Cryptographic methods are classified as a separate group of engineering and technical means of protecting information. However, they usually act as part of software or hardware protection, for example, an encryption key storage.
Cryptographic protection performs two functions :
- Encrypts data. Even if an attacker gains access to the information, he will only see the encrypted message, which requires a key to decrypt.
- Confirms the authenticity of the transmitted information and the identity of the sender using authentication mechanisms. If someone changes the file or tries to tamper with it, it will immediately become apparent.
Cryptographic security methods are also called mathematical because they work based on formulas.
A simplified description of how the cryptographic algorithm works to protect a message can be described as follows:
- The sender has a specific key that he keeps secret – a sequence of bits (zeros and ones). Such a key can provide not only data encryption but also authentication of the sender for whoever receives the message.
- The sender turns the message into a sequence of bits and transmits it to a cryptographic device (or application). In addition to the news, a secret key is given for entry.
- A cryptographic device takes a message and performs certain mathematical transformations on it. The output of these transformations is two sequences of bits – an encrypted message and its unique electronic signature confirming its authenticity.
- The message is sent to the receiving party along with a signature.
- The receiving party knows the key to decrypt the message and verify the signature. Transformations are carried out to solve the news and verify the signature.
If the key is incorrect or the data has been changed, the reverse conversion will not work – the data will be meaningless, and the signature will not match.
The only way to break the cryptographic protection to decrypt a message or forge a signature is to find out the key.
- Gain access to devices on which private keys are stored. Other means of protecting information against this are physical, software, hardware, and organizational.
- Find a key – try to decipher a message by pushing the keys one at a time until you get something meaningful.
Only the key needs to be kept secret. The secrecy of the algorithm itself is optional – the formulas for cryptographic transformations are widely known.
The longer the key, the more difficult it is to pick it up. But encrypting messages with a key that is too long is time-consuming and energy-consuming—the computer may not have enough computing power for this. Therefore, balance is essential in cryptographic protection – you need to create a system so that the key is not too long and not too short, optimal for encrypting a message.
Most crypto algorithms cannot be cracked using modern computers. Therefore, if you encrypt messages, you don’t have to worry about them being intercepted.
What You Need To Know About Non-Technical And Technical Information Security Measures
- Not all information security measures are related to IT – there are legal and organizational methods. Legal is the protection of the state, that is, laws that prohibit the theft of information. Corporate – security of the company, that is, internal rules that protect data from access by outsiders.
- The servers themselves and the information on them are protected by physical, software, hardware, and cryptographic methods of protection. These are technical means of protecting data.
- Physical methods are iron doors, locks, CCTV cameras, and alarms. They protect the iron from thieves and natural disasters.
- Software methods are, for example, security software such as antiviruses, firewalls, and password registries. They protect information from viruses and unauthorized access.
- Hardware methods do the same thing as software methods but are installed as separate devices rather than applications. Some protection options, such as jammers, can only be found in the form of machines.
- Cryptographic methods are devices and programs for encryption and authentication. They allow you to encrypt information using secret keys and confirm its authenticity.
- Various non-technical and technical information security measures should be used in combination, as they complement each other.
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