Cryptography: Understanding the Basics, Types, and Beyond
Cryptography has become the epitome of security and privacy in today’s world. There is a need for unbreachable security as the digital world is expanding. Users now value their online security and the security of their assets more than anything else.
These days, we use cryptography on a daily basis thanks to some exceptional people. Cryptography plays a vital role in Web3 and the crypto world. All processes and segments of Web3 are encrypted, thanks to cryptographers. Services like DeFi, cryptocurrency exchange, and smart contracts all take assistance from cryptographers.
History of Cryptography
The word cryptography was derived from two Greek words, “kryptós” and “graphein.” The Greek word “kryptós” means hidden, whereas the word “graphein” means to write. The literal meaning of cryptography is “hidden writing.”
The Egyptians were the first to use cryptography. The ruins of their civilization still demonstrate their creative use of hieroglyphic writing. Although the concept is still the same, cryptography is now used differently both online and in daily life due to advancements in technology.
Today, cryptography is used to protect sensitive data. Cryptographers combine engineering, computer technology, and math to create highly sophisticated algorithms to protect data in various fields. From hospitals to the government to the blockchain industry, you will find many remote cryptography jobs in almost all sectors.
What is Cryptography?
In a nutshell, cryptography is the art of encoding information so that only those with the proper authorization can decode it. Modern cryptography techniques aim to increase the difficulty of jailbreaking encryption and decryption. To further ensure the security and near-unbreakability of the shared data, cryptographers also employ 128- and 256-bit encryption keys.
It takes the data and transforms it into intricate codes that can only be read by those who are authorized to access it. This way, Web3 companies can ensure confidentiality and keep sensitive data from cybercriminals.
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Types of Cryptography
Cryptography is very broad and all-encompassing. It encompasses a broad range of techniques that can be adjusted to meet the demands of the job or sector. Three different forms of cryptography provide users with different degrees of security.
- Symmetric Key Cryptography
- Asymmetric Key Cryptography
- Hash Functions
Let’s take a closer look at each of these main cryptography types.
Asymmetric Key Cryptography
More secure, the Asymmetric Key Cryptography involves two keys. The public key is used to send the information whereas the private key is used to access this information. Both keys are unique and the whole process makes data impossible to breach. The most popular kind of asymmetric cryptography is the RSA algorithm.
Symmetric Key Cryptography
Information is sent and received using a single key in symmetric key cryptography. The data will stay safe as long as the key is shared in a secure manner. Key holders have an obligation to keep it secure and distribute it only to individuals they can rely on. The two most common types of symmetric key cryptography are DES (Data Encryption) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).
Hash Functions are very different from both symmetric key and asymmetric key cryptography. Instead of using keys to share information, a hash value is used. A number of fixed lengths are used to act as data identifiers and to access the data. The hash function is most commonly used by individuals who want to protect their passwords for their operating systems.
Common Cryptography Issues
If you are thinking about applying for cryptography jobs and you want to excel in it, you should research the common issues that arise in cryptography. Even though modern cryptography is more sophisticated and sharper, they are still prone to cyberattacks. Some of the most common cryptography issues are:
- Incorrectly Recording Keys: More often than not, people write the crypto keys down or save them in spreadsheets. However, one incorrect number or word and the whole key is lost.
- Creating Weak Keys: Longer keys are often preferred because they have more numbers, which makes them difficult to crack. This helps in data protection. However, if the key is shorter, it would be much easier to guess.
- Recycling Same Keys: Using the same key again and again is against general internet security. If the same key is used for different systems, it will become vulnerable and easy to crack.
It is best for upcoming cryptographers to fully educate themselves about cryptography before they apply for any jobs. Cryptography goes beyond coding and encrypting data. There is a lot of responsibility on you, even if you are working for remote cryptography jobs. So, get certified, learn from the experts, and enjoy your work!