Secrets of Cryptography

Cryptography is a necessary part of modern-day societies. It is being used for all sorts of communication for example personal, commercial, and Governmental communications. Let’s discuss cryptography in detail so we can understand what is cryptography? and where it came from. What are its basic goals? What are the major types of cryptography?

In its simplest form, cryptography is a science of converting plaintext to unintelligible form and vice versa. This process is most commonly known as encryption and decryption.

The first known encrypted texts have been found from the oldest Egyptian civilization dating back to 1900BC. Since the Egyptians, cryptography has been used by almost every early civilization throughout history.

Arabs are the originators of modern cryptography. Al-Khalil(717-786AD) wrote the first ever known systemic cryptographic documents. Al-Kindi an Arab mathematician wrote the book Risalah fi Istikhraj al-Mu’amma (Manuscript for the Deciphering Cryptographic Messages), which proved to be the single most significant cryptanalytic advance until World War II.

There are four core goals of cryptography

  • Confidentiality states that only the authorized receiver can obtain the actual message. It results in a hide, stop, or delay-free access to the message.
  • Integrity refers to the confirmation that the cryptographic payload has not been altered before receiving by the authorized recipient.
  • Authentication means that the recipient must be able to validate the sender and medium through the message travelled.
  • Non-Repudiation ensures that send cannot deny sending the message.
    1. Block algorithms:Set lengths of bits are encrypted in blocks of electronic data with the use of a specific secret key. As the data is being encrypted, the system holds the data in its memory as it waits for complete blocks.
    2. Stream algorithms: Data is encrypted as it streams instead of being retained in the system’s

      There are three types of cryptography:

      • Symmetric-key Cryptography
      • Asymmetric Cryptography
      • Hash Function

      In Symmetric-key cryptography, the same key is used for encryption and decryption.

      There are two types of symmetric encryption algorithms:

    Symmetric key uses fewer resources so it is used for big encryptions like database encryption. Some examples of symmetric encryption algorithms include AES, DES, and IDEA.

    In Asymmetric cryptography, two different keys are used for encryption and decryption. These keys are known as public and private keys. A public key is used for encryption and a private key is used for decryption. A public key can be shared publicly but a private key is a secret key. Asymmetric cryptography is used in digital signatures. Digital Signature is the same thing as a handwritten signature.

    In the hash function, a fixed length value is generated from plaintext, which then makes it impossible to recover. The hashing algorithm is normally used for password encryption. The most common hashing algorithm is SHA-256. 

To conclude this discussion, we can say that cryptography is a technique to cipher/decipher important communication. The core purpose of cryptography is to ensure that information is delivered only to the intended recipient without any alteration. Modern encryption can be achieved by using mainly two methods first one is PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and later is hashing mechanism. We hope this article helped you understand the basics of cryptography.


Muhammad Umair

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