Although confidentiality in the communic ation between two parties is very often linked with electronic data transfer, methods for ensuring confidentiality have been used for centuries. That is how cryptography started as a methodology, prac tice and discipline, ensuring confidential communic ation in the presence of third parties called ‘adversaries’. However, encrypting the message for confidentiality purposes is only one aspect of cryptography. It also provides means of ensuring that the parties involved in communic ation are ‘who they say they are’. Cryptography underpins many aspects of security, and is a crucial component in protecting the confidentiality and integrity of information. It is now a prevalent part of our day-to- day lives despite many people being unaware of its usage or importanc e. Almost every interaction we make with an electronic device will involve cryptography in some form. Cryptography is an indispensable tool for protecting information in computer systems.
This unit introduces students to the theoretical principles of cryptography and looks at some practical applications, many of which we use on a daily basis. Students are expected to investigate the inner workings of cryptographic systems and how to correctly use them in real-world applications. Students are expected to explore the mathematic al algorithms in relation to cryptography and their applications.
Students are also expected to analyse the symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods and ciphers, public key cryptography and the security issues related to their impleme ntation. In addition, students are expected to investigate advanced encryption protocols and their applications.
Among the topics included in this unit are: the mathematic al algorithms used in cryptography, the mec hanisms by which symmetric and asymmetric cryptography work, 3DES and AES bloc k ciphers, the operations of public key cryptography, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), primality testing and factoring, discreet logarithms, El Gamal encryption, security issues with cryptography, common attacks on cryptographic schemes, and some prac tical applic ations of cryptography.
On successful completion of this unit students will be able to examine the symmetric encryption algorithms and ciphers, assess public key encryption protocols and signatures and their uses in the message and key exchanges, analyse the security issues related to symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods and evaluate advanced encryption protocols and their applications in secure message exchanges.
As a result they will develop skills such as critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation, which are crucial for gaining employme nt and developing academic competence.
By the end of this unit students will be able to:
LO1. Examine the symmetric encryption algorithms and ciphers.
LO2. Assess public key encryption protocols and signatures and their uses in the message and key exchanges.
LO3. Analyse the security issues related to symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods.
LO4 Evaluate advanced encryption protocols and their applications in secure message exchanges.