This Linux Journal article provides an introductory
at encryption. "The mathematical qualities that PKE relies
on have a beautiful symmetry to them, and PKE rocked the worlds of computer
science and encryption when it appeared in the 1970s. Government scientists
in Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping and phone-tapping center later claimed that
they had invented the technique some years earlier, but kept it secret!
Indeed, they did uncover some of the theory, but it was clear that the
spies of GCHQ had not grasped its practical significance.
to post comments)