Report: Cryptography

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  Timeline 1970-2000 AD

1971 IBM's work on the Lucifer cipher and the work of the NSA lead to the U.S. Data Encryption Standard (= DES)

1976 Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman publish their book New Directions in Cryptography, playing with the idea of public key cryptography

1977/78 the RSA algorithm is developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard M. Adleman and is published

1984 Congress passes Comprehensive Crime Control Act

- The Hacker Quarterly is founded

1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is passed in the USA

- Electronic Communications Privacy Act

1987 Chicago prosecutors found Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force

1988 U.S. Secret Service covertly videotapes a hacker convention

1989 NuPrometheus League distributes Apple Computer software

1990 - IDEA, using a 128-bit key, is supposed to replace DES

- Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard publish their work on Quantum Cryptography

- Martin Luther King Day Crash strikes AT&T long-distance network nationwide

1991 PGP (= Pretty Good Privacy) is released as freeware on the Internet, soon becoming worldwide state of the art; its creator is Phil Zimmermann

- one of the first conferences for Computers, Freedom and Privacy takes place in San Francisco

- AT&T phone crash; New York City and various airports get affected

1993 the U.S. government announces to introduce the Clipper Chip, an idea that provokes many political discussions during the following years

1994 Ron Rivest releases another algorithm, the RC5, on the Internet

- the blowfish encryption algorithm, a 64-bit block cipher with a key-length up to 448 bits, is designed by Bruce Schneier

1990s work on quantum computer and quantum cryptography

- work on biometrics for authentication (finger prints, the iris, smells, etc.)

1996 France liberates its cryptography law: one now can use cryptography if registered

- OECD issues Cryptography Policy Guidelines; a paper calling for encryption exports-standards and unrestricted access to encryption products

1997 April European Commission issues Electronic Commerce Initiative, in favor of strong encryption

1997 June PGP 5.0 Freeware widely available for non-commercial use

1997 June 56-bit DES code cracked by a network of 14,000 computers

1997 August U.S. judge assesses encryption export regulations as violation of the First Amendment

1998 February foundation of Americans for Computer Privacy, a broad coalition in opposition to the U.S. cryptography policy

1998 March PGP announces plans to sell encryption products outside the USA

1998 April NSA issues a report about the risks of key recovery systems

1998 July DES code cracked in 56 hours by researchers in Silicon Valley

1998 October Finnish government agrees to unrestricted export of strong encryption

1999 January RSA Data Security, establishes worldwide distribution of encryption product outside the USA

- National Institute of Standards and Technologies announces that 56-bit DES is not safe compared to Triple DES

- 56-bit DES code is cracked in 22 hours and 15 minutes

1999 May 27 United Kingdom speaks out against key recovery

1999 Sept: the USA announce to stop the restriction of cryptography-exports

2000 as the German government wants to elaborate a cryptography-law, different organizations start a campaign against that law

- computer hackers do no longer only visit websites and change little details there but cause breakdowns of entire systems, producing big economic losses

for further information about the history of cryptography see:

for information about hacker's history see:

browse Report:
-3   Timeline 00 - 1600 AD
-2   Timeline 1600 - 1900 AD
-1   Timeline 1900-1970 AD
0   Timeline 1970-2000 AD
+1   Cryptography's Terms and background
+2   So what does cryptography mean?
+3   some essential definitions