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Aspects of Cryptography

Cryptography, sometimes referred to as cryptology, is the study, practice, and implementation of secretive communication and information transferring. Most often, it employs protocols or tools that can encrypt and decrypt certain information and make it impossible for a third party to interpret it. The different cryptography methods have evolved over centuries, starting with simple but effective rotor-crypts to significantly advanced computer codes of today. Two parties would have either tools or rules to code and decode their communication, as such, only the changed coded message would be visible to the third party.

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Cryptography has ancient roots and is first attributed to Julius Caesar, who implemented a rotor crypt to protect trade secrets 3500 years ago (Dooley, 2018). His method consisted of moving the intended letter three letters down so it would become the encrypted letter. For instance, the word ‘LEGION’ would shift every letter three letters down, and the coded word would become ‘OHJLRQ’. Only the encoder and the recipient of the message knew of the three-letter rule, and as such, Caesar’s adversaries had no way to understand the secret communication. Though it may seem simplistic, it was effective for its time.

Ciphers grew in complexity over the centuries with much more complicated methods such as the Vigenère cipher or the Enigma system of World War II. Cryptography has many advantages, such as confidentiality, preservation of information integrity, and authenticity of the provided data. These factors are crucially important in the world of modern computerized cryptography in which data can be easily decoded, falsified, or abused. However, it also is susceptible to several drawbacks. These include inaccessibility of decrypting tools to most except high-level coders, encrypted information being available to everyone online, and the timely and costly process of crypt creation in the modern-day.

Reference

Dooley, J., F. (2018). History of cryptography and cryptanalysis: codes, ciphers, and their algorithms. Springer.

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