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Cryptography is an ancient science, but, with the rise of the information age, computers have brought it to a whole new level. Online privacy and national security both depend on encryption, and maintaining a strong standard is more important than ever.

The National Security Agency (NSA) maintains a fun and educational site for kids (1). Children can navigate through Cryptic Manor and solve puzzles of varying difficulty levels. Many common questions about cryptography are answered by RSA Security Inc. (2). These include applications, legal issues, and techniques. For a more comprehensive guide, try the Handbook of Applied Cryptography (3). The book is given in its entirety at this site, and it goes into great detail and explains many complex topics. Some commonly used cryptographic algorithms are briefly explained here (4). The material is relatively straightforward, and it is part of a larger resource called Cryptography A-2-Z. A research project in Norway about quantum cryptography is described at this page (5). In addition to information about the project, several research papers are also offered. The Center for Democracy and Technology maintains this site about cryptography and its role in government (6). US policy, legislation, and a history of court cases are documented that stress the importance of online security. An ambitious undertaking by Microsoft, intended to provide ultra-secure information exchange, is described in this article (7). Unveiled at the end of June 2002, the project already has many skeptics, despite working in conjunction with Intel and other major companies. The Journal of Cryptology (8), a quarterly publication of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, focuses on various research topics in information security.

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