There are a lot of techniques used for ethical hacking and one of the most important one is cryptography. With this technique you can test whether the encryption algorithms used in your system are secure enough.
What is Cryptography?
Cryptography is actually a communication technique using decryption and ciphers to be able to decode and encode information. This technique is used to decrypt or encrypt data that you have in the system with mathematical equation as the key. You can implement this technique inside your system to secure communication, emails and when sharing files.
By implementing this method, you will be able to have stronger data security since it can protect you from unlawful access as only authorized users are allowed to access the data. Furthermore, you can also use this method for authentication to verify the identities of the receiver and the senders.
However, it does not mean that the algorithm used cannot be broken. Furthermore, the key can also be stolen. That is why, ethical hacking is done to test whether the algorithm that you implement can be broken by real hackers or not.
Common Cryptography Types Used in Various Systems
In this cryptography type the message will be change into unreadable text in string format. The purpose of this method is actually to verify the content of the message and not to hide the message.
This type is commonly used method in protecting large size file or software during transmission. Usually, it is used on downloadable files or software to verify the hash so the download can be completed.
Right now, MD5 as well as SHA-1 are the most common algorithm used in hashing but they have a lot of weakness. Because of those weakness new applications now mostly use SHA-256 instead.
- Symmetric type
This type is actually most familiar since it’s a traditional cryptography form that uses one key in encrypting a message which will then be decrypt after delivered.
Because this method is so simple thus you will need to use secure channel when sending the key to decrypt the message to make sure that the key would not go to the wrong hand.
But then again if you can really secure the channel that well, then why use key in the first place instead of delivering the message itself. This means that this style is actually pretty useless during data transfer. So, this method is usually used to protect data in resting state such as database or hard drive.
Today we have a more modern algorithm that using this type on the AES system. This system is used to encrypt VPN that can be used to secure internet connection.
- Asymmetric type
What makes this type different from the previous type is that it uses 2 keys instead of one like the previous type. They will use 1 key (first) that is public to encrypt the message then the 2nd key will be used to decrypt the message so it is kept private.
That is why, this type is considered to be more complicated compared to the other type. However, they are actually commonly used in our life for example during email file transmission, PDF digital sign, server remote connect, and HTTPS encryption.
- Key exchange
This type usually only used on cybersecurity industry to secure encryption key that is exchanged with unknown party. Thus, there are no information that is shared when exchanging the key.
The goal of this type is to create encryption key together with the other party that can then be used on the other cryptography type. That way it will add a new security layer on top of the security used before.
The Function of Cryptography That Implemented in Cybersecurity
To implement authentication cryptography system is used to establish identity for a system or remote user in a secure way. For example, is the SSL certificate that used to identify a web server and proof that the server that you are connected to is the right one.
This implementation is very useful for e-commerce or financial application so users cannot refute previous transaction that already occurred beforehand. The cryptographic is used as tool to make sure that user have unique identity when they create a transaction request. That way it cannot be refute in the future.
This function is very important since cryptography can make sure that the data that is transferred or stored are not altered or viewed by unauthorized party. Usually encryption will be implement on sensitive data to make sure the data integrity using hashes that have secure checksum.
In this cryptography is implement on the infrastructure and technique of the system itself to provide info for security service. Usually, this system is used when transferring data to make sure they are done using a secure system. That way, only receiver and sender of the data that will be able to extract the message to get the real data transferred through the system.
The main reason why cryptography is implemented is to secure private information for confidentiality. That is why, a lot of cybersecurity expert will use encryption tools to secure medial record, company data or simply to lock a system using password.
However, as we all know that cryptography is not unbreakable, that is why ethical hacking is needed to test if the encryption tools used are secure enough or not. This is why, you need to learn about various encryption tools and algorithm if you want to test it.
How to Secure Your Data Using Cryptography Best Practices
You need to make sure that all of your sensitive data are secured and save by implementing the right cryptography to the company’s system. There are a few times when cryptography need to be implemented to secure the data.
First when the data is in motion which when you transfer the data. Second when the data is in use. Lastly when the data is at rest which is when you store the data.
The reason why it is important to secure your data during those time is because hackers will try to get the data at any of those time. So, you need to make sure that your data is secured at all time. Here are some of the cryptography best practices that you can use to secure your data
- Use encryption to secure all sensitive data
Your business must have a lot of sensitive data that you collect from your customers, employee and even your business itself. You need to make sure to implement encryption to secure all sensitive data that you own at all time.
Besides the system itself, you should also secure the infrastructure of the system. That way, you need to have a strong cybersecurity team to help build and secure your company system.
That way, it would be more difficult for hackers to access your system and take your sensitive data. Remember to also perform penetration test to the encryption that you use to make sure that they are secure enough. An ethical hacker with cryptography knowledge should be able to do the test for you.
- Protecting the encryption key that you use
This is the most basic practice that everyone should follow. That is why you should only give the key only to authorized personnel that actually have legit reason to be able to access the data. To do it you can apply user roles with access restriction so only specific roles that can access specific data.
Furthermore, you should also make sure that your employee stores the key in a secure way such as encrypting the key itself. You should also make sure that the key itself is distinct so you can easily recognize it from the data when it is decrypted. Another method that you can implement is to rotate the key that you use periodically.
For example, to implement a user role for your employee you need to give each employee their own account and password. The password is the key that your employee needs to protect so make sure that they use secure password and implement 2FA to login. The password should also be change periodically to secure it.
- Evaluate your data encryption
Using data encryption is a method that you can use to secure your sensitive data. However, you also need to make sure that you are using the right resources to encrypt the data.
Make sure that you are using the newest algorithm or you can try to change the parameters in the encryption tools that you use. That way, you can update the data encryption that you use into the newest and most secure available in the market. Usually, each industry will also have their own industry standard encryption that implement by most companies in your industry.
As you can see, encryption is very important method used to secure your sensitive data. This is a form of cryptography that are mostly used in cybersecurity as a protection. Ethical hackers can help to test whether the encryption is secure enough so you need to learn about cryptography and encryption.
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