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When Crows Break Codes

When Crows Break Codes

January 28, 2021 | 14:00 - 15:00 EST (19:00 - 20:00 UTC)

When Crows Break Codes

January 28, 2021 | 14:00 - 15:00 EST (19:00 - 20:00 UTC)

This webinar will cover the history of modern codes and ciphers, with some brief reflections from an early career spent in the field. Join us to break a World War 2 German Enigma cipher message together, to get an understanding of cryptography both then and now, and to gain some insight into the modern issues in codemaking and codebreaking. We will cover the core principles of codemaking and codebreaking, look at some practical case studies up to 1970 including some of the more sensational spy cases which were solved by cryptanalysis, and then take a more general tour of events since 1970 leading to modern advances like asymmetric cryptography, the safety of transactions on the Internet, Bitcoin and Blockchain. This is an unclassified presentation containing material that can be found in open sources.

Mr. John Kolm served in Australia’s version of the National Security Agency, and then in the National Security Agency itself, for ten years. He was a career mathematician, specializing in cryptography, and also spent a lot of time deployed in the field. He is qualified in math and psychology from the University of Melbourne, and again in math from the U.S. National Cryptologic School.

After his NSA career, John became interested in leadership and the dynamics of workplace teams and groups, and he has worked in this field since 1996. However he maintains a strong interest in mathematical methods and has given many conference papers in this area. It turns out that many of the mathematical ideas useful in the study of codes are also useful in the study of team and group behavior.

John has also made a special study of Enigma, and has developed a method of demonstrating the successful Allied cryptographic attack on this system without the need for advanced math.

John Kolm

Registration will close one hour prior to the start of the webinar (1pm ET)! Any registrations taken after this time will not be able to view the live webinar.

Registration and attendance at this live event is complimentary for AOC members and non-members alike. However, you must be signed into your AOC account to register. If you don't have an AOC account, but would like to register for free, please join here as a "Guest Non-Member."


After you register for the webinar, you will be emailed a confirmation with the link to the webinar, along with instructions on how to connect.

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You can also access the webinar via free mobile apps available on iOS and Android devices.

For questions, please contact Caleb Herr.

Privacy Policy

PLEASE NOTE: By registering for this webinar, you are providing explicit consent that the details of your registration may be used by the Association of Old Crows (AOC), the presenter, and/or the sponsor(s) to contact you via email for informational and marketing purposes.

Presentation Recording

The entire presentation and Q&A will be recorded for viewing approximately 24 hours after the event.  On-demand viewing of recorded webinars is reserved as a complimentary benefit for dues-paying AOC members, or access to the recording can be purchased individually for Guest Non-Members. You can join the AOC here.

There are currently no sponsors for this webinar.

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With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.