Cryptology

The scientific study of cryptography and cryptanalysis, including the study of their techniques, is known as Cryptology.

What Is Cryptology?

The simplest Cryptology definition is, Cryptology is the study of encryption and decryption of valuable data. In Cryptology, users study how encryption algorithms convert plaintext into ciphertext. The latest encryption software used nowadays is the 256-bit SSL (secure socket layer) encryption but there are other variants. The person who studies Cryptology is called a cryptographer and he is in pursuit of finding what does cryptology means as an umbrella term.

The process of converting plain and readable text into coded language is called cryptography, while the study of this process is known as Cryptology. Cryptanalysis is a branch of Cryptology that studies the security analysis of cryptosystems. It is pertinent to mention here that cryptology meaning is not easy to understand because some people mix up Cryptology with Cryptography because their boundaries are thin.

Cryptology vs. Cryptography

Both these terms relate to the hiding and disguising of important data and information to protect it from being misused. The main differences between Cryptology and Cryptography are given in the below table.

            Cryptology             Cryptography
Cryptology is the parent term with a broader scope and area. It involves both cryptography and cryptanalysisCryptography is the sub-category of Cryptology, a narrow concept,  which doesn’t involve cryptanalysis
It involves the study of all the methods of breaching security modules that use cryptography. It also provides the answer to ‘what is the study of cryptology’Cryptography involves the study of methods that help to secure and protect data. It includes the in-depth study of encryption and hashing.
It includes the creation of a strong security setup and its testing as well through systematic mathematical calculation.It’s the process of finding methods to protect content through complex algorithms.
Its study helps in pointing out the weaknesses within existing security systems.Companies use cryptography to secure their data (which includes the data of their clients as well)

To keep data secure while in transmission, it must be encrypted so that no unauthorized person can gain access. If someone sees it, then the whole purpose of encryption becomes useless. Complex mathematical algorithms are used to ensure safety, and the difficulty level is measured for its intractability.

Etymology

The term ‘cryptology’ has been effectively derived from two Greek words, kryptós (hidden) and logos (word). Collectively they mean a hidden word that refers to encryption. According to Merriam-Webster, the term was first used in 1844. In the last decade of the 20th century, a revolution came in the IT sector from which Cryptology surfaced as a formal study.

Soon, Cryptology became part and parcel of modern life, notably in the legal and banking fields. An example from the legal sector is that every courtroom has a cryptographer or stenographer who writes the statements of witnesses in codes to save time. In the banking sector, PIN codes (Personal Identity Number) are used to secure the information and are compulsory to use an ATM.

The modern terminologies related to cryptology date back to the time of the inception of written messages. The binary coding (zeros and ones) is also studied under the umbrella of Cryptology.

Most Important Terminologies In Respect To Cryptology

The two most important terms, without which understanding Cryptology is impossible, are Codes and Ciphers. Both the codes and Ciphers are used to establish secure and secret communications.

A code is an extraction from some lucid unit which may be any word, phrase, or sentence. A code is a word that means something else and is usually designed to save time or communicate secretly.

A cipher is usually referred to as an encryption algorithm, which is a system of encryption and decryption of data. It converts plaintext, the original information, into ciphertext using a key. Most importantly, ciphers don’t involve any meaning. So the fundamental difference between codes and ciphers is that codes work on the principles of semantics while ciphers operate on syntax rules.

The cipher system is divided into two basic kinds of operation, transpositions and substitutions. In transposition, the plaintext is rearranged only without changing anything. In substitution, plaintext elements are replaced with other symbols, but the sequence remains the same.

Josh Fernandez

Josh Fernandez

20-something Non-giver of ETH.

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