密码情缘 Charm in Cryptography

2021年1月29日
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密码情缘 Charm in Cryptography

“Codes,” Becker said, fascinated. “How do you know where to start? I mean ...how do you break them?”

“破解密码,”贝克心醉神迷地说,“你怎么知道从哪里入手呢?我是说……你是怎么破解密码的?”

Susan smiled. “You of all people should know. It's like studying a foreign language. At first the text looks like gibberish, but as you learn the rules defining its structure, you can start to extract meaning.”

苏珊笑了。“别人不知,但你总该知道呀!这就像学外语。起初那些文字乱七八糟的毫无意义,但弄清其结构和规则之后,你就获取了其中的意义。”

Becker nodded, impressed. He wanted to know more.

贝克点了点头,深有感触,但他还是不满足。

With Merlutti's napkins and concert programs as her chalkboard, Susan set out to give her charming new pedagogue a minicourse in cryptography. She began with Julius Caesar's “perfect square” cipher box.

苏珊便用莫鲁提牌餐巾纸和音乐会节目单作黑板,给这位迷人的学究上了一堂简易的符号学课。她从尤利乌斯·恺撒的“完全平方”密码盒开始讲起。

Caser, she explained, was the first code-writer in history. When his foot-messengers started getting ambushed and his secret communiqués stolen, he devised a rudimentary way to encrypt his directives. He rearranged the text of his messages such that the correspondence looked senseless. Of course, it was not. Each message always had a letter-count that was a perfect square—sixteen, twenty-five, one hundred—depending on how much Caesar needed to say. He secretly informed his officers that when a random message arrived, they should transcribe the text into a square grid. If they did, and read top-to-bottom, a secret message would magically appear.

恺撒,她讲道,是历史上第一个编写密码的人。那时他的徒步信使不时遭受伏击,机密文件也因此遭劫,恺撒遂琢磨出一套初步方法对他的指示进行加密。他对他的文件进行重新组合,使它们看上去毫无意义。当然,并不是真无意义。每封信函都有一个字母数——这取决于恺撒想说多少话。他秘密通知他的大臣们,接到无法辨认的密件之后,首先把这些文字誊写在齐整的坐标方格上,然后,按自上而下的顺序读下去,一封密信就魔幻般地出现在眼前了。

Over time Caesar's concept of rearranging text was adopted by others and modified to become more difficult to break. The pinnacle of noncomputer-based encryption came during World War Ⅱ. The Nazis built a baffling encryption machine named Enigma. The device resembled an old-fashioned typewriter with brass interlocking rotors that revolved in intricate ways and shuffled cleartext into confounding arrays of seemingly senseless character groupings. Only by having another Enigma machine, calibrated the exact same way, could the recipient break the code.

在一段时间里,恺撒对文字内容进行重新组合的设密理念被人们竞相采用,而且为了使它更加难以破解,还对之进行了改进。非计算机时代的加密手段在第二次世界大战期间达到了登峰造极的程度。当时的纳粹造了一台让人全然摸不着头脑的加密机器,叫隐匿之王。这台机器酷似老式打字机,内装以错综复杂的方式旋转的铜制连锁变码旋转件,从而将清晰的文字内容打乱,使之成为看上去混乱无序的字母的分组排列。密件的接收方只有通过另一台隐匿之王,以同样的标准和完全同样的方法,才能破解其中的密码。

Becker listened, spellbound. The teacher had become the student.

贝克听得入了迷。这回先生成了学生。

One night, at a university performance of The Nutcracher, Susan gave David his first basic code to break. He sat through the entire intermission, pen in had, puzzling over the eleven-letter message:

一天晚上,大学里上演《瘪嘴》,苏珊给了戴维一个最简单的密码让他来破解。戴维整个幕间休息的时候都坐在那里,对着那张只有11个字母的纸条冥思苦想。

HL FKZC VD LDS

Finally, just as the lights dimmed for the second half, he got it. To encode, Susan had simply replaced each letter of her message with the letter preceding it in the alphabet. To decrypt the code, all Becker had to do was shift each letter one space forward in the alphabet—“A”became“B”, “B” became “C”, and so on. He quickly shifted the remaining letters. He never imagined four little syllables could make him so happy:

终于,在后半场结束的灯光就要暗下去的时候,贝克破解了密码。为了便于贝克解码,苏珊只不过是把信息中的每个字母都用字母顺序中紧随其后的字母取而代之。贝克在解码中只需把每个字母按字母顺序依次前移一个字母即可——A成了B,B就成了C,以此类推。他迅速替换了其他字母,从没想到,小小的四个音节竟使他欣喜若狂:

IM GLAD WE MET

He quickly scrawled his response and handed it to her:

贝克旋即写下自己的答复,递给了苏珊:

LD SNN

Susan read it and beamed.

苏珊感到无比欣慰。

Becker had to laugh; he was thirty-five years old, and his heart was doing backflips. He'd never been so attracted to a woman in his life. Her delicate European features and soft brown eyes remined him of an ad for Estée Lauder. If Susan's body had been lanky and awkward as a teenager, it sure wasn't now. Somewhere along the way, she had developed a willowy grace—slender and tall with full, firm breasts and a perfectly flat abdomen. David often joked that she was the first swimsuit model he'd ever met with a doctorate in applied mathematics and number theory. As the months passed, they both started to suspect they'd found something that could last a lifetime.

贝克快慰地笑了,他都35岁了,但还是兴奋得心脏剧烈跳动。贝克还从没有为哪个女人如此神魂颠倒过。苏珊那清秀的欧洲人相貌和柔和的棕色眼眸常使贝克联想到雅诗兰黛的广告。十几岁时苏珊又瘦又高,而且还笨手笨脚,现在可今非昔比了。这些年来,苏珊出落成一个袅袅婷婷、杨柳细腰的婀娜女子——苗条的身材,高高的个头儿,还有其平无比的腹部。贝克经常戏称她是他见过的第一个有着应用数学和数论博士学位的泳装模特。几个月过去了,二人都发现他们中间似乎有着某种可以维系彼此白头偕老的东西。

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