What is a Cryptanalyst?

Have you ever wondered how credit cards, email, online banking, automatic teller machines (ATM), and other online systems are kept secure?

That's the work of a cryptanalyst! A cryptanalyst develops mathematical methods and codes that protect data from computer hackers. This involves the decryption of a cipher text into plain text in order to transmit a message over insecure channels.

What does a Cryptanalyst do?

A cryptanalyst understands how to decipher secret codes and write codes that cannot be cracked by hackers. These individuals protect the privacy of organizations by supervising the online security of data systems. They also assess and decode secret messages and coding systems for government agencies, police agencies, and the military.

Government agencies and companies hire cryptanalysts to ensure their networks are secure, and that sensitive data transmitted through their computer networks are encrypted. This ensures that organizations and their clients' sensitive data cannot be accessed by hackers.

A cryptanalyst working on a computer and developing codes that protect data from computer hackers.

Shopping, online banking and the use of cell phones are the norm in today's world. Cryptanalysts can specialize in ensuring credit cards, email, online banking, automatic teller machines (ATM), and other online systems are secure. Cryptanalysts are also kept busy developing technology to protect communication lines like cell phones and wireless networks from hackers. Ciphers are used to protect bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

The majority of encryption codes rely on computational number theories and number schemes. Cryptanalysts are usually mathematical experts, and can create, set-up, and evaluate algorithms designed to solve number theory problems. If a hacker deciphers a code, it is the cryptanalyst's responsibility to develop new methods for encrypting data as well as to encode messages to conceal sensitive data.

A. Cryptography is the science and art of designing algorithms for secret communication
B. Cryptanalysis is the study of "breaking" cryptographic designs
C. Cryptology = A + B

Are you suited to be a cryptanalyst?

Cryptanalysts have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

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What is the workplace of a Cryptanalyst like?

Cryptanalysts are employed by scientific institutions, bank and trust companies, financial institutions, educational institutions, insurance companies, computer design firms, science and engineering firms, special services and intelligence agencies, and government agencies at the federal, state, and municipal level. Many cryptanalysts are also employed by engineering companies, consulting firms, and telecommunications firms.