How can we keep our data and information secure at all times? Is encryption enough.
People say, “if I have a good encryption software, my data is completely secure”.
If only the world was that fair…
If you’re determined to protect your data and information from attacks then learning cryptography will be the answer.
Otherwise it would be better if you didn’t bother using encryption softwares in the hope that your data is secure.
From today I’m going to show you cryptographic techniques that will almost guarantee that your data is secure and safe from attacks.
By learning cryptography you will be able to understand how various encryption softwares work to keep your data and information secure.
Learn cryptography (online), the clever way and keep your data and information secure.
In this free online cryptography training course I will be guiding you from basics to advanced levels in a fun and easy to understand tutorials.
What the hell is cryptography? Everyone is always intimidated by this word when they first hear it.
Tell you what? This is not rocket science and you will be surprised when you realize you have been using cryptography everyday.
Before I can dive into what cryptography really is, I would like to define some terms that will be important in explaining cryptography.
- Encryption is the process of locking up information so that it is not accessible to unauthorized persons. This can be achieved by use of a data encryption software.
- The process of deciphering what has been locked using cryptography is called decryption.
- A key is a secret piece of information, probably like a password that is used during both encryption and decryption of data.
- A secure line refers to the communication channel that is immune to attacks from outside when information is being transmitted. There is no perfect communication medium.
- Public line is the communication medium used to send data for example Internet and is very prone to eavesdropping.
So is cryptography hard to learn? Learning cryptography is fun and exciting when you have the right resources.
There are some good cryptography books that will help you move with speed as you continue to study this art.
Start with basics of cryptography and then slowly advance to more demanding concepts with time.
What is cryptography?
Cryptography is simply the study of various methodologies that we can use to securely communicate and share information and also limiting access by third parties that could be tapping in the medium of communication.
In order to understand cryptography fully I will be discussing the following:
- Cryptography definition
- Types of cryptography.
- Cryptography ciphers
- Cryptography examples
- Cryptography algorithms
1) Cryptography definition
Cryptography is defined as the art of writing and solving codes for with the main aim of data and information security.
You use cryptography for privacy, protection and verification of data and information.
Most of the time you would like to keep private information private. This is hard to implement without using cryptographic techniques. This is called confidentiality of information.
Other times you would like to ensure that data that you store or send is not changed on the way. You need a way to make sure there are no alterations to the data that you send.
Through cryptography I can preserve the integrity of communications and thus trust the information.
There is also a problem of identifying the person you are communicating with. You are unable to explicitly tell you are communicating with person X.
With use of cryptography you can verify the authenticity of your communications and the person you are exchanging information with.
2) Cryptography types
Each of these cryptographic type is used for specific situation.
This uses one key for both encryption and decryption of the data. The key has to be shared secretly first before the communication can be trusted.
Both the send and recipient should have the same key for their communication to be successful
Public key cryptography
This cryptography uses a key pair. Private key and public key. For both the sender and recipient that have their pair of keys.
For instance if I want to send you a message I need to encrypt the data using your public key then I can send the information via insecure channel like the Internet.
When you receive the information you then decrypt it using your private key.
This is application of quantum mechanics to keep communications secure.
Quantum cryptography solves the problem of key distribution by use of laws of physics that have been proven to be unhackable.
Note that quantum cryptography is for only key distribution but encryption of data can be done with other techniques.
Elliptic curve cryptography
This is a public key encryption based on elliptic curve theory.
Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) is used as alternative for faster and efficient keys generation compared to the usual prime numbers product method.
This is an asymmetric algorithm. It uses both the public and private keys to encrypt data.
The great thing about rsa cryptography is that either public or private key can be used to encrypt a message and the opposite key can be used for decryption.
RSA cryptography ensures confidentiality of data, integrity of data is preserved and the element of authenticity is known.
This encryption hides data and information in pictures and images in a way that is only decryptable by human vision with the right image key.
3) Cryptography ciphers
Many techniques and encryption schemes have been developed over the years to secure data.
Check out this complete list of cryptographic ciphers used throughout history.
Some of the encryption techniques are not used in modern cryptography as they are insecure in this age of computers that can easily break them.
Basically these cryptographic algorithms are used to scramble up a message to make it unreadable.
Here are the most common cryptographic ciphers and techniques over the years.
- Caesar cipher.
- Vigenere cipher.
- Playfair cipher.
- Enigma machine.
- Polybius cipher.
- Transposition ciphers.
4) Cryptography examples
Here are three of the most common cryptographic examples with real life applications.
The most known cryptographic example is the communication between a website and the browser.
The use of SSL to encrypt data sent between the user and the server is achieved by use of cryptography. This keeps data secure in the very insecure internet medium.
This is a way of identifying the authenticity of persons and services and when sharing information. This is to help us know that we are communicating with person X and not person Y.
This is used as a way to proof that a transaction actually happened and the person authorized it.
This is common in e-commerce web applications and if not checked properly people and companies would deny doing transactions which would be a disaster to the e-commerce company.
5) Cryptography algorithms
Here are five of the most common cryptographic algorithms.
This one uses three keys each with 56 bits. So the total key length is 168 bits.
It’s commonly used in hardware encryption in various industries like financial services.
This is a symmetric algorithm that splits messages into blocks of 64 bits and then encrypts them individually.
This algorithm is very effective and speed is the best. It’s commonly used in e-commerce platforms to secure payments and also password management softwares.
This is a symmetric technique that only requires a single key. Usually the key can be as long as 256 bits. It’s very fast thus making it ideal for hardware and software environments.
AES(Advanced Encryption Standard)
This algorithm uses keys of the following lengths: 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits.
This encryption is impervious to all attacks, with the exception of brute force attacks.
This is a public key encryption algorithm that is used as the standard for data encryption over the Internet.
It’s an asymmetric algorithm as it uses a pair of keys for encryption and decryption of data.
To break this algorithm is very hard and would require a lot of time and computers with high processing power.
Happy learning cryptography (course) here at Kifanga