An introduction to cryptography

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An introduction to cryptography

Cryptography is embedded almost everywhere in our daily lives, even if we are not aware of it. Cryptography is like a secret agent that works non-stop to protect our data from being exposed, leaked or simply robbed. It protects, for example, the messages we send on most messenger apps, it protects our personal data stored at our bank, and it even helps you to connect to the internet. Life would work without cryptography, but it certainly would not be a secret anymore what you ordered for lunch yesterday via your favourite delivery app, or worse, how much money you have in your bank account, if any of it would be left after a hack.

Though before diving deeper into this topic, we need to clarify that cryptocurrency and cryptography are two very different things. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency using a technology which relies on cryptography. Cryptocurrencies without cryptography wouldn't be safe, nor work the way they do as they rely on a model of key cryptography, where a user has a public key (normally a long sequence of letters and numbers in the user's wallet) and a private key, which is used in order to receive the money. In contrast, cryptography is an ancient art, according to Simon Singh, in which some of the first events of secret writing was performed by Herodes and Xerxes thousands of years ago. The idea of hiding something in plain sight is old, but as science and the mathematics behind it evolved, so did cryptography. It evolved from extremely simple techniques (like writing a message on the shaved head of a messenger, waiting for the hair to grow to obscure it) to some heavy mathematical schemes with elliptical curves and encryption with random functions.

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Source: Vaultree

Photo credits: Markus Spiske, Unsplash