Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Zealand COMSEC History

At the New Zealand GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) website there's a publication by Eric Morgon about the History of Information Assurance in New Zealand. It describes the means of message protection from the early days before the Second World War until the 1970's.

You can read about the early cipher and codes New Zealand used, and how the Organisation of National Security (ONS) in 1930's urged for more and better cryptographic protection. During the Second World War they abandoned insecure ciphers such as Playfair and some Telegraph Ciphers and switched to different types of book ciphers and one-time pads. Also the Typex Mark II CCM (Combined Cipher Machine) was introduced during the war.

In the post-war chapter there's the KL-7 and the 5 UCO one-time pad on-line Telex enciphering system, and in the final chapter they explain how COMSEC became more and more important within the Government. Toy can read The History of Communications Security directly from this pdf link or visit the RNZN Communicators Association (chapter 8).


Moshe Rubin said...

This is an excellent catch which fills in a little-known corner of cryptology, i.e., New Zealand's cryptologic history.

There is an abundance of fascinating cryptologic history and information to be found if one carefully sifts through the sites of international security agencies.

Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers -- well done!

cm220 said...

The link to GCSB is dead. :-(

Searched there on the GCSB website, but couldn't find the information.

I suspect that:


links to the same document. Can you confirm?

I came to this when editing the 'Typex' crypto machine page om WIkipedia.

Dirk Rijmenants said...

Hu cm220,

thanks for the heads up. I just corrected the links. The document is now part of the RNZN Communicators Association (chapter 8). I linked that website, but made a direct link to the original document that also contains images.