I have just completed the Coursera Cryptography I course by Dan Boneh successfully, and received the statement of accomplishment!
Review of the Course
This course is really difficult for those with no computer science background. Although there is a section on number theory, most of the sections are new to me as my background is mostly undergraduate mathematics. (Though I did take a course IT1002 (from NUS) called Introduction to Programming, which is mostly on Java Programming.)
Especially the programming exercises are very tough for people with limited programming knowledge! However, note that the programming assignments are entirely optional.
This course covers the theory and practice of cryptographic systems. Topics included symmetric encryption, data integrity, public-key encryption, and key exchange. The course emphasized the correct use of these primitives.
Interesting Things about this Course
It is interesting to note how complex the field of cryptography is, and how smart hackers have become. It is possible to do a timing attack where even the time taken to respond to say a login, can be used by hackers to guess your password. Every logical operation in a computer takes time to execute, and the time can differ based on the input; with precise measurements of the time for each operation, an attacker can work backwards to the input. – Wikipedia
Needless to say, as our world becomes increasingly digital, cryptography becomes increasingly important.
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