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Open Source Cryptography
For thousands of years, codes have been used to communicate information secretly. For most of that time, those codes were themselves secrets. As time went on, the codes became more complicated mathematically. Eventually, the very best codes were based on computational algorithms, or mathematics.
At that point, it became possible to use advanced mathematics to attack the codes of other countries. Much of the hidden history of the Second World War is the history of code breaking. Several decades after that war, it became obvious to code experts that the secrecy surrounding codes was a vulnerability. It was a vulnerability because the message traffic, even though en-coded or encrypted was itself a source of information about the nature of the code, the type of algorithms used. So it was possible to discover attacks on codes and encryption schemes without having to discover the code itself. Another strategy, that of open source cryptography, makes the algorithms used in the encoding scheme open to review.
The best mathematical minds now review coding schemes. Vulnerabilities are identified, picked apart, and closed off. New codes are developed which don't have the same limitations. The codes which are developed with open source crypto are actually better, more robust, more thoroughly analysed, and less vulnerable than secret codes.
Better still, the 1970s development of open source cryptography led to the development in the 1980s of free-ware software, also known as share-ware. Later, this became the open source software movement, with open source operating systems not far behind. Today we have open source systems and services of all kinds, not only in the digital world, but increasingly in the physical world. Machinery of all kinds is being developed on an open source basis, with amazing results.
When you become involved in the world of online transactions, you become increasingly exposed to open source crypto. Eventually, you need to learn how to protect yourself with encrypted e-mail, encrypted voice, and other encrypted communications, preferably to involve virtual privacy networks, onion routing, and other methods of preserving your privacy. In short, you learn to communicate privately.