Lift the veil on RSA with this RSA calculator

Encryption algorithms can be daunting to tackle, with all the math involved. However, once you start digging into them, you can break the calculations down into smaller steps and get a sense of what’s going on in encryption being the modern day magic that we take for granted. Today, [Henry Schmale] writes to us about his small contribution to making cryptography easier to understand – lifting the veil on the RSA asymmetric encryption technique through an RSA calculator.

With [Henry]calculator, you can only encrypt and decrypt a single integer, but you can view each individual step of an RSA calculation as you go. If you want to understand what makes RSA and other similar algorithms work, this site is a great place to start. Now, that’s not something you should be using when pitching your cipher implementations – as cryptographers say in unison, writing your own cipher from scratch is extremely inadvisable. [Henry] says this calculator could be useful for CTF players, for example, but it’s also undeniably an accessible learning tool for any hacker wanting to understand what’s going on under the hood of the libraries we use.

Cryptography is essential to protecting our freedoms these days, and it’s a joy to see people working to explain the algorithms used. The cryptographic tools we use every day are also very valuable targets for governments and intelligence agencies, ready to do anything to subvert the security of our communications. It is therefore even more important that we familiarize ourselves with the tools that protect us. After all, all it takes is a piece of paper to encrypt your communications with someone.

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