Essay on The History and Applications of Cryptography

1295 Words 6 Pages
Cryptography is the study of secure or secret communications. Cryptography has been around for thousands of years. Cryptography has been around for thousands of years. Cryptography deals with authentication, confidentiality, and integrity of data. There are many different implementations of cryptography in information systems. This paper will cover hashing, encryption, digital signatures, and digital certificates.

Cryptography dates back as early as the Egyptian Hieroglyphs that were carved into the Pyramids and other Egyptian artifacts. They are necessary designed to be secret but do pose the intrigue of anyone who wants to read them. Unless you understand the glyphs you would not be able to understand the code. This is similar
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“Navajos spoke over the radio in their native tongue during World War II to keep enemy Japanese from getting American secrets.” (Kahn, 2008) Today many moderns systems use cryptography such as VPNs, SSL web sites, as well as email.
Hashing is not encryption, but is included in the cryptography discussion. A hash function is based on a one-way mathematical function that is relatively easy to compute, but significantly harder to reverse. “Hash algorithms are public functions that create a hash value, also known as a message digest.” (Whittman, 2011) A hash algorithm will take a variable length of data and produce a fixed length value which is called the hash. Hashing comes in many forms. Some of the most command hash functions are MD5 and SHA. Hashing is used to verify the integrity of data as well as provide authenticity of the sender of the message when it is used in conjunction with some symmetric encryption key. When sending a message a user would attach the hash, or message digest, to the original message to ensure that it has not changed in transit. This does not provide any form of confidentiality. In cryptography, a keyed-hash message authentication code is a specific construction for calculating a message authentication code involving a cryptographic hash function in combination with a secret cryptographic key. The individuals who are communicating with encypt the hash value using the secret key and then send the original message along with the

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