Feeds

Top WWII code cracker dies

Leo Marks - special ops and Peeping Tom author

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Leo Marks, WWII codemaker and codebreaker, and later playwright, has died aged 80.

He was chief cryptographer of Special Operations Executive during WWII, having trained as a cryptographer in Bedford when called up for National Service.

During his training, The Telegraph reports, he cracked a code that was supposed to be a week-long group project, in an evening. This earned him the label "misfit" and got him sent to the Special Operations Executive, rather than Bletchley Park.

One of his achievements during the war was to refine the "one-time-pad." He printed ciphers on silk squares so agents could carry the information more easily across borders. He also stopped the use of well known poems as code keys, replacing them with original works he wrote himself, massively tightening security.

Later in the war he was in charge of devising encryption systems for the SAS and the Free French, among others.

He was born in London on September 24, 1920. He was an only child and spent much of his time with his father in the family bookshop at 84 Charring Cross Road.

There, he became interested in both encryption and horror writing when he was eight, after reading Edgar Allen Poe's "The Gold Bug."

The interest sparked in horror culminated in him writing the film "Peeping Tom," a film so disturbing that it ruined the career of its director.

His obituary appears in full in The Telegraph. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.