Cryptography is an ancient practice, dating back thousands of years. Substitution and shift ciphers are amongst the earliest examples of cryptographic algorithms. Roman general, Julius Caesar, used a three-shift cipher over two-thousand years ago to protect military communications, however, rotation schemes or shift-ciphers are considered to be very weak.
In 1553, Giovan Battista Bellaso published the original method for the Vigenère cipher in his book La cifra del, at the time, this was considered a very secure cipher, despite the fact that the Vigenère cipher is essentially build upon the principle that Caesar used 1500 years prior.
The introduction of computers to the domain of cryptography has made it even easier to break already weak substitution, shift and rotation ciphers.
Modern day cryptography using computers has seen the birth of numerous encryption algorithms of varying strengths. Some modern and notable algorithms include: DES, TripleDES, Serpent, Twofish, Blowfish, AES and RSA.
AES encryption tool utilising a 256-bit key.