Week 6 - Privacy and Security

Click on the title of each topic below to be linked to an article about that topic. Each student is responsible for reading every article.      

History of Cryptography

A simple history of cryptography and steganography

Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript has been a puzzle to the cryptography community for most of the past century.

Numerous "solutions" have been published, many of which have later been disproved. It has been recently demonstrated how the text could have been fabricated given medieval techniquqes.

Vigenere cipher

A Vigenere cipher uses a key phrase to control the progression of a polyalphabetic cipher.

Navajo Code Talkers

Navajo code talkers proved to be an invaluable asset during the Pacific theater of WWII

Enigma machine

The enigma was used by the German military during WWII, believing it effectively to be uncrackable.

The Allies at Blenchley Park, led by the early computer science genius, Alan Turing and literally a cast of thousands, cracked the code and routinely deciphered secret German communiques.

AES Encryption

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the current state of the art standard symmetric block encryption mechanism.

Diffie Hellman Key Exchange

Also called Diffie Hellman Merkle Key Exchange in honor of the mathematicin who developed much of the background, this approach allows two users to share a secret common number without any secret communication channel.

RSA Encryption

Named for the co-developers Rivest, Shamir and Adelman, RSA is a public key or asymmetric encryption technique. In such systems, the part encrypting a message does not have the ability to decrypt the message, meaning that anyone in the public can encrypt messages that only the target recepient can decrypt. This ability also allows messages to be "signed", proving who sent it.

Phil Zimmerman and PGP

Phil Zimmerman created a general purpose encryption package called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). The US Department of Justice pursued a criminal case against him for several years before finally dropping the matter.

PGP has become a broadly used tool for e-mail packages.

Clipper Chip

The US attempted to force all enryption through a US controlled mechanism called the Clipper chip. Messages encrypted by the Clipper chip could be decrypted by a second key that was help by the US goverment, theoretically only under court issued search warrant.

Quantum Cryptography

Quantum encryption appears to be the future of cryptography

Data Mining and Privacy

Data mining has given governments, businesses and sometimes criminals access to private information about individuals.   

NSA e-mail surveillance

An article about the controversial secret e-mail surveillance   

General privacy concerns

This is the first of a series of articles on privacy and the web from the Wall Street Journal. For the other articles (not required for this course), look here