Paper 2021/1434

The Language's Impact on the Enigma Machine

Daniel Matyas Perendi and Prosanta Gope


The infamous Enigma machine was believed to be unbreakable before 1932 simply because of its variable settings and incredible complexity. However, people realised that there is a known pattern in the German messages, which then significantly reduced the number of possible settings and made the code breaker's job easier. Modern cryptanalysis techniques provide a lot more powerful way to break the Enigma cipher using letter frequencies and a concept called index of coincidence. In turn, this technique only works well for the English language(using the characters of the English alphabet), but what if we encountered an Enigma machine designed for the Hungarian language, where the alphabet consists of more than 26 characters? Experiments on the Enigma cipher with different languages have not been done to date, hence in this article we show the language's impact on both the machine and the cipher. Not only the Hungarian, but in fact, any language using more characters than the English language could have a significant effect on the Enigma machine and its complexity if there existed one. By a broad comparative analysis, it is proven that the size of the alphabet has a significant impact on the complexity and therefore the cryptanalysis.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
HungarianEnigmacryptanalysiscipher -complexity
Contact author(s)
perendi matyas98 @ gmail com
p gope @ sheffield ac uk
2021-10-26: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Daniel Matyas Perendi and Prosanta Gope},
      title = {The Language's Impact on the Enigma Machine},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1434},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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