Get a life!

Would there be a plausible explanation for an early retired English teacher to pass Cryptography exam? When did she become a geek? First it was Records and Information Management, then it was Certified Information Security Manager Prep course or something and now this! Has she lost her mind?

If the speculators are willing to move away from the stereotypical perceptions they entertain about people or teachers who are known to have specializations in a subject or two, they will be able to put their finger on it. It is not a crime to take an interest in many things happening around us especially when we live in a Digital Age in which information is regarded as an asset, which must be protected from casual prying eyes to professional hackers. I seized the opportunity to educate myself in this art of secret writing or codes by enrolling myself in a free short course offered by Charles Sturt University and am proud to announce that I passed the exam securing a ‘not-so-pathetic’ score. For those who are new to the subject, which I doubt it, and are dying to know what cryptography is, the short video included below would definitely enlighten you on the subject and how ‘Cryptography’ or ‘Cryptology’ (from Ancient Greek: κρυπτός, Romanized : kryptós “hidden, secret”; and γράφειν graphein, “to write”, or -λογία -logia, “study”)  is an apt name for the study of techniques which keeps information secure from cybersecurity breaches.

The highlight of the course were the activities which provided me the opportunity to experiment and explore with various online and downloadable tools; a preference born out of experiencing a child-like excitement each time I decrypted an encrypted message using specific tools like Caesar, RSA, Vignere, etc., and not because I devalued the presentation slides or course content, the presenters, or the discussion forums. Being an eccentric, it wouldn’t be a hyperbolic statement, if I told you that I get the thrills from challenging myself. It is important that I achieve my aspirations. Having said that, my aspirations are limited and sometimes a few of those are claimed by lethargy

Most tech savvy people or business services use Cryptography to send information in a secure manner. This technique is used not only for computer passwords but for authentication or certification purposes which protects the message, however reveals who the sender is, the time and date and the computer from which the digital document has been sent. It is also used in electronic money transfer as it protects account numbers, amount, handwritten signatures etc. by encrypting these. Using a pair of keys called the public key for encryption and a private key to decrypt, emails are continued to be sent in a secure manner. It is also used in encrypting communication to prevent eavesdroppers from exploiting the uses of apps such as WhatsApp or Instagram. It is interesting and a relief to know that with hashing functions it is impossible to reverse or crack the coded messages and it will take several years for hackers to decrypt pieces of the original message. With the invention of Quantum Computers, it is not surprising to learn about Quantum Cryptography. Current Cryptographic algorithms are not very secure especially since Quantum computers can decrypt the encrypted information in a few seconds. Cryptography and security are already synonymous, and we could benefit from future innovations in this field.

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