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Until the rise of powerful commodity computers, and perhaps more impor

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Until the rise of powerful commodity computers, and perhaps more impor  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 07 Sep 2019, 02:39
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Until the rise of powerful commodity computers, and perhaps more importantly until the development of a widespread awareness of the importance of data security and the popularization of the encryption software it requires, there was little cause for a member of the general public to possess any of the devices commonly associated with enciphering or deciphering secret communications. Such was never the case, however, for agencies tasked with national security. Hence, the waning days of the Second World War and the early days of the Cold War gave rise to a specialized class of cipher systems. Often called mnemonic ciphers, they distinguished themselves by requiring little, if any, in the way of material that would arouse suspicion, and offered extremely high levels of security, but often at the cost of inordinate amounts of time or precision to implement.

Since the province of these ciphers was intelligence, or more specifically that ultimate expression of the spy's game, the so called "humint" that thrived for four troubled decades in Europe, this set of priorities was acceptable. A spy could have no possessions that might betray his or her clandestine operations. If an agent were suspected or captured, any possessions would need to appear as innocent or explicable by means of a cover profession. Ideally, to avoid compromising message security or leaving an evidentiary trail, any key information should be memorized and never written in any documents not already destined for destruction.

From this highly specialized field came a range of mnemonic ciphers, some of the most clever ever developed, from the Soviet intelligence apparatus. This family culminated in the VIC cipher which required no fewer than thirty complex steps to secure even a brief message. Using a memorized "recipe," a Soviet agent would combine together an easily remembered date, a snippet of the lyrics of a popular song, a two-digit personal "agent number," and a five digit number made up for each message into a nearly impervious key that would scramble the text beyond the comprehension of the best Western intelligence and police agencies. Other than understanding the procedure of the cipher, which would be well practiced during training, the spy needed only to remember three individual pieces of information, two of which could be publicly verified should memory fail!

The ingeniously complex keying system with its chain addition and advanced arithmetic fed a complex pair of transposition tables that provided the real security of the cipher. The tables modified the results of a simple straddling checkerboard that served little function beyond turning the textual message into a more easily manipulated string of numerals. Once these steps were done, a communique home to Moscow or instructions back from headquarters was disguised as a long string of numbers, ready for transmission by radio, dead drop, or any other means. And while its nature as a secret communication was clear, the message contained within was as thoroughly obscured as was then possible.
1. According to the passage, which of the following was a requirement of an effective mnemonic cipher?

(A) It must require few tools or files that could give away a spy's secret operations
(B) It should include written records to ensure no data is lost
(C) It must require an extensive and complex process for the agent to follow
(D) It should disguise the secret nature of the message as commonplace communications
(E) It need not offer extremely high levels of security




2. Based on the information contained within the passage, transposition tables are most likely to be:

(A) The most effective way of securing a secret message
(B) One of the components of the VIC cipher
(C) A technique unique to the VIC cipher
(D) One of the pieces of information memorized by a Soviet agent
(E) Part of all mnemonic ciphers




3. Which of the following could most reasonably be a title for this passage?

(A) VIC: Straddling Monoalphabetic Substitution with Modified Double Transposition
(B) How We Knew: Western Code Breaking Victories over the Soviet Union
(C) Under the Cloak: Mnemonic Ciphers for Humint Operations
(D) Digitally Secret: How Computer Ciphers are Changing the Spy Business
(E) Cold Nights of Fear: Confessions of a Double Agent




4. The author's tone towards the ciphers developed by Soviet intelligence agencies could best be described as:

(A) Concerned
(B) Critical
(C) Ambiguous
(D) Impressed
(E) Ecstatic




Originally posted by AVRonaldo on 26 May 2015, 03:28.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 07 Sep 2019, 02:39, edited 2 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (451).
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New post 20 Jun 2015, 03:17
shriramvelamuri

Can you please explain me how you got Answers for Question 1 and Question 2 correct.
I am not getting enough information to mark these answers correct.
And for Question 3 i was confused between answers 2 and 3.On what basis did u mark Option 3.

It would be helpful if u help.

Thanks
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New post 20 Jun 2015, 07:13
4
Shree9975 wrote:
shriramvelamuri

Can you please explain me how you got Answers for Question 1 and Question 2 correct.
I am not getting enough information to mark these answers correct.
And for Question 3 i was confused between answers 2 and 3.On what basis did u mark Option 3.

It would be helpful if u help.

Thanks


Hi Shree9975,

Let me try my best here to help you with the answers.

(Q1) According to the passage, which of the following was a requirement of an effective mnemonic cipher?

(A) It must require few tools or files that could give away a spy's secret operations - Last sentence in 1st paragraph gives us this information. "Often called mnemonic ciphers, they distinguished themselves by requiring little, if any, in the way of material that would arouse suspicion". Correct !!

(B) It should include written records to ensure no data is lost -- 2nd para last line contradicts this statement -- "never written in any documents ". Wrong

(C) It must require an extensive and complex process for the agent to follow -- This choice is too extreme. Info in 3rd paragraph gives "the spy needed only to remember three individual pieces of information" and author also talks about the complexity of VIC ciphers. So it may or may not be required t be complex. MUST is an extreme word. Wrong

(D) It should disguise the secret nature of the message as commonplace communications - The last line in 4th para contradicts this statement. "while its nature as a secret communication was clear, the message contained within was as thoroughly obscured as was then possible" . Wrong

(E) It need not offer extremely high levels of security. - Last sentence in 1st para contradicts this statement. - "offered extremely high levels of security" . Wrong
---------------------------------------------------------

(Q2) Based on the information contained within the passage, transposition tables are most likely to be:

(A) The most effective way of securing a secret message -Unsupported claim actually. Nothing in the passage states that it is the most effective way. Too extreme. May be or May not be scenario. Wrong

(B) One of the components of the VIC cipher -Author talks about VIC cipher in 3rd paragraph and mentions the use of transposition tables in 4th paragraph- Correct

(C) A technique unique to the VIC cipher -Unsupported claim again. May be or may not be scenario. It is used in VIC cipher. Nothing stated that it is unique to VIC alone. Wrong

(D) One of the pieces of information memorized by a Soviet agent -Author talks about transposition tables in 4th paragraph. This choice confuses the four pieces of information(given in 3rd paragraph) that were memorized with the transposition tables. Wrong

(E) Part of all mnemonic ciphers -Unsupported claim again. May be or may not be scenario. It is used in VIC cipher. Nothing stated that it is a part of all ciphers . Wrong
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Q3) Which of the following could most reasonably be a title for this passage?

(A) VIC: Straddling Monoalphabetic Substitution with Modified Double Transposition -Very technical heading about VIC cipher . Author speaks about mnemonic ciphers in general and talks about VIC in 3rd and 4th paragraphs mostly like an example. Hence will not suit. Wrong.

(B) How We Knew: Western Code Breaking Victories over the Soviet Union - 3rd paragraph starts with " came a range of mnemonic ciphers, some of the most clever ever developed, from the Soviet intelligence apparatus" - Author actually gives an appreciation remark and discusses how secure VIC was, making this answer unlikely. Wrong

(C) Under the Cloak: Mnemonic Ciphers for Humint Operations - Gives a broad scope about mnemonic ciphers. - Correct

(D) Digitally Secret: How Computer Ciphers are Changing the Spy Business - focuses on modern ciphers, which are only discussed in one sentence in the passage. Wrong

(E) Cold Nights of Fear: Confessions of a Double Agent -Irrelevant according to me ! Wrong ! :)

Hope this helps !
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New post 07 Oct 2017, 06:04
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Hi @gmatninja, @gmatninja2, @mikemcgarry, Experts,

Please help me understand the following line inorder to answer the 1st Question.

Often called mnemonic ciphers, they distinguished themselves *by requiring little, if any, in the way of material* that would arouse suspicion

I was unable to comprehend the meaning of the sentence. Is it a normal to use such a construction as "in the way of material".

My doubt is a bit specific but i just want to know if this sentence is a bit convoluted or my understanding is lacking.
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New post 21 Jun 2019, 01:24
Hi,
I have troubles marking option A in Q1 as the correct answer. I see that this "Often called mnemonic ciphers, they distinguished themselves by requiring little, if any, in the way of material that would arouse suspicion" is a relevant part of the passage for evaluating option A BUT it says if any and the answer choice uses MUST. To me answer choice A is too extreme given that there is a scenario in which suspicious tools are not needed...
Any feedback on this?
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New post 26 Jun 2019, 16:51
KGump wrote:
Hi @gmatninja, @gmatninja2, @mikemcgarry, Experts,

Please help me understand the following line inorder to answer the 1st Question.

Often called mnemonic ciphers, they distinguished themselves *by requiring little, if any, in the way of material* that would arouse suspicion

I was unable to comprehend the meaning of the sentence. Is it a normal to use such a construction as "in the way of material".

My doubt is a bit specific but i just want to know if this sentence is a bit convoluted or my understanding is lacking.


Hi,

I can help.
The particular lines you have mentioned are written in a complex manner. If we are not paying attention to the meaning then we might not understand those lines.
It essentially means that few such materials are to be used in mnemonic ciphers that arouse little suspicion. In that way mnemonic is secured and the agent is free :)
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New post 14 Dec 2019, 19:47
Q1:
The question ask about "Effective ...", but the passage mentioned a feature of "mnemonic ciphers", it doesn't mentioned effective or not?
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New post 11 Feb 2020, 22:45
can any one explain why A is the right answer for question 1?
And i was not able to infer the meaning of the sentence to which option A points.
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New post 11 Feb 2020, 22:59
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Aravindrk1111 wrote:
can any one explain why A is the right answer for question 1?
And i was not able to infer the meaning of the sentence to which option A points.


Hi Aravind

I draw your attention to the last sentence of the first paragraph:

"...they distinguished themselves by requiring little, if any, in the way of material that would arouse suspicion, and offered extremely high levels of security..."

This tells us that the requirement of very little or no material which arouses suspicion is a distinguishing feature of mnemonic ciphers. Admittedly, the question asks us about the ciphers being "effective" and not "distinguished". However, both are positive connotation descriptions of mnemonic ciphers in this context, and all the other choices presented in the question are directly contradicted by various parts of the passage (as explained in an earlier post).

Therefore, in this specific question, it is not a stretch to take "distinguished" to indicate a "good" or an "effective" cipher.

Hope this helps.
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New post 29 May 2020, 02:45
Quote:
1. According to the passage, which of the following was a requirement of an effective mnemonic cipher?

(A) It must require few tools or files that could give away a spy's secret operations
(B) It should include written records to ensure no data is lost
(C) It must require an extensive and complex process for the agent to follow
(D) It should disguise the secret nature of the message as commonplace communications
(E) It need not offer extremely high levels of security


I am unable to eliminate option C and D.
Refer below lines
"The ingeniously complex keying system with its chain addition and advanced arithmetic fed a complex pair of transposition tables that provided the real security of the cipher".
It clearly direct the answer towards option C.

MentorTutoring svasan05
Can you explain ?

SajjadAhmad, Can you share official explanation of Q1 and Q3.
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New post 29 May 2020, 03:55
1
Harsh2111s wrote:
Quote:
1. According to the passage, which of the following was a requirement of an effective mnemonic cipher?

(A) It must require few tools or files that could give away a spy's secret operations
(B) It should include written records to ensure no data is lost
(C) It must require an extensive and complex process for the agent to follow
(D) It should disguise the secret nature of the message as commonplace communications
(E) It need not offer extremely high levels of security


I am unable to eliminate option C and D.
Refer below lines
"The ingeniously complex keying system with its chain addition and advanced arithmetic fed a complex pair of transposition tables that provided the real security of the cipher".
It clearly direct the answer towards option C.

MentorTutoring svasan05
Can you explain ?

SajjadAhmad, Can you share official explanation of Q1 and Q3.

Hello, Harsh2111s. I think the analysis offered above by AVRonaldo best explains how the other answers, including (C), are incorrect. All that I will draw your attention to is that this is an according to the passage question, a detail question whose answer can be found directly in the passage (leaving little to no room for interpretation). Notice the keyword requirement in the question stem. This perfectly echoes requiring in the last line of the first paragraph. I find keyword matching to be an extremely useful approach for RC in general, but no more so than in this type of question.

Thank you for tagging me, and good luck with your studies.

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New post 30 May 2020, 08:33
Harsh2111s wrote:
Quote:
1. According to the passage, which of the following was a requirement of an effective mnemonic cipher?

(A) It must require few tools or files that could give away a spy's secret operations
(B) It should include written records to ensure no data is lost
(C) It must require an extensive and complex process for the agent to follow
(D) It should disguise the secret nature of the message as commonplace communications
(E) It need not offer extremely high levels of security


I am unable to eliminate option C and D.
Refer below lines
"The ingeniously complex keying system with its chain addition and advanced arithmetic fed a complex pair of transposition tables that provided the real security of the cipher".
It clearly direct the answer towards option C.

MentorTutoring svasan05

Can you explain ?

SajjadAhmad, Can you share official explanation of Q1 and Q3.


Hi Harsh

Hope the above clarification by AVRonaldo and MentorTutoring helped you rule out other options. Thanks for tagging me and do let me know if you have any further queries.
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Until the rise of powerful commodity computers, and perhaps more impor   [#permalink] 30 May 2020, 08:33

Until the rise of powerful commodity computers, and perhaps more impor

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