Primer on Encryption

How it works For Beginners

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER AND CEO -

Usually whenever I mention encryption - all I see is a blank stare or glazed over eyes. The impression I get is that others think this is some form of magic and not science. So, let's cover some basics.

Encryption is math designed to hide a secret message behind a wall of a code. For starters - Let's look at a simple math problem.


The simple math of addition and subtraction can also serve as encryption. If I wanted to send you a secret message "1" and you knew the secret code key was "4" it would be:

Anyone who intercepts the "5" will not know the secret message was "1"unless they too have the key. As you can see - simple math can be used to encrypt data. Now let's get real fancy.

The basic problem with encryption is creating a random number for the key. This problem can be solved with a deck of cards, a pencil, a piece of paper and all the elementary school math you can muster.

Let's go all out - encrypt a 6 character word "SECRET". This can be done in 6 easy steps.

 

Now let's review a few things:

1 - You used a deck of cards to create a random key. In this case - the key is a true random sequence and thus no super computer in the world could break your code.

2 - You used simple math to encode and decode a message

3 - If you wanted to send a longer message all you need to do is create a longer key. Just for fun - imagine you created a key of 1000 shuffle deck draws and shared the key with a friend. You could send up to 1000 characters in a secret code.

4 - If you share that key with someone else the messages you encode/decode will be secure AS LONG AS YOU USE EACH RANDOM NUMBER ONCE AND ONLY ONCE. This is called the ONE TIME PAD.

Congratulations! You are now a cryptographer.

Next episode - PUBLIC KEY ENCRYPTION

 

CHARLES R. SMITH

CEO FOUNDER OF SOFTWAR INC.

 


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