The Art of Codes

Uml dzhfj tc lrxhkaulj.

Can you read that?

If so, then well done – I probably should have used a better code – but if not then it did its job. That’s the whole point of cryptography, to communicate in a secure way that outsiders aren’t able to interpret.

But, what if the message is intended for you? Well that’s where the key comes in. If you have the key to my code then you should be able to decipher it, and suddenly the jumbled nonsense becomes perfectly readable.

The world is encrypted.

Believe it or not, the modern world basically runs on codes. Sure more sophisticated ones than I used, but the same idea. The online world uses encryption to protect identity, sensitive details, and (hopefully) any other information that you give to the website. The last time you entered your credit card number to buy something online, the information was stored and encrypted in order to keep it secure and prevent someone misusing it. The way to access this information is to then use the key, like we did before, to ‘translate’ the information back to a readable language. This protects your information from being stolen.

Even if computers aren’t your thing, cryptography is still relevant to you. For thousands of years ‘classical cryptography’ has been used to protect information. Throughout the history of warfare it has been used to send messages that are safe from interception by the enemy. Even in ancient times (as far back as 1500 BC) there have been examples of people hiding valuable information in code. And, not to forget all the notes that get passed in class in a ‘secret language’ so that the teacher can’t get you in trouble for whatever you said.

Cryptography isn’t just for the written word though. Any item that is decorated or designed to appear to have a purpose other than its real one can be thought to be in code – its true purpose (much like the true meaning of an encoded sentence) is hidden from viewers who don’t have the ‘key’.

Cryptography is everywhere, it has a hand in pretty much all aspects of the modern world, as well as a strong impact on the past. Without it we wouldn’t have the safety that we do when using online shopping, or really anything online. Wars would have had different outcomes, and who knows what else would be different. And just think, we wouldn’t have those infuriating ‘Code Cracker’ logic puzzles either.

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