The proposed tool has been proved effective and user-friendly in a survey on students and application developers of IICT, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
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Keywords—Cryptography; Crypto-master; Learning Tool; DES; AES; RSA..
With the rapid growth and progress in communication systems, security aspects of Internet, e-commerce, smart cards, etc. has become the key issue in information and communication technology. Cryptographic algorithms are the core of such security systems, offering security services of data privacy, data integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation. For this reason, cryptography is now accepted in one of the important courses in ICT related undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Since complexities are the main theme of any cryptographic algorithms, it is difficult to understand ins and outs of the technique using traditional method (Paper based, white board or PowerPoint presentation) within the limited time. Computer aided instruction (CAI) technology  has been proved to play a strong role in improving class quality, students’ studying efficiency and effectiveness.
The papers [2-6] point out the improvements in the educational experience of students owed to the use of specialized software. There have been several works for teaching and learning cryptography. Literature  discusses two simple algorithms, DES and AES, using spreadsheets, while the other  uses computer algebra systems such as Maple. A number of individual tools developed [9-11], each of which presents a visualization tool for a certain cryptographic algorithm (Elliptic Curve cryptography, Rivest-Shamir-Adleman and Data Encryption Standard). The tools focus on calculations and various types of visualization on algorithm’s structure. Crypto-Tutor  emphasizes on gathering cryptography relevant information in a centralized place and performance benchmarking of the algorithms for several datasets. There are dozens of web site and several desktops based e-learning tools like CrypTool , Cryptography learning tool , which aim to educate on the importance and use of cryptography, and accompanying algorithms.
After reviewing all the solutions, we find that:The limitations of Solutions [9-11] are (i) the support variables of the algorithms are fixed ; 8 or 16 bit (ii) binary input or output; not support hexadecimal or decimal input-output (iii) fixed windows (iv) not allowing user to enter his input  (v) windows based; requires installation and minor setup (vi) no explanation or clear view for mathematical calculation and operations which is important for self-study (vii) not complete visualization of each algorithm. Crypto-Tutor  while offering a good presentation and some interactive features suffered when it comes to visualization and practice due to absence of complete picture of each algorithm with details explanation of each operation based on custom input. Most of the websites are collection of static text like Learn Cryptography  while other tools [13-14] offering a nice demonstration but offers very little information and explanation with outdated UI.
In this paper we present Crypto-master, an integrated web based platform for learning major cryptographic algorithms. The interface is very user friendly that helps even a beginner to understand the basics of the algorithm using step by step approach with sufficient visualization with examples. It facilitates the students to learn ins and outs of cryptography algorithms without any help of instructor. The researcher or crypto application developer can also use the tool for testing or validating their data using different cryptographic algorithm.
In the following, Section II presents our visualization tool; Section III provides a detailed study of our findings from a survey, and finally section IV depicts conclusion.
The Crypto-master is implemented as a web application with a web based GUI. The architecture of the web application consists of a user interface layer, a web framework layer. The interface layer built with JSP , Java Script  and bootstrap  whereas web framework layer with Java  and Struts . Crypto-master has three sections: Synopsis, Visualization and Evaluation as shown in Fig 1.The synopsis helps the user to learn algorithm history, uses and how it works. The visualization assists the user to learn the algorithm with visualization of step by step and perform self-study. Finally, in evaluation sections user puts the feedback that aid to evaluate the effectiveness of learning through Crypto-master.
We invited students and software application developer who did not take any cryptography related course for a self-study. Groups of students were asked to learn AES, DES and RSA algorithm using Crypto-master. Students’ feedback has been taken through predefined set of questions, which is stored in crypto-master database. Students also have the opportunity to write their comments. The questions and respective mark are listed in Table 1. Although there are 50 students but we got only 32 feedbacks. Table 2 summarizes our findings. We find that 15. 62% student strongly agreed where 68. 75% students agreed that Crypto-master is very useful for understanding methods of cryptographic algorithms. On the other hand, 9. 90% disagree or strongly disagree where 5. 73% was neutral.
Crypto-master: a computer aided learning tool for learning cryptography has been presented in this paper. It is web based which helps the user to use the tool at any time from any places in the globe. The proposed tool is interactive and user friendly for learning cryptography. The tool has been proved effective for students as well as for professional software application developers. More survey will be carried out to collect more user feedbacks for fine tuning the proposed tool.
Authors are grateful to Institute of Information and Communication Technology of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology for allowing us to conduct this research project using its all kinds of facilities.
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