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Brief insight to cryptography and its applications

In today's digital environment, data is one of the most valuable resources that is required for maintaining secure communications. Digital users must often be able to maintain data secrecy and to determine the authenticity of the data. This evolution can be evident from the rapid growth of e-commerce, e-transactions, social networking and other means of the internet. The need for smaller, faster, portable devices and the ever-increasing use of technology has driven our professional as well as personal life in various ways. On the other hand, we are devotedly dependent on these small and big information infrastructures that empower our modern society.

In recent years, several incidents have occurred where fun intended hacking of social networking sites, online bank transactions, spamming email accounts, and taping of telephonic conversations have been observed. As fast electronic communication is outreaching to the sensitive domains of our daily life, their security is of prime concern. To avoid such incidents and for secure electronic communications, all the data transmitted between the computers where the data is kept and where it is received must be encrypted. Due to a large number of commercial transactions on the internet, it is necessary to ensure the security of digital transactions.

At the basic level, fundamental security properties like confidentiality, authentication, integrity, non-repudiation, access control etc., are a must for secure communication. Cryptography is likely the elite technology for securing sensitive data. To encrypt and decrypt data, a unique key combination is required, making the approach an effective tool for keeping information safe from snooping eyes.

In other terms, Cryptography is about communication in the presence of adversaries. Cryptography has a long and fascinating history from 4000 years ago, where it was used by Egyptians, to the Twentieth century, where it played a crucial role in the outcome of both world wars. The leading practitioners of the art were those associated with the military, the diplomatic service and government in general. Over the ages, cryptography has been an art practised by many who have devised ad hoc techniques to meet some of the information security requirements. Cryptography was used as a tool to protect national secrets and strategies. The last twenty years have been a period of transition as the discipline moved from an art to a science. Nowadays, cryptography is considered as the main theme of several scientific meetings and international conferences. Several scientific bodies are exclusively devoted for cryptography; among them, the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) is known as foster research in this domain.

One of the best applications of cryptography is in cryptocurrency and blockchain. Blockchain technology is an elaborate mechanism that allows transpicuous information sharing within a networking organisation. Hackers and intruders have found it rigorous to tamper with data because of its disseminated nature. Soon, cryptography will be more advanced by exploring and merging artificial intelligence and machine learning tools for cyber security and data safety.

Dr. Neetu Sharma, Assistant Professor, Applied Sciences and Humanities Department

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