Reducing the complexity of understanding cryptology using CrypTool

Sibylle Hick, Bernhard Esslinger and Arno Wacker

ABSTRACT

Cryptography and cryptanalysis are characterized by a great number of algorithms, parameters, and protocols where at least some of them can be considered as complex mathematical structures. As cryptography is a crucial part for securing many modern applications, it is important on the one hand that developers understand what are efficient and correct ways to implement those security mechanisms. On the other hand, users of such mechanisms need to get a better understanding why and how to apply them properly. In this paper electronic learning such as self-regulated learning, computer-based trainings, and learning by doing are presented with the help of a modern e-learning program – CrypTool (CT) – which supports both afore described approaches for developers and users. For users who are interested in cryptography, CT provides an easy way to experiment with cryptographic algorithms and protocols by augmenting complex algorithms with visualizations and context-related explanations. This paper gives an overview how to implement and apply cryptographic concepts and how to teach them. Additionally, this paper fortifies these claims with an evaluation using the feedback from classes where CT was used to teach cryptographic algorithms.

Full Paper in PDF Document

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