Exploring Cryptography Fundamentals in Ruby

Cryptography is used all over the world to protect data from prying eyes. If you want to protect your own data you should be familiar with this topic.

To help you get started, I will show you the main concepts & algorithms that you need to know, and I will include some Ruby examples so you can see the concepts in action.

Primitive Ciphers

Cryptography was already in use way before computers existed. For example you may have heard about the Caesar cipher.

In the Caesar cipher letters are shifted X positions. The number of positions is the key needed to recover the original message.

It’s trivial to break this cipher using a computer, so what we use today are algorithms that take advantage of some mathematical problems (like prime factorization) that are hard to solve, even for the most powerful computers in the world.

Modern cryptography algorithms can be divided into three groups:

  • Symmetric ciphers
  • Asymmetric ciphers
  • Hash functions

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Source: Sitepoint