cryptograph and its history, to provide a mathematical specification of its encryption algorithm, and to explore how it can be cryptanalyzed. It will be shown that the Zschweigert Cryptograph, which was probably never used in practice, was insecure even by the standards of the 1920s and not convenient enough to compete with other encryption machines of the time.

Keywords: Zschweigert Cryptograph; Rudolf Zschweigert; encryption machine; transposition cipher

Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020

Author:
Klaus Schmeh
Title:
The Zschweigert Cryptograph – A Remarkable Early Encryption Machine
DOI:
10.3384/ecp2020171016
References:
No references available

Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020

Author:
Klaus Schmeh
Title:
The Zschweigert Cryptograph – A Remarkable Early Encryption Machine
DOI:
https://doi.org10.3384/ecp2020171016
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Last updated: 2019-11-06