Defining Data encryption in Software

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Defining Data encryption
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Many different types of data encryption are available with each methodology, providing advantages and varying levels of security To date, there are a number of complex encryption standards that have not yet been broken, along with other standards that use simple encryption methods and have been cracked but can still provide a level of security if used appropriately Encryption can be defined as the process of taking plain text data and converting it to a meaningless format that is unreadable, better known as cipher text Once the data has been transformed into cipher text, anyone wishing to decrypt the content would need to know the encryption key to convert the data back to plain text, as shown in Figure 12-19 The encryption key is passed through an encryption algorithm to encrypt the contents of the data There are a limited number of encryption algorithms, so if a hacker knows the algorithm, that is not considered a security issue, but if a hacker obtains the encryption key, that is a compromise of network security There are two popular forms of encryption: symmetric key encryption and asymmetric (public-key) encryption, each of which is discussed in the following subsections
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Securing Communication
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figUre 12-19
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Encryption standards convert plain text to cipher text
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Encrypt with key
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Plain text
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symmetric Key encryption
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The most basic form of encryption is symmetric key encryption, so named because both the sender and the receiver of the data use the same key to encrypt and decrypt the data The problem with symmetric key encryption is that you must have a secure way to transport the encryption key to individuals you wish to exchange data with If you do not use a secure method to send the key to a recipient, someone may intercept the key This makes encryption useless, because now the interceptor can decrypt the data knowing the key In addition, if you are using encryption techniques for multiple recipients, you may not want one person to have access to another s data Now you must keep multiple single keys per person, which can become extremely cumbersome
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asymmetric encryption
A second form of encryption is asymmetric encryption, which uses a public-key/ private-key pair for the encrypting and decrypting of the data Asymmetric encryption requires two mathematically related but separate keys in order to perform the encryption/decryption work With asymmetric encryption, the public key is freely distributed to anyone you choose The second key, the private key, is kept in a secure location and is used only by you hence the term private Both keys are required to send data securely over a network structure For example, say you want to send data to Bob by encrypting the content You would retrieve his public key and encrypt the data with his public key Once you have encrypted the data, you can send it over the wire knowing that anyone who intercepts the message would need the related key (Bob s private key) to decrypt the message Once you send the information on the wire, nothing but the related private key can decrypt the message, not even the public key you have And
12:
Network Security
because Bob is the only person who possesses the related private key, he is the only one who can decrypt the message, as shown in Figure 12-20 This system works well because it enables the public key to be sent over an insecure communications channel while still maintaining an appropriate level of security remember that it would be difficult to share the key securely with symmetric encryption
For the Network+ exam know that symmetric encryption uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the data,
while asymmetric encryption uses a pair of keys one to encrypt and the other to decrypt
encryption Methods
When encrypting data, different methods can be used Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks, and some methods work in cooperation with others to provide an overall solution The more common methods are discussed and explained here
figUre 12-20
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