On the advance of Information Security Archive
A. Historical Reference to information security
- La Cryptographie Militaiare(translated in English): Kerckhoffs’ article on the importance of cryptography from ancient Greek to the war during 1800s. In this article, Kerckhoff explains lays out his famous principle of military cryptography. It is the first time principle where it stresses the importance of using communicable yet unbreakable system. Until then, secrecy was entirely subjected to confidentiality.
- The Codebreakers: Extensive history of written by David Khan on how cryptography was used and how it evolved. It shows how cryptography was used as a essential technology within military.
- Cryptology Goes Public: Explains how cryptography became important to public matters and is becoming more available to the public due to the advance in technology.
B. Papers on information security
- Communication Theory of Secrecy System: Claude Shannon’s extensive explanation on how to view secrecy system. It explains the use of cryptography regarding its mathematical design, type, usage, and how it can be valued. It sets what are the necessary components to be considered from designing stage to make a valid algorithm. Shannon’s maxim is very famous for complementary to Kerckhoff’s Principle.
- The New Directions In Cryptography: Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman’s proposal that first suggested the possibility of public key cryptography. It uses discrete logarithm problem to maintain the computational infeasibility of calculating secret key from known information. (See Wikipedia article for details)
- A Method for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystems: Public key cryptography algorithm developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Leonard Adleman. It selects two random prime number(p, q)and select private key and public key(e, d) that has specific relationship with the multiplication of those prime numbers(n = p x q). (See Wikipedia article for details)
- Secure Communications Over Insecure Channels: Ralph Merkle’s proposal on how to exchange shared key. It uses puzzles in which there are elements of secret message that will latter be used as the key. (See wikipedia article) Unlike other public-key cryptography system, which is focused on algorithm to produce a key to be handled by an individual, Merkel’s method is focused on reaching a “common secret”.
- Protocols for Public Key Cryptosystem: Merkle’s extensive scenario on how to securely use cryptosystem. It starts with centralized key distribution system to digital time-stamping and digital signature scheme. He suggested the idea of applying one way hash function to reduce data storage and authentication. He also suggested “tree authentication” method which become latter known as Merkle tree.
- Factoring Integers With Elliptic Curves: Lenstra’s proposal for mathematically generating elliptic curve over finite field. The work is applied to cryptography for key agreement(key generation), digital signature, pseudo-random number generator (See wikipedia article for details).
- The MD4 Message Digest Algorithm: Ron Rivest’s algorithm for cryptographic hash algorithm. The procedure of MD4 algorithm, which involves padding, initialization vector, and rounds of block cipher, becomes the standard of generating cryptographic hash algorithm that follows including SHA-1 and SHA-2. (SHA-3 uses stream cipher)
- Security Through Obscurity: The paper introduces steganography. Cryptography maintains the secrecy of information through encryption of content. That is to say, even if the content is public, since it is illegible, the attacker cannot contrive any valuable information from what he receives. Steganography, on the other hand, conceals the secret information itself from detection. In other words, receivers would not know that there is secret information unless they are told. It is used for some digital watermark. Nick Szabo revealed his interest in the field. However, perhaps appropriate for the subject of his interest, his research is not well-known.
C. People and personal comment
- Alen Turing: BBC documentary on Alan Turing is, for the lack of a better word, very English-like, especially with regard to the emphasis on Alan Turing’s homo sexuality. Other than that, it is amazing to see how he invented the notion of modern computer, Turing Complete Machine, and how it was realized because he worked as cryptographer under British Military during WWII.
- Claude Shannon: It is very hard to find something that Claude Shannon did not do with regard to digital age. I recommend just watching some videos about him.
- Martin Hellman: Extremely enthusiastic man who is very inspiring. His insight into cryptography and information secrecy is fascinating. (I suppose his interest in Russia is now somewhat justified through recent incidents)
- Whitfield Diffie: He sounds like more engineering-minded out of Diffie-Hellman combo. I can see that he is very precise and careful with his expressions. The general story and dynamics of Diffie and Hellman is simply awe inspiring for me.
- Ron Rivest: He is a very humble when he speaks considering all the public fame that he must have accrued. I very much like panel talk amongst cryptographers.
- Ralph Merkle: Another very inspiring man. If I do get a chance, maybe I should take time to read his papers on nanotechnology. He recently had an interview with Epicenter where he shared his idea of Futarchy, which is a huge theme within crypto economy.