Information is an essential in human activities, whatever area chosen: economics, science, health care, military, or administration. However, information is of no use when simply stored or improperly applied. The power of information is in its adequate application. Management of information demands that databases are stored and used properly, and exchanged reliably. Cryptography deals with the latter pattern most. Cryptography is a science to manage information in such a way that only engaged parties communicate, with no outsiders in the economical analysis, scientific discussions, private medical files, intelligence upcoming or administrative decisions. Cryptography is aimed at providing informational security so that the organizational facilities work properly.
Security and Cryptography
While preparing for this paper, I made a search on the Internet and found numerous cryptography teams engaged in informational security: there are cryptography laboratories (The Security and Cryptography Laboratory, 2000), numerous cryptographic services (System.Security.Cryptography Namespace, 2013), universities have dedicated to cryptography web pages (Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California at San Diego, 2013), Google Books enlisted 35 books on keywords ‘cryptography and security’.
Billions of dollars are spent every year on providing consumers, organizations and scientists with a fair, accountable, accurate and confidential digital reality (Schneier, 1997). Menazes et al (2001) define cryptography as “the study of mathematical techniques related to aspects of information security such as confidentiality, data integrity, entity authentication, and data origin authentication”. Bellaware and Rogaway (2010) state:
Modern cryptography addresses a wide range of problems. But the most basic problem remains the classical one of ensuring security of communication across an insecure medium.
The authors explain: the sender S and the receiver R need to communicate freely, keeping in mind that anyone else A cannot intervene (Fig. 1).
The idea of security lies in a channel that cryptologists call a pipe (shown bold line in Fig. 1) that provides a closed, albeit effective room to exchange information, as though the receiver and sender are alone in the world. In the real world however, such channels do not exist and this is the task of cryptology to create a secure space.
Secure transferring of information is performed through encrypting the plaintext by the sender party. The receiver turns the ciphertext into plaintext by a secret decryption key, an algorithm known only to the interested persons (Delfs & Knebl, 2007). Thus, even if A gets access to the information stream, he/she will understand nothing unless the key algorithm is known.
Cryptography is a mathematical tool to apply theoretical keys of security into practice (Anderson, 2008). In his excellent monograph, Anderson (2008) notes the first known attempt to make messages secure belong to Julius Caesar, who more than 2,000 years ago changed letters in his words. For example, D was used instead of A, E instead of B, and so on. Thus, the messages were encoded and difficult to understand by third parties. As we can see today, this was one of the most primitive method of protection since the final code can be easily broken: just need to trace down the letters that are used most and deduce the entire words. Thus, cryptography started as message ciphering, while it has grown into a complicated mathematical science with sophisticated computer implications (Menezes et al, 2001; Wikipedia, 2013). Today, the mathematical tools in cryptography are extremely complicated, but still lack a 100% security guarantee (Yashchenko, 2002). These appraoches are called keys, which are a set of ceratin rules how to make our speech, numbers of other digital data a complete abracadabra to an unintroduced person, while making it easy for the reciver to understand the point (Menezes et al, 2001; Yashchenko, 2002; Anderson, 2008).
Cryptography provides confidentiality (unauthorized acces to information prevented), integrity (erroneous modifications prevented), availability (unauthorized withholding prevnted), authentication (verifying appropriate users), authorization (allowing only authorized parties to participate) and privacy (SANS Institute, 2003).
Cryptography is not a simply set of rules how to keep information protected, but rather a science of numerous approaches that use various techniques to make digital life more secure. However, no matter we know what cryptography is or not, this science is an essential part of our everyday life: e-mailing to a friend, bank card authentication, cell phone chat or Your company’s work report. The number of examples increases daily and will for sure continue to do so in the future.