SNUZRJOPGALIAZRGCDKNLOSDYHHK: An Introduction to Cryptography

Submitted by Mike Moritz '11 on March 5, 2011

RPJEUXWXVORO. If you could figure out some way to determine that this message might mean OMGBRUTUSLOL, then you would probably be a pretty good cryptographer. If you are like me and do not have much of a computer science or algebra background, the simplest way to define cryptography is the study and practice of hiding information. Michael Alloca ’04 returned back to Fairfield on the evening of February 24 to explain more about cryptography in the DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multimedia Room.

Alloca, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Scranton, explained that cryptography not only protects data from theft or altercation, but is also used for authentication. It is an ancient practice that even dates back to the days of Julius Caesar, which is where the OMGBRUTUSLOL comes from. If one wanted to say OMGBRUTUSLOL, then they might depict a message that reads RPJEUXWXVORO, which is shifted 3 letters to the right in the alphabet. The Vigenere square comes in handy when trying to understand these types of encrypted messages as it provides a method for cracking them.

Since a majority of the audience was made up of math majors who had seen algorithms and coding like this before, the lecture proved to be a success, especially for those who want to further study cryptography. Michael Powell ’11 said, “I thoroughly enjoyed what Professor Alloca had to say. As a math and computer science major, cryptography is definitely something I want to learn more about.”

Tiny URL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/7gsbowq