The Evolution of Cryptography


The word cryptography comes from the ancient Greek word kryptós which means "hidden, secret"; and λογία -logia which mean "study", respectively. Cryptography is a method of safeguarding information and communications by encoding it in a way that only the people who need to know can interpret and process it. As a result, unwanted access to information is prevented.


Humans always had a need to communicate secretly and with the introduction of writing this need took the form of cryptography. As civilizations evolved, human beings got organized into different groups, states, and clans. This led to the emergence of ideas such as wars, supremacy, and politics. These ideas increased the need for people to communicate secretly with selective recipients which in turn ensured the continuous evolution of cryptography as well.

Cryptography was introduced to ensure the exchange of information confidentiality long before the technical era. Spies, military commanders, and diplomats all made use of encryption to keep their communications private. Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Spartan scytale transposition cipher, waxed seals, and other physical objects had been used alongside the cipher. Some of them are still in use. When computers and electronics came into the picture, these devices underwent even more alterations.

Because the majority of people could not read, the initial form of cryptography was simple writing (New World, 2007). Later on, most great civilizations adapted some sort of cryptography to send critical private data. Cipher is an algorithm used for encryption or decryption. It is widely known as one of the earliest forms of cryptography.

The WWII era is recognized for its military ciphers and the need to decipher them in order to obtain the essential information. The influence of the German

Enigma machine and Japanese Purple was defining element of encryption in the 1930s.

In comparison to the WWII era, the late nineteenth century was a time when individuals were confronted with a variety of discoveries that inspired them. The International Business Machine Corporation (IBM), and several other technical academic institutes introduced new knowledge and rules. To safeguard business and private life with digital data we needed a new method of encryption. Cryptography has evolved to become more mathematical and technical, and it now has applications in everyday security.

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency. Cryptocurrency makes use of cryptography to ensure secure and smooth transactions. This cryptocurrency relies on ‘public key cryptography.

A user who uses public-key cryptography has both a public and a private key. Both are encrypted and consist of a random collection of numbers and letters, These keys are typically 30 letters or numbers long.With the evolving technology, the future of cryptography is vast. Quantum computing will be the new generation of cryptography.

-Arushi Madhesiya and Aastha Singh, Techniche Media.




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Techniche, IIT Guwahati

Techniche, IIT Guwahati

IIT Guwahati’s annual Techno-Management Festival — the largest of its kind in North East India. We have gone virtual this year! Visit us at

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