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Computer Science - General Issues | A Brief History of Cryptology and Cryptographic Algorithms

A Brief History of Cryptology and Cryptographic Algorithms

Dooley, John

2013, XII, 99 p. 33 illus.

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  • Traces the history of the conflict between cryptographer and cryptanalyst
  • Explores in some depth the algorithms created to protect messages
  • Suggests where the field of cryptology is going in the future

The science of cryptology is made up of two halves. Cryptography is the study of how to create secure systems for communications. Cryptanalysis is the study of how to break those systems. The conflict between these two halves of cryptology is the story of secret writing. For over two thousand years governments, armies, and now individuals have wanted to protect their messages from the “enemy”. This desire to communicate securely and secretly has resulted in the creation of numerous and increasingly complicated systems to protect one's messages. On the other hand, for every new system to protect messages there is a cryptanalyst creating a new technique to break that system. With the advent of computers the cryptographer seems to finally have the upper hand. New mathematically based cryptographic algorithms that use computers for encryption and decryption are so secure that brute-force techniques seem to be the only way to break them – so far. This work traces the history of the conflict between cryptographer and cryptanalyst, explores in some depth the algorithms created to protect messages, and suggests where the field is going in the future.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » AES - Cryptographic Algorithms - Cryptology - DES - Herbert Yardley - Public-Key Cryptography - Quantum Cryptography - RSA - Vigenere Square - William Friedman

Related subjects » General Issues - History of Science - Security and Cryptology

Table of contents 

Introduction: A Revolutionary Cipher

Cryptology Before 1500: A Bit of Magic

The Black Chambers: 1500 – 1776

Crypto goes to War: 1861 – 1865

Crypto and the War to End All Wars: 1914 – 1917

The Interwar Period: 1919 – 1939

The Coming of the Machines: 1918 – 1945

The Machines Take Over: Computer Cryptography

Alice and Bob and Whit and Martin: Public Key Crypto

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