Cryptography (from Greekκρύπτω, "to hide, to conceal, to obscure", and γράφω, "to etch, to inscribe, to write down") is, traditionally, the study of means of converting information from its normal, comprehensible form into an incomprehensible format, rendering it unreadable without secret knowledge — the art of encryption. Cryptography is often used to replace or in combination with steganography. In the past, cryptography helped ensure secrecy in important communications, such as those of spies, military leaders, and diplomats. In recent decades, the field of cryptography has expanded its remit in two ways. Firstly, it provides mechanisms for more than just keeping secrets: schemes like digital signatures and digital cash, for example. Secondly, cryptography has come to be in widespread use by many civilians who do not have extraordinary needs for secrecy, although typically it is transparently built into the infrastructure for computing and telecommunications, and users are not aware of it.