Cryptography

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2.1 Introduction Cryptography is an interesting field in the world of computer security. This has been boosted by the increase in computer attacks emanating from the Internet. With large and confidential data being transferred over the Internet, its security must be addressed. It is because of this that encryption techniques are continually evolving. With computer hackers being IT experts who are hungry to get at personal data on the Internet, IT security experts have also made sure that they come up with products to combat and stay ahead of the hackers. With the availability of good network infrastructure, many people are turning to the Internet to send and store their information. What is more, with the development and the emergence of cloud computing, it is imperative that both individuals and organizations are responsible for the safety and privacy of the data being transferred. E-mail messages have been one of the main targets for attackers on the Internet. Email usage has increased over many years and phishing attacks have become more frequent and more targeted resulting in dramatic increases in computer fraud. All of these developments require that good security measures be implemented. Cryptography has therefore been given a greater emphasis in the computer security world. Web 2.0 applications which have been aggressively rolled out have created a rise in complicated and secure cryptographic techniques which are hard to crack. 2.2 Definition Cryptography is the concept and process of hiding information. The process of converting the data into a disguised form so that it is hard to understand is called encryption. The data that results when the plaintext is converted into unreadable gibberish is called ciphertext. T... ... middle of paper ... ...The text was written with symbols which were confusing so that users could not decipher the message. It was not until 5BC that Spartans, known for their war-like nature and bravery in battles, came up with a way of sending secret messages without their enemies knowing what is going on. They developed a device called the scytale. The process of preparing the message involves winding a narrow strip of parchment or leather around the scytale and then the message was written across it (Jacobson et al, 2004). When the strip is unwound and is transported to the recipient, it displays across it a collection of letters which have no meaning. At the receiving end, the strip is rewound with a scytale of the same diameter. This represents a transposition cipher - where the letters are not changed but only their positions are. This technique is still used by many people today.

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