Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: tone

Writing Process

In the past, I have written many papers of similar magnitude for purposes varying from competing for an award to a research paper. However, this is the first time I have written a paper of this magnitude with the purpose of informing and persuading the everyday citizen, or college student of something which they should be doing. With that, one of the biggest challenges was getting the tone of the paper correct. Most of my writing prior to this course was extremely formal and/or technical, and so it has been interesting finding the right balance in dropping a slight amount of the formality in the paper while keeping it at the level of an academic paper.

I have a fairly routine process I like to take when writing longer papers, and it is the process I went with to write this one. After choosing my topic, the very first thing which I do is to look for resources which I can use to learn more about the topic and for references to cite in my paper. After I've got a few of these, I outline the paper with a general layout of what I plan on doing, and in what order. My topic is multi-factor authentication. After an intro, I give some background on multi-factor authentication and all of the types of "factors" one can use. Then I discuss why not implementing multi-factor authentication can be harmful by making it significantly easier for hackers to break into your accounts. Next, I go through each of the main additional factors to passwords which college students can/should implement doing a cost-benefit analysis on each one. What I did once I initially sat down to write the paper was get a good start on each of these main sections to the paper. After that, I just go back and fill each section in until complete, which is my current stage in the writing process.

The most enjoyable part of the writing process for me has always been outlining. I love the imagining at the beginning, thinking of all the different ways one could go about writing the paper, and then choosing one and figuring out how to best implement it.

Behind the Scenes of a Practical Cryptography Paper

While writing my practical cryptography paper, there have definitely been some challenges. The first and probably hardest part of my paper was choosing a topic. I had no idea what someone would want to read about that would directly relate to cryptography and didn’t know what advice I could give. Eventually, I settled on searching the internet anonymously and began my research. This part was equally enjoyable and frustrating, because while I like perusing interesting articles for information, oftentimes the articles I was finding were saying the same things. To solve this problem, I searched for sources that pertained to different parts of my paper; there were sources I used for history and background, sources I used about actually taking steps to search anonymously, and sources I used about the ethics and legality of it all. With a little creative searching, I found most of what I needed.

Now, I am still in the process of actually putting all this information into a coherent guide and finishing writing my paper. So far, it hasn’t been extremely difficult to organize; the paper itself is fairly straight forward in its components, and it’s easy to choose an organization scheme that boils down to ‘introduction, background, methods, ethics, and conclusion’. This was unquestionably the easiest part of my journey writing this paper. One of the things that I’m still struggling with is adopting the proper tone for the paper. Because it is supposed to instruct college students in a practical cryptography topic but is still an academic paper, I find myself needing to balance two different tones (one more casual, and one more formal).

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