BT0088 - Cryptography and Network Security

Question 1 - Define attack and explain the types of Threats.
The Internet continues to grow exponentially. Personal, government, and business applications continue to multiply on the Internet, with immediate benefits to end users. However, these network-based applications and services can pose security risks to individuals and to the information resources of companies and governments. Information is an asset that must be protected. Without adequate network security, many individuals, businesses, and governments risk losing that asset is called attack. Types of Threats  Interception: This type of threat occurs when an unauthorized party (outsider) has gained access. The outside party can be a person, a program, or a computing system. Examples of this type of failure are illicit copying of program or data files, or wiretapping to obtain data in a network. Although a loss may be discovered fairly quickly, a silent interceptor may leave no traces by which the interception can be readily detected. When an unauthorized party modifies or corrupts the asset, the threat is a modification. For example, someone might change the values in a database, alter a program so that it performs an additional computation. It is even possible to modify hardware. Only some cases are detected easily using simple measures, but others are almost impossible to detect.  Interruption: This occurs when an asset of the system becomes lost, unavailable, or unusable. An example is the malicious destruction of a hardware device, erasure of a program or data file, or malfunction of an operating system file manager so that it cannot find a particular disk file. The useful means of classifying security attacks is in terms of passive attacks and active attacks. A passive attack attempts to learn or make use of information from the system but does not affect the system resources. An active attack attempts to alter system resources or affect their operation.


Question 2 - What is security attack? Explain with examples.
When you test any computer system, one of your jobs is to imagine how the system could malfunction. Then, you improve the system's design so that the system can withstand any of the problems you have identified. In the same way, we analyze a system from a security perspective, thinking about the ways in which the system's security can malfunction and diminish the value of its assets. Any action that compromises the security of information owned by an organization is called security attack. Those who execute such actions, or cause them to be executed, are called attackers or opponents. Computer-based system has three interrelated and valuable components namely, hardware, software, and data. Each of these assets offers value to different members of the community affected by the system. To analyze security, we can brainstorm about the ways in which the system or its information can experience some kind of loss or harm. For example, we can identify data whose format or contents should be protected in some way. We want our security system to make sure that no data is disclosed to an unauthorized parties. Neither do we want the data being modified in illegitimate ways nor do we want the illegitimate users to access the data. By this we identify weaknesses of a system. i.e. A process whereby a person compromises your computer by installing harmful malicious software in your computer without your knowledge. These malicious software includes viruses, spywares, adwares, and trojan horses. These software often deletes certain vital files on your computer, making your computer to function abnormally, spying on your online surfing habits, and cause advertisements to pop up on your screen when you are online.


Question 3 - Explain different characteristics that identify a good encryption technique.
Several characteristics that identify a good Encryption technique.  The implementation of the process should be as simple as possible. Principle 3 was formulated with hand implementation in mind: A complicated algorithm is prone to error or likely to be forgotten. With the development and popularity of digital computers, algorithms far too complex for hand implementation became feasible. Still, the issue of complexity is important. People will avoid an encryption algorithm whose implementation process severely hinders message transmission, thereby undermining security. And a complex algorithm is more likely to be programmed incorrectly.

 The enciphering algorithm and set of keys used should be less complex. This principle implies that we should restrict neither the choice of keys nor the types of plaintext on which the algorithm can work. For instance, an algorithm that works only on plaintext having an equal number of As and Es is useless. Similarly, it would be difficult to select keys such that the sum of the values of the letters of the key is a prime number. Restrictions such as these make the use of the encipherment prohibitively complex. If the process is too complex, it will not be used. Furthermore, the key must be transmitted, stored, and remembered, so it must be short.
 The amount of secrecy needed should determine the amount of labor appropriate for the encryption and decryption. Principle 1 is a reiteration of the principle of timeliness and of the earlier observation that even a simple cipher may be strong enough to deter the casual interceptor or to hold off any interceptor for a short time.

 Errors in ciphering should not propagate and cause corruption of further information in the message. Principle 4 acknowledges that humans make errors in their use of enciphering algorithms. One error early in the process should not throw off the entire remaining ciphertext.  The size of the original message and that of enciphered text should be at most same. The idea behind principle 5 is that a ciphertext that expands dramatically size cannot possibly carry more information than the plaintext, yet it gives the cryptanalyst more data from which to infer a pattern. Furthermore, a longer ciphertext implies more space for storage and more time to communicate.


Question 4 - Compare Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption Systems.
Based on Key We have two types of encryptions based on keys they are symmetric (also called "secret key") and asymmetric (also called "public key"). Symmetric algorithms use one key, which works for both encryption and decryption. Usually, the decryption algorithm is closely related to the encryption one. (For example, the Caesar cipher with a shift of 3 uses the encryption algorithm "substitute the character three letters later in the alphabet" with the decryption "substitute the character three letters earlier in the alphabet.") The symmetric system means both encryption and the decryption are performed using the same key. They provide a twoway channel to their users: A and B share a secret key, and they can both encrypt information to send to the other as well as decrypt information from the other. As long as the key remains secret, the system also provides authentication, proof that a message received was not fabricated by someone other than the declared sender. Authenticity is ensured because only the legitimate sender can produce a message that will decrypt properly with the shared key. The symmetry of this situation is a major advantage of this type of encryption, but it also leads to a problem: key distribution. How do A and B obtain their shared secret key? And only A and B can use that key for their encrypted communications. If A wants to share encrypted communication with another user C, A and C need a different shared key. Key distribution is the major difficulty in using symmetric encryption. In general, n users who want to communicate in pairs need n * (n – 1)/2 keys. In other words, the number of keys needed increases at a rate proportional to the square of the number of users! So a property of symmetric encryption systems is that they require a means of key distribution. Based on Block Block based encryption system is classified as stream and block encryption system. Stream encryption algorithm convert one symbol of plaintext immediately into a symbol of ciphertext. (The exception is the columnar transposition cipher.) The transformation depends only on the symbol, the key, and the control information of the encipherment algorithm. Some kinds of errors, such as skipping a character in the key during encryption, affect the encryption of all future characters. However, such errors can sometimes be recognized during decryption because the plaintext will be properly recovered up to a point, and then all following characters will be wrong. If that is the case, the receiver may be able to recover from the error by dropping a character of the key on the receiving end. Once the receiver has successfully recalibrated the key with the ciphertext, there will be no further effects from this error. In the columnar transposition, the entire message is translated as one block. The block size need not have any particular relationship to the size of a character. Block ciphers work on blocks of plaintext and produce blocks of ciphertext, as shown in figure 3.2. In this figure, the central box represents an encryption machine: The previous plaintext pair is converted to po, the current one being converted is IH, and the machine is soon to convert ES.


Question 5 - Give the Overview of DES Algorithm.
The Data Encryption algorithm is a combination of both substitution as well as transposition technique. The strength of DES technique is improved when it uses both the techniques together. It uses both the technique repeatedly i.e., one on the top of other for a total of 16 cycles. The sheer complexity of tracing a single bit through 16 iterations of substitutions and transpositions has so far stopped researchers in the public from identifying more than a handful of general properties of the algorithm. The algorithm begins by encrypting the plaintext as blocks of 64 bits. The key is 64 bits long, but in fact it can be any 56-bit number. (The extra 8 bits are often used as check digits and do not affect encryption in normal implementations.) The user can change the key at will any time there is uncertainty about the security of the old key.

DES uses only standard arithmetic and logical operations on numbers up to 64 bits long, so it is suitable for implementation in software on most current computers. Although complex, the algorithm is repetitive, making it suitable for implementation on a single-purpose chip.


Question 6 - Explain RSA technique with an example.
RSA is an exponentiation cipher. You have to follow the following two steps. 1. Choose two large prime numbers p and q, and let n = pq. The totient Ø(n) of n is the number of numbers less than n with no factors in common with n. Example: Let n = 10. The numbers that are less than 10 and are relatively prime to (have no factors in common with) n are 1, 3, 7, and 9. Hence, Ø (10) = 4. Similarly, if n = 21, the numbers that are relatively prime to n are 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, and 20. So Ø(21) = 12. 2. Choose an integer e < n that is relatively prime to Ø(n). Find a second integer d such that ed mod Ø(n) = 1. The public key is (e, n), and the private key is d. Let m be a message. Then: c = me mod n and m = cd mod n. Example: Let p = 7 and q = 11. Then n = 77 and Ø(n) = 60. Alice chooses e = 17, so her private key is d = 53. In this cryptosystem, each plaintext character is represented by a number between 00 (A) and 25 (Z); 26 represents a blank. Bob wants to send Alice the message "HELLO WORLD." Using the representation above, the plaintext is 07 04 11 11 14 26 22 14 17 11 03. Using Alice's public key, the ciphertext is 0717 mod 77 = 28 0417 mod 77 = 16 1117 mod 77 = 44 ... 0317 mod 77 = 75 or 28 16 44 44 42 38 22 42 19 44 75. In addition to confidentiality, RSA can provide data and origin authentication. If Alice enciphers her message using her private key, anyone can read it, but if anyone alters it, the (altered) ciphertext cannot be deciphered correctly. Example: Suppose Alice wishes to send Bob the message "HELLO WORLD" in such a way that Bob will be sure that Alice sent it. She enciphers the message with her private key and sends it to Bob. As indicated above, the plaintext is represented as 07 04 11 11 14 26 22 14 17 11 03. Using Alice's private key, the ciphertext is 0753 mod 77 = 35 0453 mod 77 = 09 1153 mod 77 = 44 ... 0353 mod 77 = 05 or 35 09 44 44 93 12 24 94 04 05.


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