An amateur cryptographer has beaten Colossus in a code-cracking challenge set up to mark the end of a project to rebuild the pioneering computer. The competition saw Colossus return to code-cracking duties for the first time in more than 60 years. The team using Colossus managed to decipher the message just after lunch on 16 November. But before that effort began Bonn-based amateur Joachim Schuth revealed he had managed to read the message. "He has written a suite of software specifically for the challenge," said Andy Clark, one of the founders of the Trust for the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park where Colossus is sited.
News of Mr Schuth's success reached Bletchley Park on Thursday night, said Mr Clark. The target messages, enciphered with a Lorenz S42 machine as used by the German high command, were transmitted by a team of radio enthusiasts in Paderborn, Germany. However, radio reception problems throughout the day on Thursday meant that the British code-cracking team did not get a full copy of the enciphered message until after 1700 GMT. "For that all credit must go to Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society," said Mr Clark. "They worked tirelessly yesterday."
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