Encryption has been used for thousands of years with a very complex history. Cryptography, the study of encryption, is derived from the Greek word kryptos, which means “secret”. One of the earliest known uses of encryption occurred around 2000 BC where the Egyptians carved hieroglyphs or complex pictograms into monuments. The use of the inscriptions were used back in ancient Egypt for religious purposes, but also to record historical events, write documents of importance and document calculations such as the depth of the Nile River throughout the year.
One of the oldest encryption devices from back in the 7th century was a Spartan scytale. The scytale was a tool used by the Spartan military to send private messages during military campaigns. The sender or encryptor would write the message on a strip of parchment which was then wound around a staff. The message was unreadable until the receiver, who would have an identical staff, would rewrap the parchment unveiling the message. This may seem like a breeze to decrypt the message today, but back then most of the people could not read or write.
Modern day encryption has changed immensely since the early days. Today, we have computers that are capable of performing encryption for us. The use of computers is our primary form of cryptography since the human-readable encoding is too easy to decrypt. When backing up your data, encryption is important for security. Cloud encryption is a service offered by third party providers and encryption in use today is secure or “military-grade”. Most providers are able to encrypt data bfore it takes flight off-site.
Encryption is still as important today as it was thousands of years ago particularly when it comes to backing up your data, and especially if it will be stored in the cloud or with a third-party. Encryption is and will always be an ever-changing landscape.