The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Author: shij5

The Security of Email and the Privacy

Now I just collect some information and have not started my paper yet, so I find that I will take a huge amount of effort to deal with this paper.  In this paper, I want to talk about the security of the emails during the international communications (like the legal access of the government, the physical location of the service and so on) and the strength of the passwords of emails accounts. There are two most challenging parts of this paper. The first part is to get the way how government access the email because I am not familiar with the internet. I need to search more information and spend more time to understand the process. The second part is to understand the way the hackers use to break the emails accounts and the method the emails use to keep the passwords of the accounts safe. These need I spend a lot of time on mathematics and I might also need to explain them clearly in my paper. The  more enjoyable part in this paper is to think about the method to improve the strength of the passwords of the email accounts and to keep people’s email accounts safe. This part is very useful and interesting. To improve my paper, I still need to search more resources and organize the arguments clearly.

Privacy is the fundamental right of human

I think the privacy of individual is one of the most important and the most basic right of human. Government can not and also does not have the right to invade the privacy of individual. Every one has his or her own secret, other people should respect him or her. This, of cause, does not mean that the national security is not important. The National security is definitely very important. It protect individual from terrible things. However, this mind could not be controlled easily, which means the government could grabs the right from civilians by the same reason. Because such behavior is difficult to limit, common people might always lose their privacy without perception, like the PRISM.  In this event, if Snowden had not told the truth to the public, American people would have never known this kind of thing happening to them. What is more, surveillance is only a small part of national security, the government could try other methods to improve its ability to protect the national security, so the surveillance is not necessary. By the way, this kind of project could easily become a control to people rather than a protect of people. Thus, compared with national security, individual’s privacy is much more important.

Photo Credit: 'We are legion'by Enrique Dans via flickr

Photo Credit: ‘We are legion’by Enrique Dans via flickr

The Wisdom from the Best

In the World War Two, the Allied cryptanalysts successfully broke German  Code and helped Allies win the war. One of the important facts I thought was the efforts from the genius.

In Ultra, the Allies hired the best one in different fields. They invited people (most were mathematicians and cryptanalysts) with unique talent, such as the Champion of Chess, the experts in crossword puzzle, linguists and so on. One of the most famous people they hired was Alan Turin. For example, Bletchley Park once used the crossword puzzle on ‘The Daily Telegraph’ as the test and asked the applicants finished it in 12 minutes. Bletchley Park also offered brilliant tools. Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer was used to help break the German Code. So one of the reason that helped Allied cryptanalysts be victorious over German cryptographers is that the Allies hired the top people in different fields and made them work together to solve problems.

The achievement of this strategy was so outstanding that during the World War Two, it helped Allies broke many codes. This greatly helped Allies save a lot of time and people, avoid the attack from enemy and finally win the war.

Photo Credit: Bletchley Park House - Mansion by Elliott Brown via flickr

Photo Credit: Bletchley Park House – Mansion by Elliott Brown via flickr


Security and Privacy

In the thirteenth chapter, the students talk about a question that “Under what circumstances should the federal government be prepared to suspend the Bill of Rights?” What they are talking exactly, in other words, is that should government suspend the Bill of Rights at extreme environments. This is a classic question in the works about the against between weak people and strong government. In the book “1984” and the movie “V for Vendetta” show us a picture of the terrific future when the government has huge power and ignores the rights of individuals. In fact, I thought the answer to this question depends on the side people choose. In the book, the author describes a teacher, Mr Anderson, who the reader might think her as a stubborn supporter of the government. In other hand, Marcus and his friends are the firm fighter for freedom. Some people might thought the privacy is much better than the security and some support the opposite opinion. I’m in the middle. I agree that the privacy of individual is very important, but I also think it’s reasonable to sacrifice the privacy to make sure the security. Some people might point out that the government could grab the rights of people with this reason. I had to say any extreme is bad. The key point is to get the balance between the two side.

The development of cipher

2.The Great Cipher used by Louis XIV remained unbroken for 200 years.  What were the factors that led to such a secure cipher?

The Great Cipher was invited by the father-and-son team of Antonine and Bonavenure Rossignol. They had a great amount of experience in the field of cipher and, after serving Louis XIV, had precious resource.

Since they spent so much time on enciphering and deciphering, they should know the most advanced technology to break the cipher at that time, which helped them improve the strength of the code they made. Thus they can improve the way they enciphered the message and made sure that no one could break the cipher and get the message with current technology. This cipher was so strong that it remained unbroken for 200 years after the death of them and the lose of the way to break the cipher.

I just remember the first blog I wrote. It was said that we could break the cipher with our knowledge even though breaking the cipher need the knowledge in the fields of mathematics, linguistics and statistics.  But now I thought the cipher has already developed to a so high level that only the experts in the field of cipher could took part in the work of cipher.

Clean your history in the computer

I want to response to the article “The 5 biggest online privacy threats of 2013” for this book assignment. This article talks about the information you left when you used the internet which might be collected by other people. This is a really big problem and I have two suggestions to the students in the college.

First, try not allow the Web Browser to loge in the webs which you always loge in and have your private information such as Facebook, Twitter, Mail box and so on. If you web browser will open these pages for you when you use the internet, make sure that no one else can use your laptop. One of my classmate have done this before and his laptop was stolen. Days later, his renren (a social website like Facebook) was in a mass. This was really terrible.

Second, remember to clean your record in the history, especially when you are using the public computer. This was not only about the internet. You should absolutely clean the history on the internet because of the reason one. You should also clean some other “history” like the document you downloaded or used. When I use the public computer to print my paper. I was surprised that I can find and read the documents people left before.  People always like to download the document from their mail box or directly copy the film to the computers. Even they might delete the films, you could probably find them in the Recycle Bin.

Blog Assignment 1

Q3:On page 15 of The Code Book, author Simon Singh writes, “Cryptanalysis could not be invented until a civilization had reached a sufficiently sophisticated level of scholarship in several disciplines, including mathematics, statistics, and linguistics.”  If such a level of scholarship was required for the development of the frequency analysis approach to solving substitution ciphers, what do you make of the fact that amateur cryptanalysts today often use  that approach “on their own,” so to speak, without being trained in it?

I think 1)the “sophisticated level” means different things in different time. The “sophisticated level” of scholarship in several disciplines at that time (about A.D. 750) might just be like the level of high-school education today since science develops fast and becomes complicated. This means we might have already had some basic and necessary knowledge in fields like mathematics, statistics and linguistics. So we, compared with people in the past, own the so-called “sophisticated scholarship”

2)Even we never receive any training about cryptanalysis, I believe most of us have gotten in touch with cryptanalysis before, maybe in a movie, in a science-fiction or a detective fiction. So in this way we have, in some way, received some background knowledge of cryptanalysis and have been able to use some basic method of cryptanalysis like frequency analysis, finding one letter words and so on.

3) Of course, the previous two reasons don’t mean that the code in the past is a piece of cake to us. In fact, the two codes we try to break in the class are just two easy uses of cipher(replace letter), a sort of substitution. And if Mr Derek ask us to break some complicated code, it must be a hard work.

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