Cryptography is a science that studies methods to ensure the confidentiality and authenticity of information. The emergence of mathematical cryptography was due to the need to encrypt information in cryptosystems. What is cryptography for? The classical model of a secret communication system consists of two participants who fully trust each other, who exchange information hidden from third parties. Thus, cryptography has one main task: to provide confidentiality, to protect secret information from opponents.
History of the development of cryptography
The history of cryptography has more than four millennia. Historians often take the technical characteristics of various encryption methods as the main criterion for the periodization of cryptography:
Video about the history of cryptography
Basic concepts of cryptography
Sometimes there is a need to protect certain electronic documents. This problem is solved by cryptography. Information protection is necessary in order to prevent unauthorized access to documents. To do this, you need to do the following:
- Ensure that the persons to whom the document is sent are confident in its authenticity and correctness, i.e. the recipient must be sure that the original text has not been changed or edited.
- Prevent outsiders from gaining access to the transmitted document.
Such tasks are solved in various ways. For example, to protect electronic documents, an electronic signature is used, and to prevent "hacking" of documents in order to gain access to their content, the texts of documents are encrypted.
There are the following basic concepts of cryptography:
- An electronic signature is a digital signature similar to a manual signature that allows you to verify the authenticity and correctness of documents. So, with the help of a special technical capability, it is possible to recognize the substitution of a document or its distortion during transmission.
- Encryption of a document is a modification of the text content of the document so that only the recipient who owns the secret method of restoring the original text can read it.
- The key is a special cipher with which you can select a specific transformation of the source text.
- A cryptanalyst is a specialist who creates and applies cryptanalysis methods in practice.
- Cryptanalysis is the study of mathematical methods that violate the confidentiality and integrity of information.
- Imitation protection is a concept in cryptography that denotes a function that allows you to protect yourself from imposed false information. That is, with an open, unencrypted text, the user can check whether it has been changed accidentally or intentionally. As a rule, to provide spoofing protection, the transmitted spoof data is included in the packet.
History of cryptography in Russia
The history of cryptography in Russia dates back to the time of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). For the first time in history, he decided to employ professional cryptographers in the Embassy order in 1549.
However, as historians note, the first Russian sovereign who realized how important cryptography is for the country’s security was Peter I (1672-1725). During the years of his reign, the encryption service was put on a professional basis. A typical cipher of the time was a common substitution method: letters of the alphabet were replaced by other characters, letters, or a combination of letters. Also in the ciphertexts there were "dummies" – characters that had no meaning. Only specialists who knew what cryptography is, where it is used and how to correctly decipher certain types of cryptography could decipher such texts.
Then cryptography turned into a real science, which was constantly improved and complicated. Cryptographic services worked primarily in the ministries of foreign and military affairs. With the outbreak of World War II, the shortcomings that had been present until then in encryption methods began to be of great importance, therefore, to ensure secret communications, new improved encryption methods (including special encryption machines) were created for both telephone communications and radio – and text transmissions.
After some time, special institutions began to appear in the country that study and develop cryptography: the Institute of Cryptography, Kaspersky Lab, which has now become one of the world leaders in its field.
In the 90-2000s, cryptography was introduced into the educational program for students in civil universities in Russia. In 2011, thanks to the law on electronic signatures in the Russian Federation that came into force, any resident of Russia can now be the owner of their own electronic signature.
Interesting facts about cryptography
The development of encryption business has a long history. Over the years, a lot of interesting facts about cryptography have accumulated.
- For example, it is known that during World War II, daily communication sessions began only after the key was changed to a new one.
- Currently, any user can download a special program to their PC and encrypt any text. It can only be decrypted by someone who knows the key.
- Probably, few people know how cryptography was called in Egypt. Approximately 4,000 years ago, Egyptian ciphers used phonograms, which were compiled according to the principle of rebuses. In addition, in ancient times, if it became necessary to transmit any important information over long distances, the heads of the slaves were shaved, then tattooed texts were applied to the skin, and when the hair grew, they were sent on a journey. This method is called hidden encryption.