In VoIP Security it seems we owe a double debt to Claude Shannon.Â Shannon is probably best known for the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem, which underlies the whole of digital sampling of analog signals.Â The elevator version of this idea is that when you sample something into digital form, you have to do this at least twice the frequency of the highest frequency that you want to reproduce.Â This is why CDs only have an audible frequency range of 22kHz (due to the 44 kHz sampling rate), which comfortably covers the range of frequencies that I can now hear, although perhaps not my childrensâ€™.Â
But Claude Shannon also coined the term perfect secrecy, as he did a lot of work related to cryptography.Â In a nutshell, perfect secrecy means that you have no more information about the plaintext after seeing the ciphered version than you did before seeing it, i.e. itâ€™s perfectly secret if the ciphered text gives you no clues and all plaintexts are equally probable.Â I would highly recommend reading Shannonâ€™s biographyÂ at the Wikipedia site.
Actually, reading this page made me think about Richard Feynmann (also Â biogâ€™ed at Wikipedia), one of my great heroes.Â
The two men were about the same age: Shannon combined a serious academic career with juggling, unicycling and with roulette weekends in Las Vegas;Â Feynmann, a brilliant physicist and educator, had hobbies of bongo drumming, painting and safe cracking.Â I wonder if the two of them ever met?