CHAPTER TWO: A Computer-Security Conference

Ambrose Jerusalem finished the slides for his presentation before his flight landed at Heathrow. After a brief layover, he arrived in Naples in the early morning. Heavy with sleep, he took a taxi to the marina. He waited on a dim concrete pier, empty of passengers but occupied by stray dogs flopped over on their sides and stomachs. One cocked its ears and rolled its eyes after Ambrose as he passed; the others lay sunk in sleep or lethargy.

 

The protagonist in your novel Tetraktys is a cryptographer (among other things). What is cryptography?

Cryptography is about is the study of secret codes. It used to be the exclusive province of spies, diplomats, and the military. The advent of computers, though, has woven it into the fabric of our everyday lives. Cryptography today secures banking transactions, munitions, critical infrastructure, automobiles, etc., etc.—not to mention the activities of ordinary computer users. Every time a little lock appears in the corner of your web browser, as when you make an online purchase or log into your bank’s web site, cryptography is at work protecting your communications.