The Rise of Modern Cryptography

Cryptography is one of the most popular applications of algorithm. It is the use of sequences and techniques to protect data and secure internal communication from outsiders. In other words, its primary purpose revolves around information security, one that is achieved by integrating the theoretical foundation, complex methodologies and technological advancements in computer science, mathematics and electrical engineering.

A few decades ago, cryptology is synonymous with encryption wherein readable text is transformed to unreadable codes. It’s a common tool used in communication during the war. Perhaps the most famous encryption device is the Enigma machine which converts the messages of the Nazis to one another. But cryptography is a two-way methodology. It refers to the transformation of normal text to cipher text while at the same time, it’s also used to refer to decryption or the act of deciphering cipher text back to normal. A good example would be the cryptologic bomb built to decipher the codes produced by the Enigma machine. Both encryption and decryption utilizes algorithms in order to operate properly.

Soon, the advent of technological advancement led to the rise of modern cryptography. It has come to rely heavily on the use of computers and mathematical assumptions which leads to cryptographic algorithms becoming more and more complex. They utilize hardcore computational assumptions and theoretically secure information schemes to ensure that no third party will be able to break them down. Only top specialists are able to do so, but still, that requires a lot of time, knowledge and experience.

There are two types of cryptographic algorithms. One is symmetric and the other is asymmetric. Both types of cryptographic algorithms are designed to ensure information security. The difference lies in the number of keys and parties knowledgeable about it. Symmetric algorithms utilize a shared key that is known to both authorized parties only, the sender and the receiver. This means that the key is used in both encrypting and deciphering of the messages which are produced via a block cipher or a stream cipher. Asymmetric cryptography, on the other hand, uses both a public and private key. Based on the term used, the public key can be revealed to others while the other is kept private. Its unique characteristic lies in the means of encryption and subsequent decryption. If the private key is used to encrypt the data then, the public key should be used to decipher it and vice versa.

Today, the application of cryptography and its algorithm can be seen everywhere. It’s used in computer passwords, bank accounts and other means to secure financial information and private data. But there are always two sides to a coin. With its usefulness also come the disadvantages, cryptographic algorithms are also now being used for espionage, piracy, sedition and electronic sabotage.


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