This is the first part of a two-part article exploring the history of pre-computer cryptography. Part 1 will focus on the period from the birth of cryptography some 4,000 years ago to the development of early transposition and substitution ciphers. Part 2 looks at the emergence of cryptanalysis under the Abbasid Caliphate and goes through the perfection of mechanical encryption mechanisms in the mid-20th century.
Cryptography is ubiquitous. It underlies and supports the interdependent fabric of American society and the global commons. We rely on cryptographic mechanisms scores of times every . . .