The Imitation Game is a 2014 British-American historical drama film about British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing.
As Wikipedia notes, Turing was a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code that helped the Allies win World War II.
For legendary cryptographer Paul Kocher, who serves as President and Chief Scientist of the Cryptography Research Division at Rambus, antiquated Enigma machines epitomize the salient challenges faced by modern-day cryptographers.
Indeed, the early cryptography platform – invented by Arthur Scherbius at the close of World War 1 – was used commercially during the 1920s before being adopted by various militaries for enciphering and deciphering secret messages. However, as The Imitation Game artfully depicts, the Enigma code was famously cracked during World War II.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” Kocher told Rambus Press during an interview in San Francisco earlier this year.
“The people who designed Enigma deemed the cipher unbreakable, yet it was ultimately cracked by a combination of Polish, French and British efforts.”
According to Kocher, who was recently inducted into the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame, cryptographers need to constantly question themselves to avoid being lulled into a false state of complacency – as adoption of cryptographic solutions continue to accelerate at a steady pace.
“Attackers have the luxury of being successful if the methods they try fail 99% of the time and succeed 1%,” Kocher explained. “In contrast, for system designers, failing even 1% of the time is unacceptable. We need to secure systems 100% of the time, and a 1% failure rate isn’t good enough, so we’re constantly asking ourselves what we might be missing.”
The Imitation Game hits select U.S. theaters on November 28, 2014.