Timeline of cryptography

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Below is a timeline of notable events related to cryptography.


1 - 1799 CE[edit]


1900 - 1949[edit]

1950 - 1999[edit]

  • 1951 - U.S. National Security Agency founded. KL-7 rotor machine introduced sometime thereafter.
  • 1957 - First production order for KW-26 electronic encryption system.
  • 1964 - David Kahn's The Codebreakers is published.
  • August 1964 - Gulf of Tonkin Incident leads U.S. into Vietnam War, possibly due to misinterpretation of signals intelligence by NSA.
  • 1968 - John Anthony Walker walks into the Soviet Union's embassy in Washington and sells information on KL-7 cipher machine. The Walker spy ring operates until 1985.
  • 1969 - The first hosts of ARPANET, Internet's ancestor, are connected.
  • 1970 - Using quantum states to encode information is first proposed: Stephen Wiesner invents conjugate coding and applies it to design “money physically impossible to counterfeit” (still technologically unfeasible today).
  • 1974? - Horst Feistel develops Feistel network block cipher design.
  • 1976 - The Data Encryption Standard published as an official Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for the United States.
  • 1976 - Diffie and Hellman publish New Directions in Cryptography.
  • 1977- RSA public key encryption invented.
  • 1981 - Richard Feynman proposed quantum computers. The main application he had in mind was the simulation of quantum systems, but he also mentioned the possibility of solving other problems.
  • 1984 - Based on Stephen Wiesner's idea from 1970s, Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard design the first quantum cryptography protocol, BB84.
  • 1985 - Walker spy ring uncovered. Remaining KL-7's withdrawn from service.
  • 1986 - After an increasing number of break-ins to government and corporate computers, United States Congress passes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it a crime to break into computer systems. The law, however, does not cover juveniles.
  • 1988 - First optical chip developed, it uses light instead of electricity to increase processing speed.
  • 1989 - Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau built the prototype system which became the World Wide Web at CERN.
  • 1989 - Quantum cryptography experimentally demonstrated in a proof-of-the-principle experiment by Charles Bennett et al.
  • 1991 - Phil Zimmermann releases the public key encryption program PGP along with its source code, which quickly appears on the Internet.
  • 1992 - Release of the movie Sneakers, in which security experts are blackmailed into stealing a universal decoder for encryption systems.
  • 1994 - Bruce Schneier's Applied Cryptography is published.
  • 1994 - Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol released by Netscape.
  • 1994 - Peter Shor devises an algorithm which lets quantum computers determine the factorization of large integers quickly. This is the first interesting problem for which quantum computers promise a significant speed-up, and it therefore generates a lot of interest in quantum computers.
  • 1994 - DNA computing proof of concept on toy travelling salesman problem; a method for input/output still to be determined.
  • 1994 - Russian crackers siphon $10 million from Citibank and transfer the money to bank accounts around the world. Vladimir Levin, the 30-year-old ringleader, uses his work laptop after hours to transfer the funds to accounts in Finland and Israel. Levin stands trial in the United States and is sentenced to three years in prison. Authorities recover all but $400,000 of the stolen money.
  • 1994 - Formerly proprietary, but un-patented, RC4 cipher algorithm is published on the Internet.
  • 1994 - First RSA Factoring Challenge from 1977 is decrypted as The Magic Words are Squeamish Ossifrage.
  • 1995 - NSA publishes the SHA1 hash algorithm as part of its Digital Signature Standard.
  • July 1997 - OpenPGP specification (RFC 2440) released
  • 1997 - Ciphersaber, an encryption system based on RC4 that is simple enough to be reconstructed from memory, is published on Usenet.
  • October 1998 - Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) becomes law in U.S., criminalizing production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent technical measures taken to protect copyright.
  • October 1999 - DeCSS, a computer program capable of decrypting content on a DVD, is published on the Internet.

2000 and beyond[edit]

  • January 14, 2000 - U.S. Government announce restrictions on export of cryptography are relaxed (although not removed). This allows many US companies to stop the long running process of having to create US and international copies of their software.
  • March 2000 - President of the United States Bill Clinton says he doesn't use e-mail to communicate with his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, at college because he doesn't think the medium is secure.
  • September 6, 2000 - RSA Security Inc. released their RSA algorithm into the public domain, a few days in advance of their U.S. Patent 4,405,829 expiring. Following the relaxation of the U.S. government export restrictions, this removed one of the last barriers to the worldwide distribution of much software based on cryptographic systems
  • 2000 - UK Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act requires anyone to supply their cryptographic key to a duly authorized person on request
  • 2001 - Belgian Rijndael algorithm selected as the U.S. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) after a five year public search process by National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • 2001 - Scott Fluhrer, Itsik Mantin and Adi Shamir publish an attack on WiFi's Wired Equivalent Privacy security layer
  • September 11, 2001 - U.S. response to terrorist attacks hampered by lack of secure communications
  • November 2001 - Microsoft and its allies vow to end "full disclosure" of security vulnerabilities by replacing it with "responsible" disclosure guidelines
  • 2002 - NESSIE project releases final report / selections
  • August 2002, PGP Corporation formed, purchasing assets from NAI.
  • 2003 - CRYPTREC project releases 2003 report / recommendations
  • 2004 - The hash MD5 is shown to be vulnerable to practical collision attack
  • 2004 - The first commercial quantum cryptography system becomes available from id Quantique.
  • 2005 - Potential for attacks on SHA1 demonstrated
  • 2005 - Agents from the U.S. FBI demonstrate their ability to crack WEP using publicly available tools
  • May 1, 2007 - Users swamp Digg.com with copies of a 128-bit key to the AACS system used to protect HD DVD and Blu-ray video discs. The user revolt was a response to Digg's decision, subsequently reversed, to remove the keys, per demands from the motion picture industry that cited the U.S. DMCA anti-circumvention provisions.
  • November 2, 2007 -- NIST hash function competition announced.
  • 2010 - The master key for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and the private signing key for the Sony PlayStation 3 game console are recovered and published using separate cryptoanalytic attacks. PGP Corp. is acquired by Symantec.
  • 2012 - NIST selects the Keccak algorithm as the winner of its SHA-3 hash function competition.
  • 2015 - Year by which NIST suggests that 80-bit keys be phased out.

See also[edit]