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A crash course in cryptography and network security. Patroklos Argyroudis CITY Liberal Studies. Presentation topics. Introductions Objectives of cryptography Hash functions Symmetric encryption Asymmetric encryption Hybrid cryptosystems Digital signatures Digital certificates

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A crash course in cryptography and network security


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    1. A crash course in cryptography and network security Patroklos Argyroudis CITY Liberal Studies Patroklos Argyroudis

    2. Presentation topics • Introductions • Objectives of cryptography • Hash functions • Symmetric encryption • Asymmetric encryption • Hybrid cryptosystems • Digital signatures • Digital certificates • Network security • Network layer security: IPsec • Transport layer security: SSL/TLS • Conclusion Patroklos Argyroudis

    3. Introductions • The scope of this presentation is to provide an overview of cryptography and its application in the field of network security • This presentation does not provide enough details in order to implement any of the described algorithms or protocols • The following people will assist me in presenting the topics: - Alice: One participant of the communication (initiator) - Bob: The other participant of the communication - Eve: The passive eavesdropper - Mallory: The malicious active attacker • In all cases: - Alice tries to talk to Bob - Eve tries to intercept the transmitted information - Mallory tries to disrupt the entire communication Patroklos Argyroudis

    4. Objectives of cryptography • The objectives of cryptography include all or some of the following (depending on the situation): - Confidentiality: Ensures that only an authorised person can access the protected data of a message - Authentication: Ensures that a person is who he claims to be, also Mallory should not be able to masquerade as someone else - Integrity: Ensures that transmitted messages are not manipulated during transmission - Non-repudiation: Ensures that a person cannot falsely deny later that he send a message • It is obvious that the objectives of cryptography are vital requirements not only for computer communication, but also for face-to-face real life interactions Patroklos Argyroudis

    5. Hash functions • A hash function typically takes a variable length message, and returns a fixed length string • Example: M = “Hello I am Bob and my password is hello_world” H(M) = 5hjf6H7Uf7HEfR53H5fY • Typically hash algorithms output 160 bits, and the probability of two messages to have the same hash is negligible • Computing the hash given M is easy, but deducing M given its hash is nearly impossible • Therefore it is almost impossible to find two messages that have the same hash Patroklos Argyroudis

    6. Applications of hash functions • Integrity: - Alice sends message M to Bob - Bob wants to verify that the message was not corrupted during transmission - Alice computes the message’s hash H1 = H(M) and sends both M and H1 to Bob - Bob computes a hash H2 of M, if H1 = H2 the message was not tampered • A possible attack: Mallory intercepts M, modifies it to M2, generates H3 = H(M2), and sends M2 and H3 to Bob, forging it as coming from Alice • Other applications: authentication (Unix passwd), compression Patroklos Argyroudis

    7. Symmetric encryption • Symmetric encryption is also referred to as secret-key encryption since there is one key for both encrypting and decrypting: • Mathematically: E(M) = C and D(C) = M and D(E(M)) = C • Security resides on how well the key is protected, and not in keeping the algorithm secret • In fact the most secure algorithms are the public ones • Security is usually a function of length of the key (in bits) Patroklos Argyroudis

    8. More on symmetric encryption • Symmetric encryption algorithms: Digital Encryption Standard (DES), Blowfish, Rijndael (winner of AES) • Confidentiality and authentication: - Alice encrypts a message using her key and sends it to Bob - Bob uses Alice’s key to decrypt the message - Bob is assured that whomever send the message knew Alice’s key - But Alice can claim that she did not send the message since Bob shared it with others (repudiation) • More problems of symmetric encryption: - Need of a different key for every private conversion - How can Alice transmit a key to Bob without Eve intercepting it? Patroklos Argyroudis

    9. Asymmetric encryption • Asymmetric encryption is also called public-key cryptography • One has two keys: a private key and a public key • One can encrypt messages with the public key, and decrypt them with the private key: • Example of confidentiality using public-key cryptography: - Bob sends to Alice his public key - Alice encrypts a message with Bob’s public key and sends it to him - Bob decrypts the message using his private key Patroklos Argyroudis

    10. More on asymmetric encryption • Although asymmetric encryption allows secure communication between strangers, it suffers from man-in-the-middle attacks: - Bob sends to Alice his public key - Mallory intercepts this key and sends to Alice his own public key - When Alice sends a message to Bob, encrypted in “Bob’s” public key, Mallory intercepts it, and since it is really encrypted with his own public key, decrypts it with his private key and reads it • Of course the above attack works in both sides of the communication of Alice and Bob • This man-in-the-middle attack works because Alice and Bob have no way to verify that they are talking to each other • In theory any protocol that does not involve some kind of a secret is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks Patroklos Argyroudis

    11. Hybrid cryptosystems • Public-key encryption is slow, symmetric encryption is at least 1000 times faster than public-key encryption • In the real world, public-key encryption is not a substitute for symmetric encryption • Public-key encryption is not used to encrypt messages, is used to encrypt keys of symmetric encryption • A hybrid cryptosystem: - Bob sends Alice his public key - Alice generates a session key, encrypts it using Bob’s public key, and sends it to Bob - Bob decrypts Alice’s message using his private key to get the session key - Both encrypt their messages using the same session key and symmetric encryption Patroklos Argyroudis

    12. Digital signatures • A digital signature is a way to prove that you are really the person that sent a message: - Alice signs a message with her private key and sends it to Bob - Bob checks the signature of Alice with her public key - Bob is sure that the sender had Alice’s private key • Digital signatures offer: - Message integrity: Bob is sure that the message was not corrupted during transmission, otherwise the check of the signature would have failed - Sender authentication: Bob is sure that the sender owns the private key that corresponds to the public key he has (Alice’s) Patroklos Argyroudis

    13. Digital certificates • Nothing prevents Mallory from creating a key pair, send the public key to Bob, and masquerading as Alice • When Bob receives future messages from Mallory (pretending to be Alice), Bob can verify that is Alice (when it is really Mallory) • A digital certificate binds a public key to a person • Purpose: to convince a person who does not know Alice that Alice owns a particular public key • When Alice signs a message with her private key, this authenticates Alice to the receiver of the message • Certification authority: generates, distributes, and manages digital certificates, essential component of secure e-commerce • You must completely trust a certification authority to authenticate Alice when Alice applies for her certificate Patroklos Argyroudis

    14. Network security • Cryptography finds most of its application these days in the field of network security • Data must be protected during transmission, network connections must be authenticated, man-in-the-middle attacks must be successfully resolved • Of course, network security does not provide a solution if the rest of the system is not properly secured, therefore computer security is also very important • Network security can be applied in different layers (or levels): - At the network layer (2nd layer of the TCP/IP 4-layer suite) - At the transport layer (3rd layer of the TCP/IP 4-layer suite) Patroklos Argyroudis

    15. Network layer security: IPsec • The goal of IPsec is to make networking operations secure in their core: the IP protocol • IPsec encompasses many different security technologies: - Symmetric encryption for encrypting the actual transferred data - Hash functions for providing authentication for network packets - Public-key cryptography for key exchanging and identification of the communicating end points - Digital certificates for ensuring identification • Advantages: - Application independency: no changes to existing or legacy applications are required - Flexibility: supports any network situation and topology Patroklos Argyroudis

    16. Transport layer security: SSL/TLS • The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and its newest specification Transport Layer Security (TLS), provides security to specific applications that utilise it • SSL works on top of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP): • It is mainly used to secure WWW connections, also used in WAP (WTLS) • Other transport layer protocols: SHTTP, DNSSEC, SSH Patroklos Argyroudis

    17. Conclusion • The security of an entire system is only as strong as its weakest link • Everything must be secure: the cryptographic algorithms, the security protocols, the key management, all of the components • If a system uses strong cryptographic algorithms, but has a weak key management scheme, then someone is going to attack the system through its key management • Cryptography is only a small part of computer and network security, the implementation code must be robust, system configuration must be correct, patches must be frequently applied, etc.. • Finally, it must be understood that security is an ongoing process and not goal • For more information: - Contact me at: argp@ieee.org - Visit: http://www.city.academic.gr/acm/crypto_page/ Patroklos Argyroudis