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 Introduction to Cryptography                                                                  

What is cryptography?
Why is cryptography important?
Is encryption of information really necessary?
Does cryptography apply to me, the average web user?
What are some of the more popular methods of cryptography?
What is privacy?
What is PKCS?
What are secure messages?
Other Guides

Certification Authorities

Introduction to Secure Internet Commerce and E-mail

Public Key Cryptography

 

 

 

What is cryptography?

Cryptography can be defined as the process of making information indecipherable to all except those who are the intended recipients of such information. In this day of electronic communication via the Internet, particularly electronic commerce, securing sensitive data (such as credit card numbers and e-mail) is becoming increasingly important. Through various methods of cryptography, data can be safely transmitted without the threat of the information being intercepted and, subsequently, compromised. 

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Why is cryptography important?

The prime benefit of using cryptography is that virtually all processes, transactions and communications that can be performed in person can also be safely performed in the electronic world - with the benefit of circumventing the inherent problems of distance and time. With the ever-increasing worldwide usage of the Internet for commerce and communication, cryptography virtually eliminates any concerns individuals may have previously had relating to privacy and fraud.

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Is encryption of information really necessary?

Any information that you do not want any party other than the intended recipient to view should be encrypted. When you consider that the connection between you and any other point on the Internet can be routed through literally dozens of different systems, and messages that pass through those systems can be easily intercepted and read, encryption becomes a necessity for sensitive information.

An unencrypted message sent over the Internet is analogous to sending a postcard through the mail; encryption provides an envelope for your message to prohibit unauthorized viewing.

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Does cryptography apply to me, the average web user?

Consider the following: anyone—from a network administrator to your little sister—has the ability to read your e-mail. You certainly wouldn't want anyone to intercept your e-mail messages, whether they are vital company secrets or love letters. Without any kind of encryption, any e-mail message you send is only as secure as sending a postcard.

Encryption becomes especially important when sending personal data such as social security or credit card numbers.Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of the more popular methods of cryptography?

There are two types of cryptosystems: secret key (also known as symmetric key encryption), where a single key is used for both encryption and decryption, and Public Key (also known as asymmetric encryption), where each user has a Public Key and a Private Key. The most popular secret-key cryptosystem in use today is known as DES, the Data Encryption Standard.

In Public Key cryptography, the Public Key, as the name implies, is made public while the Private Key remains secret. Encryption is performed with the Public Key while decryption is done with the Private Key. The RSA Public Key cryptosystem (named after Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman who developed RSA) is the most popular form of Public Key cryptography.

Other Public Key cyptosystems include ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm), DSA (the Digital Signature Algorithm) and the Diffie-Hellman key agreement protocol.

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What is privacy?

Privacy is simply preventing the unauthorized reading of or access to data—exactly what cryptography accomplishes. By encrypting information that is intended to remain private, data can be safely sent to only those people who have the permission and ability to decrypt the information.

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What is PKCS?

Developed by RSA Laboratories, the Public Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) are a recognized set of protocols established for asymmetric (Public Key) cryptography.

Rather than attempting to know and understand what the functions of the various standards are, the more important concept is that the PKCS were established, and continue to be developed, to facilitate interoperability among Public Key cryptographic methodologies. Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are secure messages?

As more and more people send confidential information via e-mail, it is becoming increasingly important to know that your messages cannot be intercepted and read by anyone other than the intended recipient. It is equally important to know that sensitive documents sent by e-mail cannot be forged.

By using IDRBT CA's Digital certificates, you can prove your identity in electronic transactions, similar to showing your driver's license when you cash a cheque. You can also use your digital certificate to encrypt messages to keep them private. Digital certificates incorporate the S/MIME specification for secure electronic mail.

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