Jeremy Corona’s Expanded Definition of Cryptography
TO: Prof. Jason Ellis
FROM: Jeremy Corona
SUBJECT: Expanded Definition of Cryptography
Definitions of words over the course of time can change. Depending on their time period the word can mean one thing, and in the next 10 years it’s meaning could be completely different. In all depends on the context in how the word is used and what is being used to describe. Take a look at the word cryptography for instance. In the earlier days it means to write in secret writing, now in the digital age cryptography is similar to encryption. We will dive a into the etymology of the word and see how it is used in different contexts. We take examples from different works of literature ranging from blogs to academic journals.
According to Etymonline.com, the word cryptography comes from the Greek words kryptos which means hidden, and the word graphia which means writing or recording. Their definition of the word cryptography is “art of the writing in secret characters” (Etymonline.com, 2019). This holds true to the origin of the words. This definition is an older meaning of the word. Back in the earlier days people were handwriting letters in secret letters or codes which was a form of cryptography.
Cryptography can also be used as a kind of technology. “Cryptography is the process of changing data so that they are not readable “(Rashad et al, pg. 3681, 2019). This definition is given by an academic research paper and different from Etymonline. Instead of writing in secret codes, we are translating data that is legible by an ordinary person and changing it so that it can’t be. This definition is a more technical and is referring to data as opposed to writing. However, the core definition remains the same. At the core of cryptography, we are gathering recorded information and making it difficult to interpret.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition for Cryptography: “The art or practice of writing in code or cipher; the science of encryption; the branch of cryptology concerned with this (cf. cryptanalysis n.). More generally: the study of codes and ciphers; cryptology.” (Cryptography, 2019). This definition introduces another aspect of cryptography which is encryption. From a technical perspective encryption is a part of cryptography. When something is encrypted the purpose is to prevent unauthorized access to information. The other meanings of cryptography reflect that as well. We are trying to protect or hide information from others who are not meant to see it.
Keeping those definitions in mind we can take a look at some of the contexts in how the word cryptography is used. Let’s take at look at its use in a magazine article on qauntamagazine.org. “Now a set of computer scientist has taken a major step toward this goal with the release of EverCrypt, a set of digital cryptography tools.” The author is using the word as a type of technologic tool in the digital age. The entire article is about new un-hackable tools created by computer scientist and mathematicians. In this context cryptography is being used as a way to protect data from being accessed by hackers with malicious intent.
In blog post by Mathew Green on his website blog.cryptohtaphyengineering.com, we can see similar usage of the word. This blog post is about Apple and their new tracking technology implemented in their app “Find My”. The quote from the post: “The good news is that Apple claims that their system actually does provide strong privacy, and that it accomplishes this using clever cryptography”. Again, we see cryptography being used in the context of protecting some kind of information. In this case Apple is utilizing unique cryptic codes to protect the data of their users from getting into the wrong hands. Cryptographic algorithms are developed in order to make data private.
According to Soltane, Messikh, and Zaoui (2018), “Its deep questions with practical significance; that Cryptography, which allows us to maintain secrecy in messages containing sensitive information, is based on requiring anyone other than an authorized person to perform a very difficult computation in order to steal the information.” Here we see the same pattern where cryptography is being defines as keeping information secret. The purpose of cryptography is to make it extremely difficult for unauthorized personnel to access data. The article combines cryptography with biometrics. In this example we are not creating cipher or code for cryptography. We are instead using our own biological data to act as a cipher or cryptography. We utilize the use of our fingerprints or facial features in order to prevent the unauthorized access to our private information.
Based on these definitions and contexts discussed. We can conclude that core definition of the word cryptography is based on security of recorded information. My working definition of the word cryptography is, the practical application of concealing information from unauthorized personnel. This definition works perfectly for the field of Network Security. A network security analyst’s duty is to protect an organizations internal network from data breaches and leaks. They must also be able to ensure that any digital communication outside of the organization’s network is encrypted and concealed only to be seen by the intended personnel. In Information Technology, this is an aspect of the field that is highly emphasized. From big organizations to individuals with smartphones, we want to be able to keep some information private. Using cryptography tools allows us to accomplish security and peace of mind.
Soltane, M., Messikh, L., Zaoui, A. (2018), A review regarding the biometrics cryptography challenging design and strategies. Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience. 8(4), 41-65.
Rasras, R.J., Alqadi, Z.A., Sara, M.R.A. (2019). A methodology based on steganography and cryptography to protect highly secure messges. Engineering, Technoogly & Applied Science Research. 9(1), 3681-3684.
Green M. (2019). How does Apple (privately) find your offline devices. Retrieved from https:// https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/
Hartnett K. (2019). Cryptography that can’t be hacked. Retrieved from https:// https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-the-evercrypt-library-creates-hacker-proof-cryptography-20190402/
Cryptography, n. (2019). In Oxford English Dictionary Online. Retrieved from https://oed-com /view/Entry/45374?redirectedFrom=cryptography#eid
Cryptography, n. (2019). In Etymonline.com. Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/cryptography#etymonline_v_29120