[Event Summary] Cryptography: From Black Art to Popular Science


10th March 2011 – Cryptography: From Black Art to Popular Science, Part 2 – Professor. Fred Piper, University of London

Prof. Fred Piper returned to lead us again through the intricate and fascinating world of Cryptography. This talk was a follow up to Part 1 which was our Christmas lecture for 2009. Fred reprised the basics of cryptography presented previously but then went on to explore a little more detail on the key aspects of the technology involved.

Fred yet again proved what an engaging and amusing speaker he is on this complex subject on which he has been employed for virtually his entire professional career, making the subject much more accessible to the layman. Difficult concepts began to make a lot more sense and triggered the imagination as to what future developments in this arena might be used in future real world applications. Anecdotes and amusing stories from his experience and from those of many well known technology theorists flowed throughout.

Crypto_1Subjects included in Fred’s talk were:

  • The basic concept of secrecy & confidentially
  • Secure channels & early cipher system definitions
  • Strong and weak algorithms & potential threats & attacks
  • The Enigma machine, military use & early Polyalphabetic ciphers
  • Enabling factors in the development of cryptography and attacks on cryptographic implementations
  • Historical attitudes to its use and development
  • Social threats and legislative control
  • Human rights
  • Details on popular current cryptographic techniques
  • New directions in cryptography

Because Fred had so much he wanted to impart from his many years as a leading light in the world of Cryptography, the audience was entirely left feeling the need for what would be a very welcome return for a Part 3 at some time in the future!

The slides from Prof. Pipers’ talk are available from the download area of our Web Site.