“The unsung heroes of Cryptography”

Abū Yūsūf Ya’qūb ibn Is-hāq ibn as-Sabbāh ibn as-Sabbāh ibn’omrān ibn Ismaīl al-Kindī

His greatest treatise entitled:

Le Chiffre Indéchiffrable

Le Chiffre Indéchiffrable translated into “The Indecipherable Cipher”. The title was accredited to the “Vigenère Cipher” developed into it’s final form by:

Blaise de Vigenère

Traicté des Chiffres (A Treatise on Secret Writing’)

which was published in 1586. The decipherment of the Vigenère Cipher was accredited to Friedrich Kasiski. However it was Charles Babbage who broke the Vigenère cipher but it was never revealed during his lifetime, because his work was thought to be of no value to British forces in Crimea.

“TheCodebook” by Simon Singh , “Enigma:The Battle for the Code” by Hugh Sebag Montefiore, “Alan Turing:The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges and “Seizing the Enigma” by David Kahn

Since “Alan Turing” is accredited with the one who broke the German Enigma. Very few people know that it were three Polish cryptographers:

Jerzy Rózycki, Marian Rejewski and Henryk Zygalski

who had broken Enigma. Infact they had not just broken Enigma, but had been reading the messages for more than five years in 1932. The youngest of these three cryptographers “Jerzy Rózycki” can be seen in the picture below.

Whitfield Diffie, Ralph Merkle and Martin Hellman

Everone is familiar with their contribution as the solution to the “Key Distribution Problem” which is regarded as the greatest Cryptographic achievement since the invention of the monoalphabetic cipher, over two thousand years ago. However, there was a brilliant,, exceptional and prodigious talent who had gained a reputation as a “cryptoguru” named :

James Ellis

Clifford Cocks

It took me no more than half an hour from start to finish. I was quite pleased with myself. I thought, “Ooh, that’s nice. I’ve been given a problem and i’ve solved it.”

These are few among those innumerous of the Unsung hereos in the field of cryptography who have made a huge contribution in one way or the other. Their work can’t be overshadowed by what was the demand of the time. Whether it was due to the need of military secrecy or the lack of vision which lead to such and such. Their contribution is still to be acknowledged by us.

Real courage is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. Doing the unpopular thing because it’s what you believe, and the heck with everybody.



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Aaqib Bashir

Aaqib Bashir

I used to be a Researcher sometime back, now I write code for a living. Backend Engineer