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Real World Applications:
Cryptography shows itself in many forms. Sometimes useful, sometimes not, the process of encoding messages can be an interesting field of study. Right.
What you're probably wondering is how it actually applies to life.
There are three main areas that encryption has applications. The third, privacy, could be considered the reason for the other two. This ignores the actual uses of cryptographic technologies, thus we chose to separate the subjects.
Military -- Communications, defenses against information warfare
Covert Operations -- A subset of military practices. Involves communication and intelligence applications during infiltration practices. Think Bond.
Privacy -- Far more mundane. Personal applications. Think personal computer, home use. We'd like to claim that we put this third because we're into more exciting areas. Truthfully it's last because it leads into the rest of the site.