A grid of internet-linked home computers has been successful in cracking
some elusive WWII German ciphers. Codes that resisted the best efforts of the Allied cryptographers have been cracked by Stefan Krah, a German-born violinist with an interest in cryptography, using the grid. The project, named M4, in honour of the M4 Enigma machine that originally encoded the ciphers, uses a combination of brute force and algorithmic attempts to crack the codes.
Unencrypted and translated into English, the message suddenly comes to life:
"Forced to submerge during attack. Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy]. [barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles]."