The origin and history of encryption
Forlanda (2013) stated “Cryptography is the science of secret communication, while encryption refers to one component of that science” (para. 1). SANS Institute (2001) provided the following explanation to clarify what “Encryption” entails: “Encryption, process of converting messages, information, or data into a form unreadable by anyone except the intended recipient” (p. 2). The intended recipient requires the decryption key to decipher the encrypted message to reverse the encryption process in order to transform the received message to humanreadable form. “The root of the word encryption—crypt—comes from the Greek word kryptos, meaning hidden or secret” (SANS Institute, 2001, p. 2).
People have been enlisting the art and science of cryptology to encrypt messages for various reasons over several millennia. One of the key reasons to encrypt the message is to prevent it from unauthorized display or access. SANS Institute (2001) mentioned “In its earliest form, people have been attempting to conceal certain information that they wanted to keep to their own possession by substituting parts of the information with symbols, numbers and pictures” (p. 2). These earlier methods of substitution techniques have evolved over time and became more advanced, primarily due to the influences and effects of today’s modern computing processing powers, digital graphics, and other technological advances—automating the power of encryption through the art and science of cryptology. SANS Institute (2001) referenced the following brief historical facts regarding the encryption practices: The Assyrians [1500 BC] were interested in protecting their trade secret of manufacturing of the pottery. The Chinese were interested in protecting their trade secret of manufacturing silk. The Germans [1933-1945] were interested in protecting their military secrets by using their famous Enigma machine. (p. 2)
This form of practice began as early as 1900 BC in which “an Egyptian scribe used non-standard hieroglyphs in an inscription” (SANS Institute, 2001, p. 2) to the year 1994 where a renowned professor named “Ron [ald] Rivest, author of the earlier RC2, RC4 and RC5 algorithms … ”
(SANS Institute, 2001, p. 7). The RC series encryption algorithms were named after its creator (Rivest), which stands for “Rivest Cipher.” Keep in mind that the above references regarding the historical implementation record of encryption is only a brief representation, and not to be interpreted as a comprehensive listing. Refer to the following URL for a detail list of historical events on cryptology and/or encryption: http://www.sans.org/readingroom/ whitepapers/vpns/history-encryption-730 or http://visual.ly/history-encryption.
As described above, encryption has great significance in protecting information and/or data from prying eyes—to ensure only authorized recipients are able to view the message in plaintext form. Nowadays, encryption plays an even more paramount role as cybercriminals, cyber terrorists, hackers, foreign state and non-state sponsored cyber actors engage in all sorts of sophisticated CNE activities against the United States and its allied nations to steal sensitive and proprietary data and/or information from government, military, academia, and private sector network information systems. And with the increased integration of BYODs into the workplace, Encryption will play a crucial part in preventing disclosure of sensitive data and/or information from falling into the wrong hands. At the very least, encryption will increase the level of difficulty, time, and effort for cybercriminals and the likes to decrypt the ciphertext to view the intercepted message in plaintext. In general, two common encryption methods are used in modern society: symmetric and asymmetric