Encryption 101

    Date04 Dec 2001
    CategoryCryptography
    3203
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    It's always been difficult to keep secrets. It's even more difficult when necessity forces you to write those secrets down and move them around the Internet, whose open systems make it easy for eavesdroppers to glance at the information we send . . . It's always been difficult to keep secrets. It's even more difficult when necessity forces you to write those secrets down and move them around the Internet, whose open systems make it easy for eavesdroppers to glance at the information we send over the wires.

    The email you send is essentially a digital postcard. A nosy mailman or neighbor can glance at what's written on it as the card visits the many stops along the route from the sender to the receiver's mailbox. We currently rely on the sheer volume of traffic to keep our email private -- security by obscurity. This is not exactly the best way to ensure that sensitive information doesn't get widely distributed to the wrong people. So how are we going to get any measure of privacy on the Internet? The answer lies in an arcane science known as cryptography.

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