Online course

An Introduction to Cryptography

Explore how code breakers and spies influenced cryptography and investigate the role it plays in modern secure communication.

This course is part of the program Cryptography, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in MSc Cyber Security. Find out more.

Investigate the security of encrypted data

Is it possible to prove the security of encrypted data? Will every algorithm fail given sufficient time or computing power?

On this course you will get an introduction to cryptography and cryptanalysis. From ancient examples of secret messages and the spies that cracked them to modern cryptographic applications, you will have the opportunity to explore the foundations of data security. During the course you will also get an opportunity to try encrypting data yourself by completing a cryptography and cryptanalysis challenge.

What topics will you cover?

  • Mathematical concepts underpinning cryptography
  • Classical cryptography and historical ciphers
  • Basics of cryptanalysis
  • Random number generation
  • Hashing

When would you like to start?

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the concepts used in early substitution and translation ciphers
  • Apply cryptanalysis methods to simple ciphers
  • Assess simple cryptographic methods from a practical and theoretical viewpoint
  • Describe the concepts of entropy, pseudorandomness and unicity
  • Demonstrate the use of hashing, salt and nonces in a variety of applications

Who is the course for?

The Institute of Coding supported the development of this course in response to consultation with industry representatives from the healthcare, manufacturing and automotive sectors.

This course is for people who want to understand more about the way cryptography keeps our communications safe, either out of curiosity or to prepare for advanced study of the topic.

Who will you learn with?

James Shuttleworth

James is a Principal Lecturer at Coventry University and has worked in academia for 18 years, teaching and researching in the areas of operating systems, cyber security and image analysis.

Derrick Newton

Derrick is a Lecturer at Coventry University. He worked for 18 years in audit and IT consultancy, completed his PhD and joined Coventry in 2012. He teaches cyber security, cryptography and IT law.

Who developed the course?

Coventry secured a gold rating in the UK government’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is the country’s top modern university in the Guardian University Guide 2018.

Supporters

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Join this course

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  • Access to this course for 4 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

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  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Advance your career with a degree

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from Coventry University

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program Cryptography, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in MSc Cyber Security.