Cryptography has been around for centuries, but it really took off with the rise of computers in the early 60s and 70s. Thanks to the mathematical advantages offered by computers, huge advances were made with the technology. The story of the Data Encryption Standard (DES for short) involves IBM, the NSA, and as always with their involvement, a great amount of suspicion.

The Data Encryption Standard was a catalyst for further innovation in cryptography. Although now outdated, the idea behind DES was to create a government standard of encryption for unclassified or sensitive material. Encryption was and still is an essential tool for states to keep their secrets secret.

As cryptography began to advance, early computing companies began to investigate its uses. IBM was one such company that began to invest heavily in cryptography, realising that as computers evolve, cryptographic techniques would become valuable assets for companies around the world. Through the 1960s, they worked with Lloyds Bank in providing the underlying techniques for automatic teller machines (ATMs) to be used in and around London.

To find out more about DES, how it works and why it’s important, read this guide.

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