This project uses an Enigma® machine simulator. It functions like the Enigma machines used during WWII. This example has been included to help you better understand how encryption worked in the early days. It is a great learning tool for when you first start exploring the subject of cryptography. Enigma machines provided good encryption strength for their day. Modern cryptographic systems are much more secure than Enigma machines.

Pay attention to the “red ball” path as the simulator encrypts text. The red ball goes through the three rotors, bounces off the reflector, and then goes back through the three rotors. In the physical machine, the rotors would move with each keystroke. If it completes one full cycle, it will advance the middle rotor and, subsequently, the left rotor as well.


  1. Open a web browser and go to Observable Enigma Machine (Links to an external site.).
  2. Type your first name and last name without a space into the “Input” field.
  3. Wait until the complete encryption is completed. Note: The text in the Input text box is what you typed. The text in the Output text box is what you would send.
  4. Take a screenshot. 
  5. Now Open a web browser and go to Crypii (Links to an external site.). (This is a visually simpler but faster Enigma simulation.)
  6. Click in the “Plaintext” text box and type in again your name without spaces. (The three rotors or “rings” should be set to their AAA position.) Click on “ENCODE”.
  7. The encoded text appears instantly in the “Ciphertext” textbox.
  8. Now click on the “DECODE” button and the encoded text is decoded.
  9. Take a screenshot.

Submit your screenshots and answer the following questions:

  • Why did Enigma machines use multiple rotors?
  • How did WWII cryptographers know which rotor settings to use?

Explanation & Answer length: 5 pages

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