Called Fiat Cryptography, the system automatically generates—and simultaneously verifies—optimized cryptographic algorithms for all hardware platforms, a process previously done by hand. In a paper presented in May at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, the researchers laid out the nuts and bolts of their system so anyone can implement it.
And the process is already being used by Google to secure communication by its Chrome web browser. When testing their system, the researchers found its code could match the performance of the best handwritten code, only the system's code could be generated much faster. When scrambling data in online communication, algorithms are used to perform operations on very large numbers. Because there can be so many variables in the process—a variety of mathematical techniques and chip architectures, to name a few—experts are deployed to write and rewrite those algorithms.
Cyber Attacks Cryptographic Attacks
Not only can that process produce less-than-optimal algorithm performance, it can create software bugs that have to be eventually caught and squashed. That adds development costs.
Fiat Cryptography not only automates algorithm writing, but also verifies the code is running accurately. The MIT system is used to create cryptographic primitives—basic algorithms for building cryptographic protocols for communication—for Google's BoringSSL open-source library, which is used to generate keys and certificates that encrypt and decrypt data for Chrome, Android and other apps.
As Fiat Cryptography gains adherents, it has the potential to bring verified cryptography into the mainstream, too. ISACA's von Roessing believes that it's only a matter of time before Fiat Cryptography goes mainstream because of the significant process improvement it will bring. In addition to removing human error from cryptographic algorithms and producing verified code, the researchers' system can improve the performance of how that code runs.
For example, a popular algorithm used to create the public and private keys deployed to provide secure communication channels between a browser and server uses elliptical curve technology. ECC essentially creates keys of various sizes by randomly choosing points on a curved line on a graph. The numbers created for the keys can be large, so large that most chips need to use multiple registers to store the bits that make up the keys.
As we all know, the heart of cryptographic network communication is the public key cryptography PKI , which is used to encrypt the TCPIP communication between two network end points.
PKI uses various encryption algorithms to ensure data security. The whole idea behind encryption is to make it so difficult that it becomes a time consuming task to try out all the possible keys. For example, if a message is encrypted using an 8bit key, it means that different combinations of the key need to be tried, to decrypt the data. Any computer can perform this task in less than a second. However if the key length is extended to 32, it would need combinations to be tried, needing few seconds. Extending this trick further, a bit key would result into a large number of combinations, thus needing literally many years even for a powerful computer to crack it.
Enhancement in data security using cryptography and compression - IEEE Conference Publication
While the key length is an important factor, the mathematical algorithm used for processing encryption and decryption is also equally important. The algorithm is supposed to quickly perform the action, while maintaining necessary data and key security. There are two types of keys, symmetric and asymmetric. In case of symmetric key type, only one key is used for encryption and decryption, while in case of asymmetric keys there is a set of two different keys, which are complimentary to each other.
Please refer to Figure 1. It is important to understand what cryptography means in the internet world. They perform the job of encrypting and decrypting data over the wire, so as to enable users put their personal information, credit card numbers on the website, to do online purchase. In order for a person to use internet for online transactions, the browser is not supposed to trust the website and web server by default.
Computer Network | Cryptography Introduction
There are two demands here, first being that the data must be encrypted for security reasons, and the second being that the website is hosted by a legitimate party. The latter is important because website may be hosted by an attacker to steal the personal information. This SSL certificate is provided or signed by a trusted certification authority such as Verisign or Thawte, who ensures that the consumer of SSL certificate is a genuine party, will adhere to security standards and hence is eligible to obtain a certificate and install it on their servers. The SSL certificate is tied to the web domain name such as abcd.
To understand security concerns in the cryptography world, we need to first study how certificates work. Digital certificates using asymmetric PKI are composed of two keys, a public key and a private key. The public key is shipped along with the browsers, and this applies to all browsers which support SSL protocol. In order to support multiple certificate authority vendors, browsers are equipped with their public keys, as well as various ciphers too, which are nothing but the encryption and decryption algorithms.
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Each public key has its own expiration date and needs to be updated once it is close to expiration. When we install a digital certificate on a web server for a website URL, we are essentially installing the private key which is specifically created by the trusted certification providing authority.
Now let's see how this mechanism works technically at a high level in case of a browser. As shown in Figure 2. At this point, the browser checks validity and authenticity of the certificate by using the set of public keys on it. Upon finding it to be acceptable, browser sends back a digitally signed response to server to initiate the further secure communication. If the server certificate cannot be verified for authenticity, the browser alerts the user about this situation. It's important to note that while SSL helps achieve security, there is a payback in terms of communication performance.
Since the TCPIP communication by default, does not provide any security as such, adding encryption layer on top of existing protocol frame can result into a bigger TCP packet sizes. It is a common observation that the network administrators invest time and money to design security around the applications, servers and other infrastructure components, but tend to take cryptographic security less seriously.
Before we talk about various attacks, let's understand first that cryptography is all about key, the data, and the encryption-decryption of the data using key. Few cryptographic attacks try to decipher the key, while the others try to steal data on the wire by performing some advanced decryption. Let's take a look at few common attacks on cryptography. In this type, the attacker intrudes into the network and establishes a successful man-in-the-middle connection.
As we learnt earlier, the server is supposed to send its digital certificate to browser as a part of SSL handshake process. Attacker grabs this certificate, and notes down various details such as domain name, expiration date, cipher strength etc. Attacker then creates his own certificate, also called as a self-signed certificate, containing the same information as that of the captured certificate. The conference covers all aspects of securing transactions and systems. Original works focusing on both fundamental and applied real-world deployments on all aspects surrounding commerce security are solicited.
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Submissions need not be exclusively concerned with cryptography. Systems security and interdisciplinary works are particularly encouraged. The goal of the conference is to bring security and cryptography researchers and practitioners together with economists, bankers, implementers and policy-makers. Intimate and colourful by tradition, the FC program features invited talks, academic presentations, technical demonstrations and panel discussions. In addition, several workshops will be held in conjunction with the FC conference.