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Author Topic: For your SIGINT Library  (Read 722 times)

Offline Josh

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For your SIGINT Library
« on: November 11, 2019, 2301 UTC »
These pdfs should be in any ute radio enthusiast library.

The War Secrets In The Ether series takes us from the beginning of the (radio) art prior to WW1 to shortly after WW2 from a German perspective.
An interesting thing about War Secrets In The Ether is the US Gov bought copyright to the work from the author (a top ranking German SIGINT officer) and publisher prior to publication because in it the author revealed how they had broken several allied codes, including some the Russians were still using.

So, to keep the Russians from knowing their systems had been/still were compromised, the US Gov paid off Herr Flicke and it wasn't until decades later that a sanitised version was released by NSA to select researchers, long after these systems had been abandoned by the Russians. Today you can dl copies right from NSA archives;

War Secrets In The Ether I and II

War Secrets In The Ether III

Before Snowden, even before Bamford, and raising as much or more government concern, there was an American who wrote about early American SIGINT efforts from first hand experience;

Herbert Yardley and his SIGINT operation was terminated by US gov prior to WW2 because the gov had no money and "gentlemen do not read each others mail" .
They then scrambled to replace him with William Friedman, a fairly worthy successor, when WW2 showed up;

This work covers the birth of NSA, more or less SIGINT from the American perspective from WW2 to the 80s;

The Puzzle Palace, authored by James Bamford, a USN vet, stirred up a lot of stuff as you can tell from this pdf regarding congressional hearings;

And others by Bamford on more current capabilities;

This pdf describes Soviet SIGINT efforts to the time of glasnost and perestroikii;

This pdf describes current Japanese SIGINT infrastructure;

Another excellent work by Desmond Ball.
The Tools of Owatatsumi;
Japan’s Ocean Surveillance and Coastal Defence Capabilities

If you use a pc or just about any computing device, much less cheap sdrs that more or less take the place of what used to be entire buildings filled with racks of very expensive receivers, recording devices, and computers, you might thank US Gov and NSA for the neat and cheap gear because of the fortune invested in computing by NSA, but perhaps not for the spying they do on us sans warrant.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 2149 UTC by Josh »
We do not encourage any radio operations contrary to regulations.

Offline sat_dxer

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Re: For your SIGINT Library
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 1358 UTC »
"gov had no money and "gentlemen do not..."
Not quite that simple, see The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking (Yale University Press 2004) by David Kahn
Most times & frequencies posted are only an approximation.
Due to adulteration of the E.N.I.G.M.A. "designators" they're never posted nor ever used.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: For your SIGINT Library
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 1423 UTC »
Well worth reading: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Silk-Cyanide-Codemakers-1941-1945/dp/068486780X?tag=blackcatsyste-20

All about how the British passed messages to agents during WWII. The end of the book introduces the one time pad system, which eventually led to the spy numbers stations we listened to for several decades.  If you have any interest in numbers stations, you need this book.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline Josh

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Re: For your SIGINT Library
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 2234 UTC »
As a German code-cracker in the Second World War
September 23, 2004 Klaus Schmeh

For the first time, a witness has reported that had been involved in the cracking of the US encryption machine M-209

The fact that German decoding specialists cracked secret codes of the Allies during the Second World War was unknown even to experts until a few years ago. However, various sources show that the Germans at the time succeeded, for example, in decrypting the US encryption machine M-209. Telepolis employee Klaus Schmeh, who specializes in cryptology topics, has now for the first time tracked down a contemporary witness who was involved in the decipherment of M-209 news.

One of the most fascinating episodes of the history of technology took place during the Second World War. At that time, British specialists cracked the famous Enigma encryption machine on Bletchley Park Manor near London in the strictest secrecy, employing thousands of people and state-of-the-art data processing machines for the time.
The M-209 encryption machine was used by the US Army during World War II. The Germans managed to crack them.

The Germans, it was until a few years ago the doctrine underestimated, in contrast to the British, the possibilities of deciphering art and therefore could not decode intercepted radio messages of the enemy. It has only been known for some years that this politically correct assessment is completely wrong. For example, the former President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Dr. Otto Leiberich that the Germans cracked the US encryption machine M-209 in the Second World War, which was by no means an easy task. 1 Other documented deciphering successes prove that the German code-cracker was one of the best in the world back then.

Otto Leiberich's remarks also served as an important source of information for the author of this article when he wrote his recently published book "The World of Secret Characters - The Intriguing History of Encryption" 2 . An excerpt of this book, which was published in advance at Telepolis ( Hitler's last machines ), led to a small sensation: The author reported an 84-year-old man from Frankfurt, who reported in World War II at the cracking of the said US encryption machine M-. 209 been involved. After there had been only second hand reports on German decoders in World War II, an eyewitness account was available for the first time, which also brought some completely new aspects to light. With the present article the memories of this contemporary witness are published for the first time.
From the Russian front to the Dechiffrier school

The man who contacted the author is Reinold Weber and was born in 1920 in Austria. His father was an engineer who had made a name for himself in the steel industry. After the global economic crisis hit Germany, the father and his two children emigrated to the USA in 1930 to start a new job at AO Smith Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, the USA was anything but a land of opportunity in the thirties and so, after more than a year of being unemployed, the little family moved back to Germany at the end of 1936, where he found a job in Dusseldorf.

On 1 April 1941 - the Second World War had long since started - Weber was drafted into the Wehrmacht. He participated in a news company in the Russian campaign, but had luck in the disaster: His excellent command of English meant that in December 1942 he was transferred from the Russian front to the relatively harmless message interpreting school in Meissen, where he should be trained as an interpreter.

At his new location, Weber soon gained access to an intelligence test that was not yet planned for the novice, who was only 22 years old. With such intelligence tests, the Wehrmacht was looking for talent that could be used to decipher the encryption codes of the opponents of war. Weber was third best and was sent to Berlin in January 1943, despite his still young age, to begin a six-month training as a decipherer. Although he was among the slowest in solving the tasks set and was on the verge of being sacked several times, he finally completed his training successfully in August 1943.

The following month Weber, along with two comrades who were like him in the team, was transferred via Paris to the deciphering unit FNAST 5 to Louveciennes near Paris. There, intercepted Allied messages were decrypted. When the three young soldiers arrived in Paris on a Saturday, they decided not to report to their office until the following Monday, to see something of Paris beforehand. Then they climbed the Eiffel Tower, looked at a troop parade of the French Prime Minister Petain on the Champs Elysees and visited a revue at the Place Pigalle.

The dull weekend in Paris cost the three budding decipherers dearly. As soon as they arrived at their new office, they were already quoted as company boss. This evaluated the late arrival of newcomers as unauthorized removal from the force and promptly condemned them to a three-day "sharpened arrest" in the infamous penitentiary Frains near Paris.

It got even worse. Because of their misdemeanor, the three were to be moved to a unit on the Channel Coast, where the most dangerous task that existed for decipherers was waiting: listening to enemy telephone lines with the help of an induction coil in the no-man's land at the front. Already in the training, the prospective decipherers had to complete memory exercises in order to be able to memorize all recorded messages in such an action - in case they survived such a suicide mission at all.
The TELWA code

The two comrades Webers actually met the fate of the transfer to the front. He never heard from them again. However, he was able to save himself from his predicament by his skill in cracking enemy codes. In order to bridge the time until the planned deportation, his superior sergeant handed him over, formerly intercepted US radio messages, which were encrypted in the so-called TELWA code. Until then, none of the German decoding experts had been able to solve this code, and so obviously Weber did not trust anyone. So he went to work without much hope.

The messages coded in the TELWA code consisted of letters in groups of five, whereby the radio messages always started with the letter combination TELWA - hence the name. Although the Germans had been listening to such news since the end of the thirties, only about 1,000 groups of five were available in the Paris unit. The supposition already expressed by his colleagues that the TELWA code was a replacement code in which five letters each had a consistent meaning could be confirmed by Weber. In order to come up with a solution, he had the idea to write the individual letters of the groups of five separately vertically on narrow strips among themselves. He was able to move the rows of letters among each other within each group.

Through colored markings and comparisons Weber made an interesting discovery: the individual letters in a group of five were interdependent. He even managed to create a mathematical formula that would express this dependence, which presumably served to detect transmission errors. Of course, the meaning of each letter group was not yet known. But here, too, Weber made progress: By examining repetitions, for example at the beginning and at the end of radio messages, he was able to identify the first five-letter combinations.

The more Weber found out, the easier it became for him to assign more letter groups to their meaning. For example, the five-member group RYKFI stood for an opening bracket, while UZUSP meant the word "signed". After Weber was able to decipher the first news fragments after only a week, he managed to crack some 75 percent of the TELWA code with some of his colleagues. With his mathematical formula and tables made even wrongly heard letters could be corrected.

His success in the TELWA decoding preserved Weber before the front-line operation. In addition, his performance earned him great respect from FNAST colleagues, including lawyers, business people, financial experts, teachers and math professors. Weber was with his 23 years of Benjamin among the mostly 10 to 15 years older comrades. In contrast to these, he felt his life as a decipherer far away from the front as "heaven on earth".

This different perception was due to the fact that many of the former decipherers had originally served in special units and stood in the rank of lieutenant or major. The high ranks had brought some privileges. However, such special units were comparatively easy to identify for Allied spies, which is why they were abolished after the war began. The decipherers were then provided with significantly lower ranks and introduced to camouflage in other companies. So it happened that the FNAST decipherers in addition to their critical analysis work in addition to peel potatoes in the company and had to push guard. Since they were still better off than most of their comrades, to which they were not allowed to betray anything of their special tasks, of course, the decipherers had to suffer from numerous harassment by the superiors. No wonder that the often educated and civic decipherers were not very happy about their situation.
Reinold Weber is today 84 years old and lives in Frankfurt. He has long been silent about his work as decipherer in the Second World War, as his knowledge of the Cold War could have been interesting for both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Despite all the secrecy that was practiced between the departments of its decoding unit, Weber learned that there were FNAST field offices, besides Paris, in Oslo, Warsaw, Thessaloniki and Tunis. He could not know, however, that the FNAST was only one of seven German institutions that cracked codes of the war opponents in the Second World War. An exchange of information was only by courier with the High Command of the Army (OKH) in Berlin. One of the few pieces of information that reached Weber was that some of the FNAST unit forces in Tunis were captured in the retreat of the Africa Corps under General Rommel. Obviously, the Allies were so impressed with the German decoding successes that they then switched to some of their encryption procedures. After this incident, the OKH in Berlin with a threat of punishment decreed that decree experts had to keep at least 50 kilometers from the front.

At the end of 1943, Weber was transferred from Paris to Euskirchen near Cologne to train decipherers from navy, army and air force for the further decoding of the TELWA code. The harassment by superiors, who knew nothing about this work, also stopped there. For example, Weber was prohibited from writing a postcard in English and practicing his favorite baseball sport.

Since the German Horchkompanien with special receivers could catch Morse signals from the whole world, there was plenty of material for the decipherers to process. About 20 percent of the decrypted messages had tactical meaning and were therefore forwarded. This included most of the decrypted TELWA radio messages. As it turned out, the radio messages contained mainly personal data such as training status, registration number or service of US soldiers. Although this information was not critical to the war, it provided the Germans with interesting information if a name from the radio messages matched that of an American prisoner of war.
The deciphering of the M-209

In April 1944 Weber returned to FNAST 5, which had since moved from Louveciennes to nearby St. Germain. He noticed that by now he had become quite a respected decoder, and that his unit also cracked radio communications generated by the Allies using an encryption device. These were also called machine keys. Weber managed to be included in the circle of those who dealt with the decipherment of machine keys.

The encryption machine in question was the M-209 widely used in the US military, the principle of which had been developed a few years earlier by the Swedish entrepreneur and inventor Boris Hagelin. American soldiers usually called the M-209 simply "Hag." Boris Hagelin, who later founded the still existing company Crypto AG in Switzerland, had the first machine of this series - she was called C-36 - sold in 1936 to the French military. Shortly after the war began, he found in the US armed forces another bulk buyer who slightly changed the operation of the device and then christened M-209. The production took place under license in the USA. A total of 140,000 copies of the M-209 were made during the war, making it the most popular among the publicly known encryption machines.
The M-209 in use. A total of about 140,000 copies of this type were built, which gave it a correspondingly high volume of encrypted radio messages.

The functioning of the M-209 was already known to German decyphers at that time, as the Wehrmacht had captured some specimens during the Badoglio revolt in Italy. In order to decrypt a radio message, the code-cracker, however, needed the respective setting of the machine (the key), which was not easy to determine, since there were at least 101,405,950 different combinations. Part of the key (entered by tabs placed on a pole) was usually kept for a full day, while the remainder changed with each message.

When Weber came across the M-209 decoders, they already knew how to decrypt the particular message even if they had knowledge about the key (relative setting). If they could find out more about the key (absolute attitude), then it was even possible to decrypt all messages with the same rider constellation - and thus usually all radio messages of an entire day - without much effort.

With about 80 other, specially trained decipherers Weber first tried to crack the relative setting of the machine key. This succeeded sometimes several times a week, but sometimes only once in 14 days. Meanwhile, only a small group of five to six people took care of the solution of the absolute attitude. Since Weber had already been interested in mathematics during his vocational training at the University of Applied Sciences and later in his profession, he absolutely wanted to get into this narrower circle of mathematicians, which he succeeded after some effort

In the team, which was to crack the absolute attitude, besides Weber a Graz mathematics professor, a physicist and an actuary were active. Weber reports on his task: "It was a sweaty job where higher math with vectors with directional values ??alone was not enough, so we still had to accept color elements as another layer." He succeeded in simplifying the deciphering process used, exploiting a vulnerability of the M-209. This was that the machine provided only the encryption of letters, so numbers always had to be expressed in words. Since there were a lot of numbers in the mostly 1,000 to 4,000-letter messages, the decipherers could search specifically for it and, if successful, calculate the absolute setting from a relative mathematical formula.

The M-209 messages decrypted by Weber and his colleagues contained some explosive information. The decipherers repeatedly found indications of imminent bombardments of German cities, which were usually announced about six to eight weeks before the implementation in radio messages. What countermeasures the German military met with the help of this information, Weber never learned. Yet these blatantly significant announcements spurred on him and his comrades enough to tackle the difficult deciphering work with appropriate motivation, even though they were still harassed by their superiors in the company.
The deciphering machine

In April 1944, about two months before the Allied invasion of Normandy, Weber came up with the idea of ??building a machine that would automate some of the arduous deciphering calculations. On the one hand, this machine was to consist of four slotted bakelite rollers into which stamped metal templates could be inserted in order to simulate the relative adjustment. On the other hand, a relay circuit was provided with a plate above it, could be plugged into the lettered flashlight bulbs. The multi-switchable relays should be soldered to each other and to the electric bulbs inside a box.

Weber's superiors classified this idea as meaningful and sent it to the OKH in Berlin, where various specialists listened to his ideas. These also made a positive verdict and let Weber then audition at the company Hollerith, which later merged with IBM, because they seemed able to build such a machine. However, Weber was not allowed to reveal the exact purpose of the planned device, which certainly contributed to the fact that the Hollerith employees made the much unmotivated statement, the construction of such a machine would take about two years. Disappointed, Weber returned to St. Germain.

It was getting so slow there, because the Allies were moving towards Paris. When it was announced that the invaders had reached the city of Chartres - about 130 kilometers from Paris - the members of the Dechiffrier unit were ordered to give up their accommodation and to make their own way to Graach on the Moselle. Weber then met with a colleague, a linen manufacturer from Chemnitz, together to tackle the dangerous route together. In an old French military vehicle with a kitchen truck and trailer in tow, they mastered the route in 60 hours without sleep. Most other decyphers also made it to Graach. From there it went by order to Krofdorf on the Gleiberg near Giessen, where the new workplace was set up in a former cigar factory on the main street. The listening posts set up their devices on the tower on Gleiberg. After about a week, the service was restored. Their dwellings were found by the decipherers in some of the inhabitants of the village.

Weber was now able to take care of his deciphering work again, although the idea of ??a deciphering machine did not go away from his head. In Krofdorf there was a precision engineering company called Dönges, in which there were in addition to various processing equipment also stocks of silver steel and brass. Weber saw a chance to make his machine a reality. His supervisor agreed and allowed him to build the desired decoding device three days a week with his colleague. Although both had no experience in metal processing, they were able to laboriously produce the four 26-slot rollers and stamped sheet metal. In addition, seemingly endless cable connections had to be soldered. The required relays, each of which had to be able to set up one of up to 256 connections, could be procured by the two decipherers from the vicinity of Düsseldorf and Dresden. So they finally created a machine that consisted of two boxes: one the size of a desk containing the relays and the four rotating rollers, and another box of 80, 80 and 40 cm sides. The latter box contained 26 times 16 bulb sockets, with which the letters of the relative adjustment could be reproduced with the help of pears.

By the end of August, after countless overtime hours, it was finally done. The machine was ready to work. From today's point of view, Weber and his colleague wrote an interesting piece of history of technology because their construction already had many similarities with a computer with its binary logic. The computer was at this time not invented, apart from the also developed for deciphering British machine Colossus, which was created at about the same time.

In mid-September, Weber was able to demonstrate the strength of his computer precursor for the first time: During a night service, he determined with his machine - without the support of his colleagues - an absolute attitude within about seven hours. Without machine help, a team of three would have been busy for at least a week. The decrypted radio message contained many details of a planned Allied bombing that was to take place in about six weeks, and was therefore of the utmost importance. What information contained the other news of the day, which were now also with the absolute attitude to decipher, Weber did not learn.
The end of the deciphering unit

In early 1945, when the US Army approached Krofdorf, the decoding unit was again ordered to relocate. Now it was in the 600 kilometers away Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria, where the decipherer had to hit once again on their own. While some comrades now deserted, which was of course forbidden by the death penalty, Weber decided to take the walk to Bad Reichenhall together with his supervisor, an actuary from Munich, to attack. Despite a valid marching order, this was a dangerous endeavor, because during the last months of the war, many soldiers who were not in their troops were forcibly conscripted by other units or even shot by the SS as supposed deserters.

The two decyphers made their way to Munich, where the actuary finally deserted and returned to his family there. So Weber finally reached Bad Reichenhall alone after a 27-day march. But there he behaved imprudently for a moment and was promptly arrested by an SS unit, which took him to a barracks in Salzburg. Fortunately, a review of his personal data revealed that Weber was on a legal mission and there was no reason to continue holding him. Since FNAST 5 had meanwhile been accommodated in Salzburg, Weber was able to return to his unit the same day, where about 30 colleagues had already gathered. The approximately 180 news helpers, who also belonged to the unit, meanwhile remained in the Jägerkaserne in Bad Reichenhall.

To Weber's great surprise, his deciphering machine had also found its way to Salzburg. However, it lacked the necessary radio technology to intercept Allied transmissions, and so the device now proved useless. His superior therefore ordered to destroy the machine. With a pimple, hatchet, hammer and steel saw Weber then scrapped the device whose construction had occupied him for several months. Thus, a historically extremely interesting computer precursor disappeared again from the scene. To date, this device is not mentioned in any literary source for computer history.

In March 1945, the Dechiffrier unit finally gave up its position in Salzburg, whereupon Weber settled in the mountains. There he spent some time with a peasant family. A false American layoff license saved him from captivity, which could have been dangerous for him. For if a war opponent had found out that he had been active as a decoder for machine keys, he might have been obliged to forced services to the US or even deported to the Soviet Union. His knowledge could have been extremely interesting during the Cold War, especially for the Soviet secret service. Obviously, their deciphering past also kept all the other members of FNAST units to themselves, and so there was not a single eyewitness account of this until the publication of this article in the entire history of cryptography.

Weber remained in contact with some of his colleagues until their death. Almost all made a career in the economy after the war. At the age of 84, Weber himself is still active in Frankfurt today. In 2000, he wrote down his memories of his time as a decipherer, but only to make it accessible to his children and grandchildren. Only the Telepolis publication of a chapter from the said book "The world of the secret signs - the fascinating history of the coding" ( Hitler's last machines ) led Weber to finish its past silence. He passed on his 2000 transcript to the author of the book who subsequently wrote this article.

There is no doubt that Weber's report has given an exciting piece of history of technology to posterity, as much of the memories of Weber were unknown to encryption historians. For example, the TELWA code does not appear in the pertinent literature any more than the machine used to crack M-209 messages. Also, the fact that the M-209 encrypted information about bombing a few weeks before its implementation was not yet known, because for such strategic radio broadcasts, Americans typically used another device (the SIGABA).

Although Reinhold Weber can tell about interesting experiences, he is far from transfiguring what happened. On the contrary, in his memoirs written for his children and grandchildren, the former deciphering expert writes: "Why do I write that down for you, because you should think about it and compare it, in what heavenly and carefree security? you were allowed to grow up. "

By Klaus Schmeh has recently appeared: The world of secret signs. The fascinating history of encryption. With a foreword by Prof. dr. C. couple. Publisher W3L . 368 pages with 64 photos, including 10 color photos. 29.90 euros.

Klaus Schmeh works as a product manager for encryption solutions at cv cryptovision in Gelsenkirchen. As a sideline he writes about books and articles about cryptology (doctrine of encryption).

    Sweepstakes: Who will solve five crypto puzzles?

    1) One class of deciphering methods is called:

    a) Surface flow attacks
    b) Side channel attacks
    c) Kantenbach analyzes
    d) Corner current penetration

    2) Which quotation of a known poet is encoded in the following text:

    Yn it sedy, Bog gnifi Wdn agnig close.

    3) What was the name of the inventor of the Enigma?

    a) Arthur Tonius
    b) Arthur Steinius
    c) Arthur Scherbius

    4) Which special feature is important for cryptologists has the following section (tip: perform a frequency analysis):

    What's this? The child is it. The child dares, but you do not dare. If you do not believe me, then I'm going home, yard, table and chair. What I did I did with strength and decency. I boldly took cider to the barrel, but I did not have any milk.

    5) A US encryption machine was called:

    a) KABA
    b) ALIBABA
    c) SIGABA
    d) STRABA
    e) HELABA

    W3L will be giving away books and e-learning courses from the W3L publishing program every month until the end of 2004, using the correct submissions of the five crypto puzzles. Please send the solution to GeheimeZeichen@W3L.de .

( Klaus Schmeh )

translated from;
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Offline sat_dxer

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Re: For your SIGINT Library
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 1743 UTC »
There is no English language book published called "The world of secret signs. The fascinating history of encryption"

its entitled  Die Welt der geheimen Zeichen: die faszinierende Geschichte der Verschlüsselung and is (as far known) only available in German.

For those in the US of A who can read it, copies are found at the Stanford University Libraries; the Library of Congress; & New York Public Library.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 1744 UTC by sat_dxer »
Most times & frequencies posted are only an approximation.
Due to adulteration of the E.N.I.G.M.A. "designators" they're never posted nor ever used.

Offline Josh

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Re: For your SIGINT Library
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2020, 2219 UTC »
The Tools of Owatatsumi;
Japan’s Ocean Surveillance and Coastal Defence Capabilities

link added
We do not encourage any radio operations contrary to regulations.