History of Cryptography

By Alex Probert

enigma cipher machine cryptography
PICTURED: World War II Enigma machines helped win us the war.

Cryptography has been detached from steganography, which was used to conceal important messages. It has been around since pre-1900 BC; one device was called the Scytale, which was a wooden stick with a long scroll attached with random letters on it. To decrypt the message, the user would need to wrap the scroll around the stick to display the message. If you came across either part of the tool, you would be clueless and would not know how to use it, to reveal the hidden information.

In medieval times there was a technique called the Pigpen cypher, using two 3 by 3 grids having letters A to R and two 2 by 2 grids with letters S to Z. If u were to cypher the letter A the symbol it would become lines that are around it in proportion to its location in the grid. Below shows illustrations on how the alphabet works:

pigpen cypher cryptography
MEDIEVAL CODING: Pigpen cyphers were used to relay important and classified information.

When it came to World War 2, cryptography became a little more complex with the use of machines. Again, the use of cryptography was used to send war plans/strategies to other allies. Enigma Machines were used by military forces to send and receive secret messages to ensure the privacy of allied information. Engima machines and the use of cryptography in WWII helped us win the war.

If you’re interested in cryptography’s role in the Second World War, check out Bletchley Park’s Twitter:

Today, data is becoming extremely important to keep secure, using appropriate measures. A lot of people today know cryptography as encryption, which is the process to make information and data unreadable by humans. Almost all personal data today is stored on computers – making it important to ensure security on your computer(s). Encryption is widely required in various legislation and certifications, enforcing organisations to have it in place; usually on the hard drive of any computer storing personal data using a strong algorithm. ESET’s DESlock+ will help ensure high security for all personal data stored on the computer, using 256-bit encryption (1.1 x 1077 combinations to crack), taking millions of years to access.

As seen in this article Cryptography has come a long way since it was formed, becoming forever more complex each decade – concealing more and more sensitive information, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of information, something which in today’s society is paramount.

For more information regarding ESET’s DESlock+, please contact us today on 0345 450 9393 or email us at sales@pinkconnect.com.

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