This talk starts with the simplest (and oldest) forms of secret communication: from the first invisible ink, to the ancient “scytale” anagram tool, to Caesar ciphers used in ancient Greece and Rome. These simple techniques give an accessible introduction to fundamental aspects of all cryptographic systems thru-out history. In particular, the establishment of a secure “key-exchange”, which will be shown thru-out the talk to be the most important and practical knowledge for developers.

From those ancient foundations, it explores the evolution of cryptography over centuries of “battle” between code-makers and code-breakers: from frequency cryptanalysis of the Islamic Golden Age, to the Alberti Cipher Disk and the Vigenère Square used in Renaissance and pre-Industrial Europe, to the World War II stories of making and breaking the Enigma machine – the first popular use of electromechanical cryptography, and the pre-cursors to modern computers.

Coming into contemporary times, it covers the development of computer cryptography: from the “Lucifer” cipher that would become the Data Encryption Standard (DES), to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) used today in protocols like TLS/HTTPS, along with modern key-exchange protocols like RSA, Diffie-Hellman, and Elliptic Curve.

April 08, 2022