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Cryptography: Past, Present and Future

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 1825 words Published: 18th May 2020

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This essay discusses what cryptography is, what it relates to, the past, present and future of cryptography


Cryptography is everywhere in modern life from shopping to watching television. Cryptography is an art of making a system that is capable of protecting data this prevents the disclosure of file and provides both parties with confidentiality in communication. This is done through the use of codes or secret characters so only those with access to those codes for whom the data is intended for (the recipient must have both the public and private key to decrypt and access the data), sometimes data that has been encrypted can sometimes be broken with the use of cryptanalysis which is commonly know as codebreaking, although modern cryptography techniques have become just about shatterproof. Cryptography focuses on the securing of digital data by encryption and authentication.

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In IT, cryptography means to establish secure data techniques, copied from mathematical concepts, and a set of rule-based calculations called algorithms that transform data in ways that make the data hard to read. The mathematical algorithms that are used for the cryptographic key generation, digital signing and verification are to protect the privacy of data, web browsing the internet and securing confidential communications such as credit card transactions and emails.

Businesses that operate in financial services, telecommunications, and health care require computer systems that utilize encryption techniques, which is created by cryptologists. Cryptologists specialize in computer network security, they use algorithms along with software to produce codes that are difficult to decipher without the use of the designated authorized decryption keys. They are also trained in the ability to know how to intercept, collect and analyze the signals and communications on the network to identify any possible threats that can affect the protection and security of the network.


Cryptography was thought to be created along with the art of writing. As civilizations evolved, human beings got smarter and organized into tribes, groups, and kingdoms. This led to the appearance of ideas such as power, wars, dominance, and politics. These ideas further fueled the need of people to communicate secretly with a selective recipient which in turn guaranteed the nonstop advancement of cryptography as well.

In ancient times cryptography can be found in Roman and Egyptian civilizations. The first known piece of cryptography can be traced back to Egyptian civilizations use of ‘hieroglyphs’. The Egyptians used to communicate with each other by creating messages written in hieroglyph. This code was a secret that was only known by the scribes who used them to convey messages on behalf of the kings.

The science of cryptography has continued to advance, in the year 1790’s Thomas Jefferson created the cipher wheel which consisted of 36 rings of letters that moved around on moving wheels that could be used to achieve complex encoding of information. This concept was used as a basis for American military cryptography until the end of World War II when Arthur Scherbius invented the Enigma machine. The enigma machine is an encryption device that was used in the early to mid 20th century mainly by the military to turn cipher text into plain text.


The existing password-based encryption methods that are currently used are to protect data but is vulnerable to brute-force attacks. The reason behind this is that for wrongly guessed key, the decryption yields an invalid looking plain text message confirming that the key is invalid, Honey encryption is a security tool that makes it difficult to brute-force attack a system for an attacker as the system responds by sending decrypted plain text message that looks like it is correctly decrypted.

Typically, an attacker will know he’s guessed wrong because the decrypted results will be unintelligible. If Honey Encryption is used and the passkey is guessed wrong honey will generate fake results that will appear to be completely genuine to the reader. This is because each incorrect guess generates a credible result, and it will be difficult for the attacker to know when and if he has guessed correctly.

The creation of Honey Encryption was by Ari Juels, who was the former chief scientist of the RSA, and Thomas Ristenpart from the University of Wisconsin.


In cryptography a cipher is the algorithm for performing the encryption or decryption from a predefined set of rules that are then followed as a procedure. To encipher or encode is to convert the targeted data into cipher or code. Codes are work by substituting words or phrases to a random string of characters according to a large predefined code-book. For example, “ADFGTUJ” could be the code for “New Zealand Elements.” When you use a cipher the original data is known as plain text, and the encrypted form is known as cipher text. The cipher text contains all the information of the plain text message, but it is not in a format that is readable by a human or computer without the proper authentication to decrypt it.

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The use of a cipher normally relies on a portion of external information, which is commonly called a key. The procedure for encrypting is varying depending on the key, which modifies the elaborate operation of the algorithm used. A key has to be selected before using a cipher to encrypt a message as without knowledge of the key, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to decrypt the cipher text into the readable plain text.

Most modern ciphers can be categorized in several ways but the most common are divided into two group (by type of key used).

These ciphers are divided into

Symmetric key algorithms (Private-key cryptography) — This is where the same key is used for the encryption and decryption. In a symmetric key algorithm, the sender and receiver must have the same shared key set up in beforehand and be kept secret from all other entities. The sender uses the key for the encryption of the data, and the receiver then uses the same key for the decryption of data.

Asymmetric key algorithms (Public-key cryptography) — This is where two different types of keys are used for the encryption and the decryption. In an asymmetric key algorithm, there are two separate keys that get used: a public key, which is created and enables any sender to perform the encryption, while the private key is used to carry out the correct decryption of the encrypted information which is only kept by the receiver and enables only the receiver to perform the decryption.

Ciphers can be distinguished into two types of input data:

Block ciphers: These encrypt the block of data of fixed size.

Stream ciphers: These of which encrypt the continuous streams of data.

Encryption/ Decryption

Encryption is a fundamental tool for the protection of sensitive information. Its historical purpose is privacy (preventing disclosure or confidentiality in communications. Encryption is a way of talking to someone while other people are listening, but such that the other people cannot understand what you are saying. It can also be used to protect data in storage as well as to detect active attacks, such as message or file modification.We refer to encryption as a tool because it is a means for achieving  it is not an end in itself. Cryptography, hidden writing, is a method for transforming the appearance of information without changing its information content. Plain text (clear text) is one representation of the information expressed in natural language, intelligible to all. Cipher text is a different representation, designed to conceal the in-formation from unauthorized persons. Encryption is the transformation from clear text to cipher text. Decryption is the reverse transformation.




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