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Modern encryption technologies and their application

Encryption Technologies Ensure Data Privacy

Nathan Collier
by Nathan Collier — 3 weeks ago in Security 3 min. read
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Cryptography in digital networking is a vital tool for protecting sensitive information. It shapes means of countering the illegal copying of intellectual property data.

Various encryption algorithms are used in the finance and business networks to protect against competitive intelligence.

All links and servers in such systems are secured, i.e., they are processed according to one or another encryption algorithm.

Interestingly, modern security software like Avira, Bitdefender, Norton has built-in cryptography components.

They ensure mandatory transmitting encryption of communication links at the network level. However, how do they work? Let’s find out!

Cryptography Objectives

One may consider cryptography as an essential tool for securing confidential data from:

  • Fraudulent activity.
  • Intentional violation of integrity or full erasing.
  • Unauthorized reading.
  • Unwanted copying.

The fundamental requirement for cryptographic protection is the principle of its equal strength.

The concept is, if the security can be divided into elements, then each piece should be equally hacking resistant.
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Principles of Use

There are several primary principles for applying cryptographic methods:

  • Encryption algorithms allow you to safely send data even if this happens in an unsafe environment (the Internet and cloud encryption strategies, as an example).
  • Encryption algorithms are used to protect files containing sensitive information to minimize the possibility of unauthorized access.
  • Encoding technologies are used not only to guarantee privacy but also to safeguard data integrity.
  • Cryptography is a means of verifying the credibility of data and sources (we are talking about digital signatures and certificates).
  • Algorithms, file formats, and key sizes may be freely available; however, the encryption method’s keys remain secret.

Cryptographic algorithms have made it possible to create a comprehensive information security system in large networks and information databases.

The significant reason is that they are grounded in the public key distribution. The attribute of public-key cryptosystems is that they are built based on asymmetric encryption algorithms.

This way, they use a much smaller number of keys for the exact number of users than a public key cryptosystem requires.

Today, there are many ready-made encryption algorithms with high cryptographic strength.

The encryptor has to generate its unique key to add the necessary cryptographic qualities to the data. Both encryption and decryption stages require using this key.

Encryption algorithms

Nowadays, numerous encryption algorithms have significant resistance to cryptanalysis (cryptographic strength). Three are three groups of encryption designs:

  • Hash function algorithms.
  • Asymmetric algorithms.
  • Symmetric algorithms.

Hashing is transforming an initial information array of random length into a fixed-length bit string.

There are many hash-function algorithms with different features like cryptographic strength, bit depth, computational complexity, etc.

Asymmetric systems are also named public-key cryptosystems. This is a data encryption method when the public key is shared over an open channel being not encrypted and used to verify an electronic signature and encrypt data.

A second private key is necessary to use to decrypt and create an electronic signature.

Symmetric encryption requires using an identical key for both encryption and decryption.

Two main requirements are applied to symmetric algorithms: the complete loss of all statistical regularities in the encryption object and missing linearity.
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Certificates and their practical application

Certificates are generally used to exchange encrypted data over large networks. A public-key cryptosystem fixes the problem of sharing private keys between participants in a secure exchange.

However, it does not solve the problem of trusting public keys. There is a potential for an attacker to replace the public key and hijack the information encrypted with this key. The next action of the hacker will be decoding data using its own secret key

The idea of a certificate is to have a trusted third party. It involves two participants giving this actor information for safekeeping.

It is assumed that there are few such third parties, and all other users are aware of their public keys beforehand. Thus, a fraud of a third party public key is easily detected.

Certificate structure

The list of required and optional demands for a certificate is defined by the standards for its format (for example, PKCS12/PFX or DER). Usually, a certificate includes the following tags:

  • certificate duration (start and expiration date);
  • the name of its owner
  • information about the used encryption methods;
  • the number of public keys of the certificate owner;
  • name of certification authority;
  • the serial number of the certificate assigned by the certification authority;
  • a digital signature produced under a secret key method and backed by the authority granted by the owner

Certificate verification

The determination of the trust level to any user certificate usually derives from the certificate chain.

Moreover, its primary component is the certificate of the certification authority maintained in the user’s secure personal certificate storage.

The certificate chain verification procedure checks the link between the certificate owner’s name and its public key.

It assumes that all valid chains start with certificates granted by a single trusted certification authority.

Specific distribution and storage methods must be applied to ensure full trust in the public key of such a certificate.

A public-key cryptographic structure using certificates enables the realization of genuinely secure systems using advanced technologies and data transmission networks.

Standardization in this sphere lets various applications interact using a single public key infrastructure.

Nathan Collier

I started out as a journalist, one of the first ones to ever write about cybersecurity. I’ve been writing about antiviruses for his entire life and working with some of the biggest names, helping them bring their products closer to the average users. Education: The University of Georgia, Print, Broadcast and Electronic Journalism. Working experience: 7 years in Georgia local news. Hobby: Baseball, cyber security

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