Encryption is a word that is associated with mystery and secrecy. For hundreds of years, it is tool that has been used to help protect information. Simply, it is a process that scrambles ordinary textual or written information into something that is illegible and difficult to read or decipher. Private messages, military strategies, and financial data are some examples of things that have utilized encryption. Julius Caesar used a simple form of encryption by switching the letters in his messages so his enemies could not read it. Today it is known as a substitution cipher. Each letter of the alphabet is replaced with a letter three places further down the alphabet.
[...] LUCIFER was discarded as the standard because the technology of the time could not fit large sizes of bits on a single chip. Additionally, federal regulations limit the bit size of the cipher keys for use worldwide. How does DES work? Two sets of input are needed for any encryption. In this case, ordinary text, or plaintext, is sent in 64-bit blocks, and a key is created in blocks of 56- bits (the function expects a 64 bit key as input, extra bits could be used as parity bits) through a mathematical algorithm that is altered by permutation. [...]
[...] Technology influences the security of our most sensitive and private data. As we continue to learn at an astronomical rate, the steps we take to protect ourselves involve new, creative and sophisticated methods. The use of wireless technology with satellite and cellular phones raises new issues of security. Our encryption methods try to discourage the hackers and other intruders who want to compromise our information. We can only work towards staying one step ahead of them at all times. How secure will our information be in the future? [...]
[...] The algorithm was initially designed for the security and privacy of telephone communication and law enforcement. In 1998 SKIPJACK became unclassified, so the algorithm is available for public view. This is how it works: The message is broken into 64-bit blocks, with an 80-bit size key. Using permutation, counters, and a series of complicated mathematical functions, the message is mixed in 32 steps, alternating between the different methods. The SKIPJACK algorithm is programmed into a tamper-proof chip that can be installed in a variety of devices such as a telephone, modem or terminal. [...]
[...] Xuejia Lai and James Massey of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology developed it. IDEA is a block cipher that utilizes a 128-bit key that encrypts data in blocks of 64-bits. The key size is a lot larger than DES, and was thought that it might be the new standard in the future. How does it work? As with all conventional encryption methods, it begins with two inputs, the plaintext to be encrypted and the key. The IDEA algorithm breaks the inputs into four 16-bit smaller blocks. [...]
[...] Vincent Rijmen (Rye'-mun), a postdoctoral researcher in the Electrical Engineering Department (ESAT) of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The Rijindael algorithm should be accepted as the AES standard by the end of this year (2001). It is replacing DES as the standard, which has not been renewed by NIST since 1998. How does it work? Rijndael will use combinations of 128,192 or 256 bit keys to encrypt data in blocks of 128 bits. This gives it a lot of flexibility for customizing its use. [...]
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