According to the author, the material presented as a reference paper is intended define the terms and the concepts that make up basic cryptographic schemes and to provide guidance comparing current schemes and providing real examples. The scope of this material does not include computerized crypto schemes, any discussion about substitution and transposition ciphers, cryptoanalysis, history or discussion about attacks or broken schemes. A bibliography is provided at the end of the material followed by an appendix of mathematical notes.
The material discusses: -the purpose of cryptography - types of algorithms -trust models and applications of the algorithms.
Type of Material:
The material is reference material, with text and diagrams.
This could be used as additional reading material in a course.
A compuiter with a browser and connection to the Internet. A printer would be useful but not necessary.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
After reading this material the student should be able to identify and explain the basic cryptographic schemes and be able to make an intelligent choice of which scheme might best suit a particular purpose. Compares major encryption techniques.
Target Student Population:
University student at the under grad or graduate level at the entry level of knowledge of cryptology. Program areas may include Computer/network security, mathematics, number theory and computer engineering among others. Includes Mathematics students, Engineering students at the graduate level.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Useful would be knowlege of the operation of protocols, and a higher mathematical background.
The material is clearly presented and liberally linked to more in depth information about concepts presented and associated RFCs. Graphical illustrations and tables help to present the information in a manner compatible to visual learning. At the time of review, the material had been updated to September 2005 and covered the authentication scheme common to Microsoft Server 2003 shops.
Well written and structured.
Comprehensive coverage of topic. The extensive use of hyperlinks really extends the reach of the material in a very positive way. (Most of these links appear to be active.)
This site needs an audit of the links. A number of them are broken. Its applications would be rather limited.
Somewhat out of date (e.g., "TABLE 1. Minimum Key Lengths for Symmetric Ciphers"--this information is 10 years old and much has changed.) However, it is clear that the author has updated some of the material recently.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This is a well presented introduction, that a student could confidently handle.
It is reference material and therefore does not test students' knowledge or provide exercises to support learning. The author's website has other articles that could complement this material and stimulate further discussion.
Could be used as a significant resource or reference for computer security course.
It is reference material and therefore does not test students' knowledge nor provide exercises to support learning.
A bit of interactivity would be nice. Better graphic design could make the material more appealing. (Design is somewhat bland--ala www of 1998).
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This material is very straight forward with a table of contents should the viewer wish to access information out of sequence. Well written. The material is well organized and reasonably complete. Contents and list of figures and tables at the beginning provides for easy navigation to relevant sections.
An improvement would be to offer formats of this paper more conducive to saving and printing. If a student on dial up and has graphics suppressed, there is no exploitation of ALT tags to alert the viewer to the subject matter of the graphics. Highly technical. Again, a more current design could add to appeal and ease of use.
Other Issues and Comments:
Although this material was a fast download at LAN speed, it may take up to a minute and a half on 56K dial up.
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