Cryptography  What is it, What is it for? Examples ▷ 2020

For years, data security in computing has been a constant concern, so experts are looking for ways to ensure that no third party accesses data that is not authorized, and for this they have applied knowledge from various sectors.

Cryptography is one of the oldest techniques in the world, and despite that it has found a second life in computing, where its principles are used to protect data of all kinds.

In this article we will teach you everything you need to know about it; from its most essential elements, to its classification and main objectives. At the end you will be able to consider yourself an expert in a subject that will be very useful to know if you are interested in information security and similar issues.

What is cryptography and what are these technologies for?

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Cryptography consists of different techniques for encoding information with the intention of protecting it from third parties. This is not something new at all, throughout history humans have used this type of system to protect information that we consider confidential, private or important. Julius Caesar himself of Rome created one of the first cryptographic systems in memory.

With the advent of computing, cryptography is given a second life, which although it was never an extinct sector was a bit forgotten. By the 1980s, cryptography was fully linked to computing and since then the evolution of both has gone hand in hand. Every time a new storage system is developed, a new cryptographic technology is born.

At present, even encrypted cryptographic networks have been developed that guarantee not only to encrypt transactions, but even make them impossible to modify like blockchain technology for example. These types of advances open up a whole world of possibilities for the development of this sector, which could be even more everyday than it is now.

What is a cryptographic key in computing?

One of its most essential elements in computing are cryptographic keys. These are nothing more than a security code that is used to activate an algorithm that allows access to certain information. We interact with them constantly, either to log in to our social networks or to unlock our phones or laptops.

A cryptographic key is a credential that blocks access to information, but it does not encode the content of the message as such. There are two types of cryptographic keys and based on them many encryption methods rotate, these are:

  • Private key– The private key is a password or code known only to the person who protects the information or sets the encryption method.
  • Public key: this is an address or code that may be in the public domain but does not give any indication of the type of information contained therein.

In addition to this, we must consider certain aspects that allow us to create secure keys. The first one is its length, which defines the number of characters that compose it. Secondly, its randomness, which refers to how unusual it is. And finally its duration, which refers to the time that a key remains active.

What are the most important goals of crypto?

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Cryptography has three very important goals. All of them are related to the security and integrity of the encoded information and below you will know them all:

  • Confidentiality: The main objective is that the information that is encoded is kept confidential and that it is only managed by the user himself. This is a need that all humans have for our most valuable secrets in the personal or work environment.
  • Data integrity: the data that we protect in addition to being hidden must also be complete. Cryptography must ensure that applying its different techniques will not alter the content of the message that has been encoded.
  • Binding: With a cryptographic key it is also possible that the information is linked to a single person or entity, which would be the one with the main rights to access it, in addition it is also possible to ensure that a transaction was carried out by a certain entity, which is the only one with the necessary data to carry it out.
  • Authentication: finally, authenticate that the person who is accessing the data is the person with the rights over them. By having the key to something, you are being identified as one of those in charge of accessing the information that it protects.

What are the types of cryptographic keys that exist and examples of them?

Throughout history, different types of encryption techniques have been developed, but all of them can be categorized into three different types of cryptography.

These are:

  • Symmetric cryptography: it is a series of techniques in which symmetric cryptographic keys are used, which means that both are the same. This implies that both who receives and who sends the information must know it, being an effective way to authenticate the identity of the receiver. This was one of the first forms of crypto used.
  • Asymmetric cryptography: this is one of the most used for basically all digital platforms. It is a system in which a public key is established, which is of common access, which allows information to be sent to us through it, but to be confirmed a public key must be used.

    This is the model used for example for BTC Wallets, which provide you with a public address that you can give to receive your cryptocurrencies, but only you know the private key that gives access to the wallet and its resources as such.

  • Hybrid cryptography: these are techniques that try to combine the best of both worlds and establish both symmetric keys, or similar elements, and asymmetric ones, in such a way that the user has better security.

Symmetric vs Asymmetric Cryptography How are they different and which is more secure?

protect-files-on-a-USB-pendrive-with-a-secure-password

Symmetric and asymmetric cryptography are similar in their operation, but they have many conceptual and technical differences that make them follow different paradigms to obtain the same result.

The main difference between the two is in the figure of the public key, since this is exclusive to asymmetric systems and its figure does not exist in those that are symmetric. This, in turn, considerably limits symmetric ciphers since they can only be used to verify that the recipient of the message is the one indicated..

In the case of asymmetric systems, things change, since a public key makes it much easier to send the information, as well as the fact that it reaches the indicated recipient, since public keys are unique and cannot be owned by two people within the same system.

With this concept, the digital signature was also born, which would be a way of identifying ourselves on the internet to notify that a message has been created or shared by us, something similar to what our users would be in an online video game.

However, despite these arguments, it cannot be said that one is safer than the other. The reality is that in cryptography the type of system does not guarantee security, this is given by the strength of their private keys. There is no use in a state-of-the-art system where the keys are easy to decipher.

What we can clearly assure is that asymmetric systems are much more versatile and flexible, which allows us to create more complex ciphers. For this reason, they are currently the most widely used systems to guarantee information security..

Steganography and cryptography Is it the key to improving encryption security?

Steganography refers to a series of methods used to encode messages within other messages, in such a way that information can be transmitted in a public document, with the certainty that not everyone who reads it will be able to decipher the message contained in it. .

One of the main differences with cryptography is in the type of message it transmits. In the latter, secret keys are developed, whose intention is not to be shared with anyone other than the owner of the data. For its part, steganography is a cover language, which everyone can read but not all have the necessary information to understand or decipher the true message contained in it.

Steganography has been a very popular method of encoding messages for centuries. At the time of the cold war it became very famous, since spies and undercover agents used it to transcribe the information they were collecting and in case of being captured, his captors could not understand his notes.

In computing, a more complex utility had been sought for steganography without much success, but in recent years a trend has been born that believes that it can be used to enhance cryptographic systems.

Blockchain, what kind of cryptographic technology rules in the world of cryptocurrencies today?

Blockchain is one of the biggest successes of crypto in our times. It is a system in which the information is encrypted in cryptographic blocks that, once verified, cannot be modified. The data stored in a blockchain is recorded, but only for reference and no personal data of any of the users is shared.

This technology has promoted the creation of 100% transparent and decentralized systems, where users have full control of it. To do this, it uses an asymmetric system in which each user within the network is given both a public and a private key.

Each block has a public key that identifies it within the chain, similar to what an IP address does to identify a computer within a network. Information can be freely sent to said key, but to access it, a private key will be necessary to which only the indicated user has access..

What about cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are a consequence of the blockchain. People realized that this was a completely new and decentralized environment with which platforms and projects could be created that were not dependent on or within the jurisdiction of any country in the world.

So, a Deepweb user identified as Satoshi Nakamoto, started the Bitcoin project, which was a decentralized currency, the first of its kind in the world. At first its value was zero, but people began to be interested in the possibility of saving money beyond the reach of taxes and mortgages, so they believed in the project.

Cryptocurrencies are nothing more than convertible currencies that a person receives for investing in a blockchain project, as in the case of BTC. After the birth of this, other cryptos such as Ethereum or Litecoin emerged, and currently the cryptocurrency market is one of the most money moving in the world, which shows the amount of money invested in blockchain projects.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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