A TOOL FOR PRACTICING ABOUT CLASSIC CRYPTOGRAPHIC ALGORITHMS INTEGRATED IN VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

A. Caballero, P. López, F. Pereñíguez

Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (SPAIN)
Classic cryptographic techniques and algorithms are typically taught in all basic courses of cybersecurity because they are the foundations of modern cryptographic techniques used to implement symmetric encryption or hashing algorithms. The correct comprehension of the operation of these algorithms can be facilitated if students get familiar with classical encryption algorithms.

This paper shows a tool that has been specially conceived for practicing with classic cryptographic algorithms. The main functionalities of this tool rely on its ability to graphically illustrate the operation of the algorithms in a step-by-step way accompanied with detailed explanations about the basis of the algorithms are offered. The proposed tool also evaluates the most relevant metrics related to the performance of the classical algorithms such as consumed time, entropy, strength or weakness, among others. Furthermore, a set of predefined illustrative examples are included in order to allow the student compare several configurations taking into account these metrics. These examples could be used to discuss the robustness of each algorithm against cryptanalytic attacks, like those based on language statistics. Nevertheless, the tool also allows teachers or students to define new examples in order to study the internal details of each algorithm. The tool has been deployed as a web-based system and integrated in a virtual learning environment in order to enhance the usefulness and effectivity when assisting the teaching-learning process.