Cryptology, also called cryptography and cryptanalysis, is a scientific discipline that focuses on the examination of secure communication.
At its core, cryptology relies on mathematics, specifically number theory, as well as the implementation of formulas and algorithms. These components establish the basis for both cryptography and cryptanalysis.
The primary goal of cryptology is to convert data in a manner that makes it challenging for unauthorized individuals to decipher its true meaning. This is accomplished through the utilization of intricate mathematical equations that are difficult to solve without meeting specific criteria. The level of complexity in solving these equations is known as intractability, and it serves as the foundation for cryptography.
Several significant equations are employed in cryptology, including the problem of discrete logarithm, the problem of integer factorization, and the problem of elliptic curve discrete logarithm.
It is important to note that much of the terminology used in cryptology originated during a period when securing written messages was the primary concern. Consequently, the original data, even if it appears as a seemingly incomprehensible system of 1s and 0s, is referred to as plaintext.
In cryptology, the key denotes the confidential information known solely to authorized users. The process of encryption involves transforming the plaintext using the key, resulting in a cipher or ciphertext. Decryption, on the other hand, is the inverse operation where the legitimate recipient retrieves the concealed information from the cipher using the key.