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An Introduction to Cryptography

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

15,581 enrolled on this course

An Introduction to Cryptography
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours
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?

  • The mathematical concepts underpinning cryptography
  • Classical cryptography and historical ciphers
  • The basics of cryptanalysis
  • Random number generation
  • Hashing

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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.

Please note that the individuals detailed in the ‘Who will you learn with?’ section below, are current staff members and may be subject to change.

Who will you learn with?

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.

Associate Lecturer, MSc Cybersecurity Coventry University Online

Deputy Course Director, Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity Coventry University

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.

Dr. Christo Panchev is a Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security at Coventry University with more than 20 years experience in industry and higher education, research and teaching in A.I. and Cyber Security.

Who developed the course?

Coventry University

Coventry secured gold in the UK Government’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is University of the Year for Student Experience in The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

  • Established

    1992
  • Location

    Coventry

Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding is a family of learners, businesses and educators creating a new way to develop the digital skills needed at work and beyond.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Advance your career with a degree

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!

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from Coventry University
This course is part of the program Cryptography, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in MSc Cyber Security.

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