A few words about the title: The first seven letters are written using a very simple code, or cypher. Each of the letters in the original word is replaced by the non-alphabetical character to which it is closest on a US keyboard. The process of hiding a message by substituting other letters, numbers or symbols is known as encryption. When the code is reversed, the title reads ‘Explaining Encryption’.
But it also looks like swearing, doesn’t it? In fact, the use of characters like this to denote swearing is a simple (dare we say crude?) kind of encryption. A child too innocent to know such words derives no meaning from the random collection of characters. Someone well versed in the ways of the world, though, can add up the number of characters and quickly deduce what was intended.
On and off over the last two months, we’ve been looking at various aspects of online security. This week, we’re going to consider what steps we can take to make the information we send over the Internet secure from prying eyes.
We’ll also consider why it is that no one uses these measures, and why most of us won’t any time soon.