As we’ve discussed at length in this course—the history of cryptography is riddled with instances of problems that at first glance seem immutable. The issue of key distribution was one of these supposedly immutable doctrines of secret writing. However, as we have also seen—the history of cryptography is also riddled with people so determined to fix these problems, that they will dedicate their whole lives to finding a solution. Whitfield Diffie and his similarly (and maybe even fruitlessly) determined colleagues identified the problem of key distribution as one worthy of intense study.
Although I may not completely understand the complex computer languages of ASCII or the way that computers can generate millions of key and cipher possibilities in the blink of an eye, the grand concept of sending secure messages through the analogy of Alice, Bob, and Eve is somehow paradoxically easier to understand. This relationship is in essence a great riddle, and a puzzle that I can appreciate. While usually the dedication of famous cryptographers puzzles me, as I find it hard to believe that people will go to such lengths to solve some seemingly tiny problem for a slim chance of going down in mathematics or military history—they problem of key distribution seems so applicable and real, especially looked at in the context of today’s internet age. In this climate of data mining or even straight up data theft, all I can say is thank you to Whitfield Diffie and his collaborators for caring (obsessing?) so much about key distribution and about the privacy of the ordinary person.