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Outline of cryptography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to cryptography:

Cryptography (or cryptology) – practice and study of hiding information. Modern cryptography intersects the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Applications of cryptography include ATM cards, computer passwords, and electronic commerce.

Essence of cryptography

Uses of cryptographic techniques

Branches of cryptography

History of cryptography





Modern symmetric-key algorithms

Stream ciphers

Block ciphers

  • Polyalphabetic substitution machine cyphers
    • Enigma – WWII German rotor cypher machine—many variants, any user networks for most of the variants
    • Purple – highest security WWII Japanese Foreign Office cypher machine; by Japanese Navy Captain
    • SIGABA – WWII US cypher machine by William Friedman, Frank Rowlett et al.
    • TypeX – WWII UK cypher machine
  • Hybrid code/cypher combinations
    • JN-25 – WWII Japanese Navy superencyphered code; many variants
    • Naval Cypher 3 – superencrypted code used by the Royal Navy in the 1930s and into WWII

Modern asymmetric-key algorithms

Asymmetric key algorithm


Key authentication


Weak keys

Cryptographic hash functions




Robustness properties

Undeciphered historical codes and ciphers

Organizations and selection projects

Cryptography standards

General cryptographic

Open efforts

  • Data Encryption Standard (DES) – NBS selection process, ended 1976
  • RIPE – division of the RACE project sponsored by the European Union, ended mid-1980s
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) – a "break-off" competition sponsored by NIST, ended in 2001
  • NESSIE Project – an evaluation/selection program sponsored by the European Union, ended in 2002
  • eSTREAM– program funded by ECRYPT; motivated by the failure of all of the stream ciphers submitted to NESSIE, ended in 2008
  • CRYPTREC – evaluation/recommendation program sponsored by the Japanese government; draft recommendations published 2003
  • CrypTool – an e-learning freeware programme in English and German— exhaustive educational tool about cryptography and cryptanalysis

Influential cryptographers

List of cryptographers

Legal issues

Academic and professional publications

Allied sciences

See also