The History of Cryptography Essay

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Cryptography is the use of codes and ciphers to protect secrets and has been around for centuries. It has its beginnings in ancient Egypt and has played a role in every part of history to its current role in protecting communications across today’s computer networks. In classical times cryptology was not as sophisticated as it is today, but it had its uses for that time in history. The early Greeks used what was called the Scytale Cipher. It was used between the Greek and Spartan armies and was very popular for its ease of use and the ability to translate a message. (“The Scytale Cipher”, n. d.) The Scytale cipher is known as a transposition cipher and works by taking a roll of paper or leather, in the case of the Greeks, and wrapping…show more content…
(“History of the Rosetta Stone”, 2014) During the medieval times the Arabs made significant advances in cryptography and cryptanalysis. The most significant of these was the introduction of the Frequency Analysis technique around 800 AD. This was considered one of the greatest advances in cryptanalysis until the beginning of WWII. (“Medieval Cryptography”, 2014) Frequency Analysis works on the assumption that in any language certain letters appear with more frequency then others. For example E, T, A, I, O, N, S, H, R, D, L, U are the most common letters used in the English language. In addition to those TH, ER, ON and AN are the most common pairs and SS, EE, TT and FF are the most common repeats. Taking all of that into consideration any monoalphabetic (one alphabet) cipher can be broken by looking for the frequency by which some letters appear and substituting one of the more common letters in its place. All ciphers were vulnerable to the frequency analysis technique until the creation of the Alberti Cipher in 1467. (“Frequency Analysis”, 2014) Leon Battista Alberti, considered to be the father of modern cryptology, developed the Alberti cipher which was a polyalphabetic cipher, meaning that it consisted of more than one alphabet. Up to this time in history ciphers only contained one alphabet. The Alberti cipher was similar to the Caesar cipher in that it contained two wheels, or disks that contained letters of the alphabet. The outer wheel contained

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