Understanding Basic Cryptography Fundamentals

In simple word, Cryptography is to change data structure or protect user’s data and information by transforming into an unknown format. Example: Converting understanding sentence into misunderstanding sentences.

Cryptography:

It is the method of converting ordinary clear text to cipher text.

Why?

  • To maintain data Confidentiality.
  • Integrity.
  • And data Availability.

How?

Mostly our data and information are maintained by using two types of encryption:

  • Symmetric Encryption
  • Asymmetry Encryption

(We will discuss these two encryption types later.)

Security Objective CIA and AA.

For keeping our data and information secure, we need to have the following security objective or basic principles:

Confidentiality: It refers to protection of our sensitive data and information from unauthorized person or parties.

By doing this:

-> It will maintain thesecrecy of data.

->It will hide true identity of data.

Integrity: It refers to maintaining the originality of our sensitive data and information from any unauthorized person to make sure modification is not done anywhere between the communication paths.

By doing this:

  • It will maintain the originality of data.

Availability: It refers to making data accessible to the authorized person whenever he or she needs. It must be available all the time:

These three above given objective can be called as Security Triad, but Authenticity and Accountability is also equally important in today’s world.

Authenticity: It is an important because a data must be:

  • Verified
  • Trusted
  • Genuine
  • Confidence in-validity

Also verifying the user who they say they are is also equally important for gaining trust.

Accountability: Accountability is important because it tracks all the activities which are performed by a user from the beginning of the time.

Cryptography Key Definitions

Plain Text/ Clear Text: It is a terminology that is used for pointing understandable sentence before the encryption or after decryption. Plain text give sense while reading.

Cipher Text: It is a terminology that is used for pointing ununderstandable sentence after encryption or before decryption. Cipher Text does not give any sense while reading.

Encryption: It is the process of converting plain or readable text to cipher or unreadable text by using encryption algorithm to protect or secure user data and information from any other unauthorized user or parties can be said as Encryption.

Types of Encryption:

i) Symmetric Encryption: It is the type of encryption where we use same secret key for encryption and decryption of the data. It is also called as Secret Key Cryptography.

Simple Diagram of Symmetric Encryption using same Secret Key
Symmetric Encryption using same Secret Key

ii) Asymmetric Encryption: It is the type of encryption where we use public key for encrypting the data and private key for the decryption the encrypted data. It is also called as Public Key Cryptography.

Simple Diagram of Asymmetric Encryption using different Secret Key
Asymmetric Encryption using Public and Private Key for Encryption and Decryption respectively

Key Length: For encryption, key length also plays great role. Having larger key size minimizes possibility to break our key of encrypted data by hackers or any unauthorized user.

Some Algorithm used for encryption are:

  • WEP – (Has the length of 40-bits)
  • DES – (Has the length between 56-bits and 256-bits. Depends on which version we are using)
  • 3DES – (Has the length of 128-bits or 192-bits)
  • AES – (Has the length of 128-bits, 192-bits, and 256-bits)
  • RSA – (Has the length of 1024-bits, 2048-bits, and 3072-bits)

Hashing: It refers to the process of taking huge amount of data and converting it into short information by the help of hashing function can be said as hashing. It takes data of any size and in return it gives us fixed hashed length. Typically, it gives 40 digits’ hexadecimal number.

Examples of hash algorithm are listed below:

  • MD2
  • MD5
  • GOST
  • RIPEMD
  • Whirlpool

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