During the 2014, 2015, and 2017 offerings of the course, my students completed a writing assignment I called "practical cryptography." For this assignment, students focused on the ways that cryptography is (or could be) relevant to the digital life of a college student. Students could address one of the ways that cryptography is embedded in the computer systems we already use (e.g. how credit card information is encrypted by websites) or explain how to better protect one's online privacy by adopting new practices (e.g. sending and receiving encrypted email). Each paper had an expository component, in which students explained cryptographic or mathematical processes in ways a fellow student could understand, and an argumentative component, in which students made the case for why a fellow student should care about the chosen topic.
Below you'll find some of the best "practical crypto" papers submitted thus far.
- Steganography: Images May Not Be As Innocent As They Appear by Romy Pein (2017)
- Security Over Wifi: How Much Privacy Do You Really Have? by Sandra Shaw (2017)
- Don't Give Them the Finger: Why Passwords Are More Secure Than TouchID by Maria Sellers (2017)
- 'Tis the Season for Cyber Security Breaches by Abbey Roberts (2015)
- What's the Password? by Sara Tsai (2015)
- How to Conduct Secure Online Shopping: The College Student Edition by Julia Olsen (2015)
- Socially Private: A Guide to Safely Using Social Media by Parker Ragle (2015)
- Breaking the News on Your Own Terms: Why and How to Use Encryption for the Aspiring Journalist by Marianna Sharp (2014)
- Mobile Encryption: Protection or Problem? by Matthew Gu (2014)
- Benefits and Dangers of Location Services by Sam MacKenzie (2014)
- Popping the Filter Bubble by Sarah Giordano (2014)