Paarth Madan

A medium to iterate on my own thoughts.


Posted at — Apr 24, 2021

As I was learning about cryptography and its usage in network security, I developed an interesting insight about open and honest communication.

Cryptography is the study of secure communication between two parties.

In the textbook we use, and often in many branches of computer science, the representative people in most examples happen to be Alice and Bob.

The lecturer presented the following slide about simple substitution ciphers:


In this example, Alice wants to send Bob a message:

“bob. i love you. alice”

When encrypted (using a very simple strategy), the message becomes:

“nkn. s gktc wky. mgsbc”

I wondered, then, how much of the communication I participate in is obfuscated in some way like this.

I have conversations with other humans all the time.

How much of it is really the raw truth? How much of it is encrypted in some way?

I think back to my own conversations and realize the pitfalls of not speaking honestly; Sugar-coating, lessening blows, avoiding hard, real and honest conversations.

Obfuscating messages from the heart by encrypting them through the mind.

I’ve learned, personally, this is a horrible strategy.

If you feel something strongly, you should make it known. It’s debilitating knowing you presented an alternate depiction of your feelings. The downfall, of course, is that you have to live with that alternate version. It can become particularly trapping if the version you present contradicts the truth.

Reminder: If the goal is to communicate securely with another person, make sure you don’t treat them as the adversary. Ideally, they receive the plaintext, not the ciphertext.

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