Category Archives: cryptography

Cryptohipster Beliefs

Whitfield Diffie is, in essence, a cryptohipster. Or, one might call him a cryptotarian (crypto libertarian). He graduated from MIT, and studied cryptography just for the thrill of it. In the early 70’s, Diffie had the foresight to realize that one day, people would have their own computers. He believed that “if people then used […] Continue reading

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More Than Capable of Completing Men’s Work

My copy of the book did not have any reading questions so I will do my best to interpret the first blog post question and answer it to the fullest extent. The roles that gender played in the codebreakers life and work World War II were significant. Women were subject to doubt, cut wages, and […] Continue reading

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Mean Girls (WWII Edition)

Arlington Hall, the epicenter of the American code breaking effort, was s densely populated pseudo-tenement housing for some of the brightest and most flexible minds the country had to offer. Of course, with such a high population of men and women living together in close quarters, gender played a significant role in both the code […] Continue reading

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Ted Cr- I Mean, The Zodiac Killer

The podcast on the Zodiac Killer was well made and well produced.  From a technical standpoint, the intonation, projection, and fluency of the speaker made it very enjoyable to listen to the podcast. Often times, even when simply reading from a script, people can falter, trip over words and phrases, and stutter, all of which […] Continue reading

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Podcast Critiques

To start, I’m writing this blog post now for the second time. For the second week in a row. To my fellow FYWS Cryptographers, write this in Word, Google Docs, or somewhere that’s not here. Because this website likes to play cruel tricks and delete your post right when you click publish. Anyway, I listened […] Continue reading

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Ethics vs. Strategy

The Zimmerman Telegram was a telegram from Germany to Mexico containing crucial war information about The Great War. It included the Germans’ plans for unrestricted submarine warfare, as well as a proposal asking Mexico to ally with the Germans and invade the US. The Germans had hoped to attack the US on three fronts: Mexico […] Continue reading

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Nothing to Hide

Chapter one of Simon Singh’s The Code Book begins with two stories. The first one is about Mary Queen of Scots and the second one is about Demaratus, an exiled Greek who nevertheless worked to communicate secretly with his homeland. While both of their stories were told to establish a theme of secret writing, the […] Continue reading

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The Theatricality of Cryptography

The first chapter of Singh’s The Code Book is packed with historical examples of cryptography. The Greeks, Persians, Arabs, French, and English, to name a few, were just some of the infinite number of societies and civilizations of which cryptography was crucial to their development. However, most of the examples described did involve people in positions of […] Continue reading

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Breaking Codes Is Much More Difficult In Practice

In Chapter 3, Singh provides an example of breaking codes with keywords and makes everything seems quite easy. However, in practice, breaking such a code is definitely difficult and needs a lot of time and work. Say you have a message which is enciphered by using a keyword as long as the plaintext. The first thing is […] Continue reading

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Uncertain Environments Generate Safer Practices

An environment in which one knows he or she must constantly maintain precautions is safer than one where they are unaware of the dangers that potentially exist.   This concept is exemplified in the case of Mary Queen of Scots by the simple fact that her naive belief that she was speaking in secrecy directly […] Continue reading

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