History of Cryptography

you can learn things by studying the history of cryptography that can help you relate to the techniques a little better. Early cultures taught us that cryptography is simply a technique or group of techniques used to protect information. The primitive techniques of times past may look antiquated and simple in the face of today’s complex and mind-numbing technologies, but the basic concept has not changed.

Cryptography is far from being a new technology and has existed for a very long time. The story goes back at least 4,000 years if not longer. Some systems developed during the science’s long history may have dropped out of use whereas others have evolved, yet the concept is the same. Let’s look at some of the early applications of cryptography to demystify this topic and make it more understandable.

The intricate patterns and glyphs used in Egyptian hieroglyphics were commonly used for spiritual and religious reasons. The ancient Egyptians were probably using the system not so much to withhold secrets but because they wanted a special writing system to commune with their gods and eternity. It is believed that only members of the royal family and the religious orders could fully understand how to read and write the system and comprehend it fully.

he pictograms served as a way to illustrate the life story of the deceased of royal and noble descent. From what we can tell, the language was purposely controlled and designed to be cryptic, to provide an air of mystery about it, and to inspire a sense of awe. However, over time the writing system became more complex; eventually the public and those who could write the language either passed away or turned their interests to other endeavors, and the ability to decipher the symbols was lost for a time. It wasn’t until the middle of the eighteenth century that several attempts were made by Europeans to uncover its secrets, which were perceived to be either mystical or scientific. The symbols, despite the work of scholars, stubbornly held onto their secrets for many more years.

In 1799, a chance discovery in the sands of Egypt by the French Army uncovered some- thing that would be instrumental in decoding the language. The Rosetta Stone was the key that allowed modern civilization to understand a language that was nearly lost, though it took over 20 years of concerted effort to reveal the language to the world once again.