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Cryptology as a Science Essay Sample

What is Cryptology?

The need to protect information originated long before the advent of information technology, in those days, when with the emergence of writing there was also a danger of interception of this information by persons to whom it was not intended. First, the issue was resolved rather simply: the elite only had an ability to read and write. The most different approaches were applied and are still applied to information security. One of them suggested the concealment of the fact of information transfer. For example, people used the sympathetic ink, which is shown in special conditions. Such methods are known as steganography. Nowadays, steganographycal methods of information security are also used. There are a number of programs that allow to hide messages in graphic files, and changes of these files are almost imperceptible. Another approach suggests transformation of the semantic text to a certain set of either chaotic signs or alphabet letters. The recipient of this set has an opportunity to transform it to the same readable message if possesses a key to its form. This way of information security is called cryptographic, and is a part of science about codes – cryptology. Thus, it is necessary to examine a cryptology essence on the basis of the already existing researches in more detail to estimate its importance in the modern world.

The description of cryptology as a subject should start with specification of the everyday concept of ‘information’, which corresponds to the word ‘sense’. It is obvious that the same information can be transferred in different messages, for example, in different languages, in a letter, telegram, or fax. On the other hand, the same message is understood differently by different people. Information is taken by people from the message by means of a key, the rule, which gives a concrete sense to the message. For usual messages such rules give a common sense and knowledge of language. Sometimes, only the narrow group of people knowing special terms or a slang owns a key. The key has a special role in cryptography, where the knowledge of it guarantees extraction of true sense of the message. Initial ignorance of language of the message usually makes the perception of its sense impossible (Garcia 2006).

Thus, the cryptology is a science, which consists of two branches: cryptography and cryptoanalysis (Garcia 2006). Cryptography is a science about the ways of transformation (enciphering) of information for the purpose of its protection against illegal users. Cryptoanalysis is a science (and practice of its application) about the methods and ways of disclosure of codes. Lately, the word ‘cryptology’ is often used along with the word ‘cryptography’, but the difference between them is not always understood correctly. Nowadays, there is a final formation of these scientific disciplines; their subject and tasks are specified. The difference between cryptography and cryptoanalysis is obvious: the cryptography is a protection, i.e. a development of codes, and cryptoanalysis is an attack, i.e. the attack on ciphers. However, these two disciplines are connected with each other, and those cryptographers who do not know the methods of cryptanalysis cannot be good specialists. The matter is that firmness of the developed code can be proved only by means of various attacks on the code taking the position of the potential opponent mentally (Liu, 41-47).

Nowadays, two cryptologic methodologies are distinguished: symmetrical and asymmetrical methodology. In symmetrical methodology, both for enciphering and deciphering, the same key is applied by the sender and the recipient, about which use they agree prior to interaction. If the key was not compromised, thus, at decoding, authenticate of the sender is performed automatically since the sender only has a key by means of which it is possible to cipher information, and the recipient only has a key by means of which it is possible to decipher information. The importance of symmetric enciphering is that its algorithms use keys of a short length and can quickly cipher large volumes of data, which is very convenient (Malayeri and Abdollahi 2012). This methodology of enciphering is used, for example, in ATM Banking Networks.

In asymmetric methodology, keys for enciphering and deciphering are different, though they are created together. One key becomes known to everybody, and another one is kept in secret. The data ciphered by one key can be deciphered only by the other key. All asymmetric cryptosystems are objects of attacks by the direct search of keys, and, therefore, much longer keys than those used in symmetric cryptosystems for ensuring the equivalent level of protection have to be used in them. It directly affects computing resources needed for enciphering, though algorithms of enciphering on elliptic curves can soften this problem. Despite the complexity of asymmetric methodology, it is more widely used in the modern world due to its reliability (McDonald).

In modern conditions, information security becomes more and more actual, and at the same time, more and more complex problem. It is caused both by mass application of automated data processing methods, and wide circulation of methods and means of unauthorized access to information. At the same time, the price of losses in case of unauthorized functioning or decrease in reliability of information processing and transfer systems increases dramatically. Unauthorized distortion, copying, and destruction of information affect not only the processes relating to the sphere of public administration, but also the interests of individuals (Lin 2010).

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With the movement of society towards technical progress, not only the volumes of processed information increase steadily, but also the factor of the need of its timely processing becomes more and more evident. At this conjuncture, implementation of the technologies based on electronic document flow is perspective. The use of similar technologies results in the need of promising technologies application for solution of specific tasks, such as, for example, a problem of adoption of notarial decisions in the automatic mode. Solution of specified tasks requires existence of specific algorithms.

Thus, today, the principles of creation of corresponding algorithms are developed in cryptology. As mentioned above, cryptology is a science that studies methods of construction and analysis of information security systems based on mathematical transformations of data with the use of confidential parameters. Such systems are called cryptographic. The use of cryptographic systems of information security allows to provide reliability of electronic document flow (Lin 2010).

Thus, for example, special importance of cryptology is made by the fact that today for information enciphering the open (public) key known to everybody is more and more used, and the corresponding to it closed (confidential, personal) key known only to the owner is used for deciphering. Thus, information may be ciphered by anybody, but only the owner can read (decipher) it. Moreover, getting the personal key on the basis of the open one is a problem of huge computing complexity. Such systems are called ‘asymmetrical systems’, or ‘systems with an open key’. Therefore, it can seem improbable to the person dealing with cryptography problems for the first time, but everything is based only on the laws of mathematics (Bauer, 435-437).

This discovery in mathematics allows applying of cryptographic methods in nontraditional areas, especially in bank activities. Of course, it is necessary to keep bank information in secret, but more important task in the business connected with management of finance is reliable authentication (the process of confirmation of authenticity) of participants of cash flows management process. With the development of telecommunications and computer equipment, commercial activities began to be carried out electronically. In real life, the personified means of payment implementation (checks, payment orders) and anonymous (cash) are widely used. Today, there is a need for an analog of cash for electronic commerce as well. Thus, the importance of cryptology is that achievements of modern cryptography allow to protect information from unauthorized access and distortion reliably, and allow to resolve problems concerning authenticity of documents and many other important things (Bauer, 435-437).

Currently, one of the major studies in the field of cryptology is devoted to the subject of quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography is a method of protection of communications based on the principles of quantum physics. Unlike traditional cryptography, which uses mathematical methods to provide privacy of information, the quantum cryptography is concentrated on physics, which considers cases when information is transferred by means of objects of quantum mechanics. The process of sending and receiving information is always carried out by physical means, for example, by means of electrons in electric current, or photons in the lines of fiber-optic communication. Interception can be considered as a measurement of certain parameters of physical objects, i.e. information carriers (Beaudry 2015).

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Researches showed that using the quantum phenomena, it is possible to design and create such a communication system, which can always find interception. This is ensured by the fact that an attempt to measure the related parameters in the quantum system contributes to violations of it destroying the original signals. This means that on the basis of the level of noise in the channel, legitimate users can recognize an activity level of an interceptor (LaMonica 2014).

Today, the University of Oxford has the set tasks to increase the data transmission speed. Quantum and cryptographic schemes, in which quantum amplifiers are used, have been created. As a result of practical researches, it was revealed that their application promotes overcoming of restriction of speed in the quantum channel and, thus, expansion of the area of practical use of similar systems. At John Hopkins University, the computer network, in which automatic fine tuning is made each 10 minutes, is constructed on the quantum channel of 1 km long. As a result of it, the probability of mistake is reduced to 0,5 percent at a speed of communication of 5 kbps (Beaudry 2015).

The American company MagiQ Technologies, located in New York, conducts the researches in the field of quantum cryptography. Lately, the company issued a prototype of commercial quantum cryptotechnology of its own invention. The main product of MagiQ is a means for quantum key distribution, which is called Navajo. Navajo is capable to generate and extend in real time keys by means of quantum technologies and is intended for ensuring protection against internal and external malefactors (LaMonica 2014). Thus, continuous researches in the field of cryptology led to new methods of data security that increased safety of data stored and transferred not only by means of computers, but also telephone lines (for example, due to quantum cryptography).

To sum up, it should be noted that information security by cryptographic means is a rather difficult area of human activity. A mistake made by the operating personnel at a development stage, or inaccuracy of actions can lead to the most negative consequences, which are expressed not only in financial losses but also in the loss of trust of their clients. Thus, despite all obvious benefits from its use, the cryptology includes a danger of emergence of complete security illusion and, as a result, weakening of attention to other methods of information security. At the same time, the cryptology remains one of the most roughly developing fields of knowledge and takes a worthy place among the means of ensuring information security including even quantum physics. Now, one of the most important achievements in the field of quantum cryptography is that scientists could show the possibility of data transmission through the quantum channel with a speed of up to 1 Mbps. At this stage, the quantum cryptography comes closer to the practical level of use. The results of cryptology are realized in the form of the ciphering devices, which are built in the modern communication networks. Therefore, cryptographers are limited in a choice of means by the level of equipment and technology reached at the moment. However, the current researches show that this segment of market tends to develop.

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