Article | Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Historical Cryptology, HistoCrypt 2019, June 23-26, 2019, Mons, Belgium | The Typex Scare of 1943: How Well Did the British React to a Cypher-Security Scare? Linköping University Electronic Press Conference Proceedings
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Title:
The Typex Scare of 1943: How Well Did the British React to a Cypher-Security Scare?
Author:
Dermot Turing: Kellogg College, 62 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PN, UK
Download:
Full text (pdf)
Year:
2019
Conference:
Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Historical Cryptology, HistoCrypt 2019, June 23-26, 2019, Mons, Belgium
Issue:
158
Article no.:
004
Pages:
31-39
No. of pages:
9
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2019-06-12
ISBN:
978-91-7685-087-9
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Series:
NEALT Proceedings Series
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköpings universitet


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The response of German Naval Intelligence, at various points in World War Two, to suspicions that the Enigma cipher had been broken is well known. In 1943 the British were faced with evidence about the possible compromise of the Typex machine, the highest-level communications device in use across their armed forces. This paper compares the response of the British to the Typex scare to the German investigations concerning Enigma.

Reconstructing the story, it seems that the Germans had, in fact, read some Typex messages. Although Allied codebreaking during the war operated on a higher plane than Germany’s, it was inappropriate to assume that the Germans could not do so. Various similarities between the German and British responses emerge: the British were ill-adapted to investigating their own security; they were reluctant to chase down the truth, using arguments to justify their desire to be reassured that all was safe.



Keywords: Typex German cryptanalysis Security response TICOM

Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Historical Cryptology, HistoCrypt 2019, June 23-26, 2019, Mons, Belgium

Author:
Dermot Turing
Title:
The Typex Scare of 1943: How Well Did the British React to a Cypher-Security Scare?
References:

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Ratcliff, R.A. 1999. Searching for Security: The German Investigations into Enigma’s Security in Alavarez, D. (ed.) ‘Allied and Axis Signals Intelligence in World War II’. Frank Cass, p 146-167.

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Rezabek, Randy. 2017. TICOM_ the Hunt of Hitler’s Codebreakers. Privately published.

TICOM (Target Intelligence Committee). 1946. European Axis Signal Intelligence in World War II as Revealed by ’TICOM’ Investigations and by Other Prisoner of War Interrogations and Captured Material, Principally German. https://www.nsa.gov/newsfeatures/declassified-documents/european-axissigint/

Tighe, W.G.S. 1945. Review of the Security of Naval Codes and Cyphers September 1939 to May 1945. Unpublished, TNA ADM 1/27186.

Turing, Dermot. 2015. PROF: Alan Turing decoded. The History Press.

Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Historical Cryptology, HistoCrypt 2019, June 23-26, 2019, Mons, Belgium

Author:
Dermot Turing
Title:
The Typex Scare of 1943: How Well Did the British React to a Cypher-Security Scare?
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Last updated: 2019-10-02