Military Review

The encryption business of the Soviet Union. 1 part

41
The first developments in the USSR in the matter of information encryption date back to the beginning of the 20s. They were aimed at encrypting the speech signal. Development based on the principles of single-band modulation of electrical sound signals, heterodyne frequency conversion, recording voice signals on a magnetic carrier, for example, wire, and other similar inventions were based.


Soviet scientist, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Mikhail Alexandrovich Bonch-Bruyevich in 1920 offered a modernized version of the temporary permutation. What it is? Imagine that the speech that you want to classify, recorded on magnetic tape. After recording, the tape is stripped into small pieces, further glued together according to a predetermined permutation algorithm. In this mixed form, the flow of information and sent to the channel telephone line. The simple principle of the reversal of the sound information flow was proposed as early as 1900 by the Danish engineer Waldemar Poulsen and was called the time inversion. After years of 18, Eric Magnus Campbell, an engineer from Scandinavia, Thigerstedt perfected Poulson's idea by proposing temporary shifts. The receiver-phone as a result is only aware of the original algorithm (key) permutation of fragments and restore audio information. Bonch-Bruyevich made everything much more complicated, suggesting that in each segment of several segments a permutation be carried out according to a special cycle.

The encryption business of the Soviet Union. 1 part

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bonch-Bruevich

The practical implementation of domestic developments was carried out at the Research Institute of Communications of the Red Army, when during 1927-28 for the OGPU and border guards they created 6 hydroelectric power stations designed by N. G. Suetin. Also, the institute carried out work on further modernization of the secret field telephone to the HES-4 model. The importance of the topic of secrecy of telephone conversations in the USSR is evidenced by the fact that a whole bunch of departments dealt with this problem: the People’s Commissariat of Post and Telegraph, the Institute of Communications of the Red Army, the Komintern Plant, the Research Institute of Communications and Telemechanics of the Naval fleet, Research Institute No. 20 of the People's Commissariat of the Electric Industry and the special laboratory of the NKVD. Already in the 30s, high-frequency government communication lines were launched between Moscow and Leningrad, as well as Moscow and Kharkov. The Krasnaya Zarya plant launched the serial production of SMT-34 three-channel high-frequency telephony equipment (range 10,4–38,4 kHz), which met the requirements for speech purity at a distance of 2000 km. By mid-1931, it was possible to establish a more or less acceptable high-frequency connection between Moscow and the capitals of most of the Union republics, military districts and regional centers.

But even such a link, with the proper level of professionalism of spies, could easily be intercepted, as it protected only from direct listening. In fact, the wires were running high frequency current, not perceived by the human ear without special treatment. The detector receiver of the simplest design solved this problem, and telephone conversations of the highest level could be heard without problems. Interestingly, the former People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Yagoda interrogated admitted that he had specifically hampered the development of new equipment for the protection of communication lines, since he did not understand how it was possible to conduct total wiretapping of telephone conversations with new security technologies.

The Soviet Union, in addition, felt its own lag in the development of automatic telephone exchanges, which had to be purchased from German Telefunken. The procedure of importing such equipment into the Union was amusing: they removed all the labels from the equipment and presented it with a clean eye. Significant was the signing of a non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany in 1939. Stalin conducted all negotiations with Hitler by means of a Siemens telephone scrambler brought from Germany and an Enigma cryptographic machine. Own technology of this class in the USSR was not. After finishing the negotiations, Stalin invited Ribbentrop to himself, Molotov with the company, and solemnly proclaimed: “Hitler agrees to the terms of the contract!” Later, all those who in one way or another provided Stalin with the Führer, died in mysterious circumstances, or disappeared in prisons.


Molotov signs August 23 Pact of the year


Molotov and Ribbentrop after the signing of the Soviet-German friendship treaty and the border between the USSR and Germany

On the potential vulnerability of government HF communications, a senior technical engineer M. Ilinsky 8 August 1936 announced for the first time in a report. Then, the agents of foreign special services were considered as intruders as part of personnel serving the communication lines. Special tests were conducted in the 1936 year near Minsk, during which a long-wave antenna intercepted telephone calls at a distance of 50 meters from the communication line. In 1937, the agency reported that there was an unauthorized connection on the Moscow-Warsaw line in Poland. A year later, the head of the government communications department, I. Vorobyev, wrote a report in which he raised the alarm about the complete lack of secrecy in the Kremlin's long-distance talks. They responded quickly and conducted a special cable to connect the RF communications to the Kremlin telephone exchange. But the rest of the USSR government building continued to use the city telephone network.

After a large volume of warnings about discrediting the secrecy of negotiations, the People's Commissariat of Communications began to develop special protective filters for equipping long-distance telephone lines with them. At the beginning of 1941, a special device was put into operation in Tallinn - the “noise curtain”, which significantly complicated the interception of HF communications to radio equipment. Later, such know-how began to be widely used in the government departments of Moscow and Leningrad. For all the concern of counterintelligence problems of Western espionage in the USSR, the problem of recruiting personnel for HF communication lines was somehow missed. Only 5 of May 1941 of the year appeared a resolution transferring all classified communications to the category of government.

With an obvious internal shortage of their own classifying equipment, management had to seek help from foreign companies. Americans put in the USSR a one-time spectrum inversion setup for the Moscow Radio Telephone Center, and the Germans from Siemens in 1936 tested their encoder on the Moscow-Leningrad line. But to fully rely on the reliability of such a telephone connection, for obvious reasons, was impossible.

By 1937, the leadership of the relevant departments presented fairly simple requirements for Western manufacturers: a compact device was required that could protect against decryption using a radio receiver. The condition of protection against decryption of information using a technique of a similar complexity was not even mentioned. Requests went to Switzerland (Hasler), Sweden (Ericsson), Great Britain (Standart Telephone and Cables), Belgium (Automatik Electric), Germany (Lorenz, Siemens & Halske) and the USA (Bell Telephone). But everything ended ingloriously - most of the companies refused, and the rest asked for an incredible 40-45 thousand dollars for those times just for development.


Building telephone factory "Red Dawn" (late XIX - early XX century)

As a result, automatic redistribution of telephone conversations, called EU inverters, went into the series at the Krasnaya Zarya factory. The abbreviation is derived from the names of the main developers - K. P. Egorov and G. V. Staritsyn. They did not stop there, and by 1938 they mastered a more complex EC-2 device, which was notable for the ability to transmit no more than 30% of the total readable text to the subscriber - everything else was lost. But the encryption went in full without loss. They tested the EU-2 on the Moscow-Sochi line in August of the 36, and came to the conclusion that the technology requires high-quality communication channels.

Despite all the difficulties of use, 5 January 1938 of the year issued a decree on the launch of the first domestic device for the automatic classification of telephone conversations. It was assumed that the NKVD will receive by 1 in May twelve half-sets of racks to equip them with government communications.

To be continued ...

Based on:
Babash A.V. and others. On the development of cryptography in the XIX century // Information Security, №5, 2003.
Astrakhan V. I., Gusev V. V. Formation and development of government communication in Russia, 1996.
Astrakhan V.I., Pavlov V.V., Chernega V.G. Governmental Telecommunications stories Russia. Part of 1, 2001.
Klepov A. Information weapon Stalin.
www.obereg.ru.
Author:
Photos used:
ru.wikisource.org, ru.wikipedia.org
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  1. merkava-2bet
    merkava-2bet 5 December 2018 05: 27
    +12
    I read it with great pleasure, thank you. I hope you write about other countries, cryptology and cryptography is a unique thing.
    1. Bongo
      Bongo 5 December 2018 13: 56
      +7
      Quote: merkava-2bet
      I read it with great pleasure, thank you. I hope you write about other countries, cryptology and cryptography is a unique thing.

      Andrei, Good day!
      The author, having mentioned the ZAS telephone equipment based on magnetic recording, "crushing" and mixing of speech information, somehow immediately jumped to HF communication. In general, the topic is very "slippery", and I am very interested in how the author will "get out", and where he will come to in the coverage of post-war equipment.
    2. goose
      goose 7 December 2018 11: 17
      0
      A complicated special thing that few people understand. Thanks to the author for deciding to enlighten.
      1. Bongo
        Bongo 9 December 2018 02: 25
        +2
        Quote: goose
        Difficult special thing in which very few people understand.

        Who really understands, for example, those trained in the VIPS - the Oryol "Pentagon" - keep their mouths shut.
  2. Amurets
    Amurets 5 December 2018 06: 01
    +12
    Research Institute of Communications and Telemechanics of the Navy,
    From the moment he was drafted in April 1940 and until demobilization in October 1947, his father served as a telephone operator at the command post of the Pacific Fleet headquarters, and he also served on high-frequency equipment. He could explain in detail, in detail, the principles of operation of conventional and radio exchanges, dispatch communications, but as soon as the matter concerned high-frequency communications, he immediately fell silent in whatever state he was and everything was silent for the whole time of the conversations. Even before his death, in 1979, he still didn’t explain how RF communication is arranged, said that this concept is broad, and it’s better not to poke your nose there, they will tear it off with your head.
    1. Bongo
      Bongo 5 December 2018 14: 03
      +6
      Quote: Amurets
      as soon as the HF communication was concerned, he immediately became silent in whatever condition he was and all was silent for the entire duration of the conversations. Even before his death, in 1979, he didn’t explain anything about how the HF link works, said that this concept is broad, and it’s better not to stick your nose in there, tear it away with your head.

      Good evening, Nikolai!
      There is nothing tricky in HF communication. The usual high-frequency compaction of telephone and telegraph channels makes it impossible to listen to and read information without using special communication equipment. But this has nothing to do with ZAS and encrypted communication. There really is better not to go.
      1. Arkady Gaidar
        Arkady Gaidar 5 December 2018 20: 29
        +2
        Hello Bongo! That is, from your words it turns out that several waves of different frequencies are transmitted simultaneously through the wire. Of course, according to a certain algorithm. Somehow too simple for RF communications. And in this case, it really is not very difficult to crack.
        1. Glory1974
          Glory1974 5 December 2018 20: 54
          +4
          several waves of different frequencies are transmitted simultaneously through the wire. Of course, according to a certain algorithm. Somehow too simple for RF communications. And in this case, it really is not very difficult to crack.

          Nowadays it’s not difficult. And in those days, equipment for transferring the spectrum of the signal from HF to LF so that you could listen it would fit only in the truck. Therefore, throughout the war the headquarters spoke to the front without fear of wiretapping.
        2. Bongo
          Bongo 6 December 2018 14: 17
          +4
          Quote: Arkady Gaidar
          Hello Bongo!

          Hello Alexey!
          Quote: Arkady Gaidar
          That is, from your words, it turns out that several different-frequency waves are simultaneously transmitted over the wire. Of course, according to a certain algorithm. Somehow too easy for HF communication. And in this case, it really is not very difficult to crack.

          There was no algorithm there, just the signal was transferred to a high frequency that was inaccessible for human hearing.
  3. KVU-NSVD
    KVU-NSVD 5 December 2018 08: 59
    +8
    EC-2, which was distinguished by its ability to transmit no more than 30% of all read text to the subscriber - everything else was lost. But encryption went in full without loss.
    This equipment required clear and separate speech and "disliked" bad diction. subscribers in this regard were ordinary people with disabilities, it was easier to communicate using text information.
    It requires high quality communication channels.
    In addition to the foregoing, cable lines (or poorly maintained (drenched for example)) did not increase the quality of the communication quality, and when superimposed on the imperfection of the hardware, it turned out to be a mess, not a speech of the interlocutor. As for the purchases of classified equipment abroad, as far as I know, it was not so much the price, but the refusal of the participating companies to establish production in the Union with an appropriate transfer of technology and equipment. Which, in turn, did not suit our side - in the first place you can’t really copy it, and in the second place it is not known - maybe the manufacturer for the supplied ZAS will not immediately produce anti-ZAS for, say, other interested customers.
  4. ccsr
    ccsr 5 December 2018 14: 03
    +7
    An interesting article that allows you to understand the history of the creation of domestic cryptographic and ZAS technology. I hope there will be a continuation.
    But there is some clarification about these words:

    The signing of the nonaggression pact between the USSR and Germany in 1939 was indicative. Stalin conducted all negotiations with Hitler through a Siemens telephone scrambler and Enigma encryption machine brought from Germany. Own technology of this class in the USSR was not.

    Firstly, negotiations on the Enigma could not go on, but there was an exchange of telegrams. And for sure the Germans did not allow our specialists to see it.
    Secondly, even if we had a DOMESTIC technique of this class, it would hardly have occurred to the developers to make it such that the adversary could decrypt the information using his technique. So, if we had such a technique, it would still not be possible to dock it with German technology - this is the initial condition when creating a technique for this purpose.
    1. zenion
      zenion 5 December 2018 20: 55
      +5
      With the current technique in politics, not spitting in the direction of Stalin is a sign of poor education.
      1. ccsr
        ccsr 6 December 2018 11: 18
        +2
        Quote: zenion
        With the current technique in politics, not spitting in the direction of Stalin is a sign of poor education.

        Most likely this is simply from the technical illiteracy of those who posited such nonsense.
    2. gsev
      gsev 6 December 2018 01: 44
      +1
      Quote: ccsr
      Firstly, negotiations on "Enigma" could not go,

      Enigma seems to have been developed as a commercial application for business. Secrecy was ensured by the installation of encryption disks. The Germans could make a special encryption machine with an original set of encryptors. For example, anti-aircraft missiles are rebuilt with a simplified version when exported.
      1. ccsr
        ccsr 6 December 2018 11: 26
        +2
        Quote: gsev
        Enigma seems to have been developed as a commercial application for business.

        Judging by the number of Enigms issued, only German government agencies could be the customer.
        Quote: gsev
        Secrecy was ensured by the installation of encryption disks. The Germans could make a special encryption machine with an original set of encryptors.

        In principle, it was possible to change disks, but then it would not be possible to dock different types of machines with each other, and communication efficiency would drop sharply. Therefore, as I understand it, they went a different way - the cars were basically the same on the disks, but the keys were changed on them regularly, and the key documentation is easier to change for some particular cases, if there is a need to maintain confidentiality for two subscribers.
        1. hjvtp1966
          hjvtp1966 6 December 2018 19: 10
          +1
          I read somewhere that between the wars, the Germans sold commercial variants of Enigma, for example, to Swiss government departments. So, the principle itself and appearance were not a special secret. Let the BBC do not let the fog. But their mathematicians and engineers really solved the most difficult problem.
          1. ccsr
            ccsr 6 December 2018 20: 58
            +3
            Quote: hjvtp1966
            But their mathematicians and engineers really solved the most difficult problem.

            If you approach objectively, then our encryption services received two types of encryption technology before the war, which were hardly inferior to German machines in cryptographic strength. True, their dimensions required an automobile base, and the total number was at least an order of magnitude smaller than in the German army. It was a large number of such equipment that provided the German army with sufficient secrecy of messages in operational terms, and all the attempts of the British to praise their success in creating the decryption machine are designed for the inexperienced. In fact, they could only pick up part of the intercepted messages, the value of which was often minimal, because they arrived late.
  5. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 5 December 2018 14: 24
    +5
    Dear Eugene, many thanks for the material, I also read with great interest.
  6. speed force
    speed force 5 December 2018 16: 00
    +7
    The signing of the nonaggression pact between the USSR and Germany in 1939 was indicative. Stalin conducted all negotiations with Hitler through a Siemens telephone scrambler and Enigma encryption machine brought from Germany

    What makes you think that Stalin talked with Hitler - this is not in the memoirs of Ribbentrop, nor in the fakes of Gaus?
    Ingebog Fleischhauer states:
    From Berlin, where direct telephone communication was established with Moscow, this message was transmitted to the German embassy. Hitler’s verbal response, which, after Ribbentrop had left for the Kremlin, was duplicated by telegraph, modestly read: “Yes, I agree”
    Hitler at the time of the Moscow talks was in his residence Berchestgaden and at least for this reason he could not talk on the phone with either Stalin or Ribbentrop.
    I do not touch on the technical part of the article, but the historical one is doubtful ... however, the technical one too.
  7. NF68
    NF68 5 December 2018 16: 32
    +2
    Interesting article.
  8. vladcub
    vladcub 5 December 2018 17: 40
    +3
    As many homosapies exist as there is intelligence. Remember in the book "The Adventures of a Prehistoric Boy" when the main character spotted the enemies? An illustrative example of intelligence and counterintelligence, and with the advent of writing, cryptography also appeared: one of the Greek museums contains one of the oldest ciphers. This was on TV "365"
  9. Doctor Evil
    Doctor Evil 5 December 2018 18: 45
    +2
    I have a Methodological Guide for training radio operators on listening and key transmission. Military horizon July 1941. reception and transmission ... 575 hours. At the reception ... 300. On the transfer ... 275. Organization of SNiS ... 20. Radio exchange rules ... 15. A very sensible guide.
    1. hjvtp1966
      hjvtp1966 5 December 2018 21: 08
      +2
      Disappearing art ... Like playing a lute or harpsichord crying
  10. Doliva63
    Doliva63 5 December 2018 20: 25
    0
    WAS training - whoever does not die in Krasnoselitsy is not afraid of Buchenwald laughing Disbanded, no secrets. drinks
  11. hjvtp1966
    hjvtp1966 5 December 2018 21: 04
    +4
    The author has done a great job. Thanks, it's interesting to read. I hope that in history it is more in the subject than in technology - this is noticeable in the mixing of concepts and terms. Although, about the Soviet high-frequency lines in Poland in the 37th, it’s also not that easy, Pilsudsky straight cut the land for laying ... And if he cut it or sold it, what kind of mk would negotiate with the diplomatic mission - the poles would hang this cable with sensors like a Christmas tree with garlands. laughing
    1. hjvtp1966
      hjvtp1966 5 December 2018 22: 39
      +3
      Sorry, Pilsudski had died by then, but not the point ...
  12. Vic111
    Vic111 7 December 2018 00: 07
    +1
    Thank you for the article. Interesting.
    For those who want to know more - the article "Soviet encryption service during the Great Patriotic War ..."
    https://journals.urfu.ru/index.php/Izvestia1/article/view/619/606
    author: DA Larin - 2011

    When the term RF communication is used in memoirs about the Second World War, this refers to a communication channel closed by encryption equipment. Even the radio channels were closed for communication Headquarters-Front.
    Although the communication channel of the HF equipment was used more simply for communication. The equipment was scarce, the communication technology was primitive, there were not enough specialists.
    1. hjvtp1966
      hjvtp1966 7 December 2018 20: 24
      0
      This means the inability to adequately manage. Either the information does not arrive in a timely manner, or the enemy becomes aware and he takes countermeasures. But you can compensate for blood and material losses. Which was done.
  13. M. Michelson
    M. Michelson 7 December 2018 12: 02
    +1
    The procedure for importing such equipment into the Union was amusing: they removed all labels from the equipment and presented it with a clean eye by its own development.

    I recalled from the opus of one bad person.
    Nastya is surprised: all the inscriptions on metal are in enemy letters, and on the side is a sign: “Made in USA”.
    “This is a mistake,” Holovanov explains. - Our guys made the device, but in English terms they wrote everything down. Take off. And the tablet was mistakenly added. I repeat: the apparatus was created by the creative genius of the Soviet people. And you need to write: "Made in the USSR."
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 7 December 2018 13: 04
      0
      Quote: M. Michelson
      I recalled from the opus of one bad person.

      From the memoirs of a good man, a huge number of Soviet-made military equipment had inscriptions in a foreign language and not only on the case of equipment. In some samples, even the components did not have a domestic marking and it was impossible to visually determine the country of origin.
  14. Vic111
    Vic111 7 December 2018 14: 41
    0
    Quote: ccsr
    a huge number of Soviet-made military equipment had inscriptions in a foreign language and not only on the equipment case

    What equipment and in which troops? Communication, electronic warfare, air defense, infantry?
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 7 December 2018 21: 04
      +1
      Quote: Vic111
      What equipment and in which troops?

      Well, at least this one:
    2. ccsr
      ccsr 7 December 2018 21: 19
      +1
      Quote: Vic111
      Quote: ccsr
      a huge number of Soviet-made military equipment had inscriptions in a foreign language and not only on the equipment case

      What equipment and in which troops? Communication, electronic warfare, air defense, infantry?

      Here is one:
  15. Vic111
    Vic111 7 December 2018 22: 33
    0
    Quote: ccsr
    Well, at least this one:

    Is giggle allowed? Undercover intelligence, GRU General Staff units, government communications - this is not a huge amount of Soviet military equipment. By the way, "Proton" was produced in various versions, but you will never find the inscription "Made in the USSR" on undercover equipment. Work specifics.
    And government officials always have a certain amount of foreign technology. Or do you think the presidents on T-217 are talking?
    Putting a "bookmark" into a microcircuit is as easy as shelling pears. Therefore, it is always dumb to use someone else's element base. This relaxed in the 90s.
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 8 December 2018 09: 54
      0
      Quote: Vic111
      Undercover intelligence, units of the GRU General Staff, government communications - this is not a huge amount of Soviet military equipment.

      Well, not so little as you might think. For example, this one was licensed even in Bulgaria:


      Or do you think the presidents on T-217 are talking?

      Ours definitely do not talk. They do not have ZAS army equipment, and the T-217 has not been used for a long time.
  16. Vic111
    Vic111 9 December 2018 10: 35
    0
    Quote: ccsr
    Well, not so little as you might think.

    It doesn't seem to me. I just know that the USSR Armed Forces did not have "a huge amount of military equipment with inscriptions in a foreign language."
    The government communications have foreign ZAS technology for organizing hot line communications. Communication complexes for reconnaissance, due to the specifics of the work, were made in different versions. Also GRUshniki and the KGB used foreign communication equipment.
    The hardware communications troops for the Warsaw Treaty countries, at the request of the customer, were equipped with communications technology and ZAC made in these countries.
    If you read Rezun's opuses, then divide everything not even by 7, but by 777.
    By the way, the Strizh complex, if it was produced in Bulgaria, was under the license of the USSR.
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 9 December 2018 12: 48
      0
      Quote: Vic111
      I just know that the USSR Armed Forces did not have "a huge amount of military equipment with inscriptions in a foreign language."

      Do not distort, I did not write at all in the way you interpret - it was about RELEASING domestic military equipment with foreign inscriptions on the case or devices, and not delivering it to the Soviet Army, although there were some. If you do not know, then our weapons were delivered to dozens of foreign countries, and one of the requirements of such supplies could be the obligatory execution of inscriptions in a foreign language. Moreover, even foreign components were put into our equipment:
      When delivering Russian Su-30 fighters to India, Russian avionics were partially replaced with Russian avionics.

      Source: https://versia.ru/k-2020-godu-polovina-vsej-rossijskoj-voennoj-texniki-budet-imet-podozritelnuyu-zarubezhnuyu-nachinku
    2. ccsr
      ccsr 9 December 2018 13: 01
      0
      Quote: Vic111
      By the way, the Strizh complex, if it was produced in Bulgaria, was under the license of the USSR.

      Firstly, there was no "Strizh" complex, but there was a correspondent radio station R-394K and several of its modifications.
      Secondly, this radio station was "not if", but definitely produced in Bulgaria, and of course under our license, as I mentioned above.
      Naturally, it was about the times of the USSR - Bulgaria was then a member of the Warsaw Treaty and not like NATO now.
      Quote: Vic111
      If you read Rezun’s opuses, then divide everything not even by 7,

      He lies a lot in his books, but there are things that he describes quite accurately. You just need to know what he is writing about.
  17. Vic111
    Vic111 10 December 2018 18: 57
    0
    Quote: ccsr
    Do not distort, I did not write at all as you interpret

    Really my mistake. I admit it.
    Regarding Rezun, it's like sparrows digging in manure for a grain ... "A secret military cemetery in Vatutinki ..." This is the apotheosis of his truth.
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 11 December 2018 15: 57
      0
      Quote: Vic111
      "The secret military cemetery in Vatutinki ..." this is the apotheosis of his truth.

      I think that the apotheosis of his "creativity" is the furnace in which the traitor is burned - one must be a great dreamer to come up with such a thing.
  18. bbss
    bbss 21 February 2019 00: 55
    0
    Very interesting article!