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At the RSA Conference: Enigma

It's a piece of lost luggage that made history.

The German coding machine Enigma
Michael Kanellos/CNET

Here's something you don't see everyday. Winston Churchill could have said that too.

At the RSA Security Conference taking place this week in San Francisco, the National Security Administration is showing off one of the prizes from World War II: a captured Enigma machine. The Germans encoded messages on the machine by twirling the rotors. By capturing a couple of them, British code-breakers were able to unravel their once-secret messages.

One of the more interesting parts is the workmanship. The wood box is really nice and comes with brass inlay. And I loved the sheet of instructions on the inside lid.