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Chapter 9: Using and Managing Keys. Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals Second Edition. Objectives. Explain cryptography strengths and vulnerabilities Define public key infrastructure (PKI) Manage digital certificates Explore key management.

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chapter 9 using and managing keys

Chapter 9: Using and Managing Keys

Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals

Second Edition

  • Explain cryptography strengths and vulnerabilities
  • Define public key infrastructure (PKI)
  • Manage digital certificates
  • Explore key management
understanding cryptography strengths and vulnerabilities
Understanding Cryptography Strengths and Vulnerabilities
  • Cryptography is science of “scrambling” data through encryption so it cannot be viewed by unauthorized users, making it secure while being transmitted or stored
  • When the recipient receives encrypted text or another user wants to access stored information, it must be decrypted with the cipher and key to produce the original plaintext
symmetric cryptography strengths and weaknesses
Symmetric Cryptography Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Identical keys are used to both encrypt and decrypt the message
  • Popular symmetric cipher algorithms include Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple Data Encryption (3DES) Standard, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Rivest Cipher (RC), International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA), and Blowfish
  • The advantage of symmetric ciphers is they are fast.
  • Disadvantages of symmetric encryption relate to the difficulties of managing the private key
asymmetric cryptography strengths and vulnerabilities
Asymmetric Cryptography Strengths and Vulnerabilities
  • With asymmetric encryption, two keys (key pair) are used instead of one
    • The private key encrypts the message
    • The public key decrypts the message
  • Remember, the public key can also be used to encrypt and the private key can be used to decrypt since the two keys are mathematically related.
asymmetric cryptography strengths and vulnerabilities1
Asymmetric Cryptography Strengths and Vulnerabilities
  • Asym keys can greatly improve cryptography security, convenience, and flexibility
  • Public keys can be distributed freely
  • Users cannot deny they have sent a message if they have previously encrypted the message with their private keys (non repudiation)
  • Primary disadvantage is that it is computing-intensive
digital signatures
Digital Signatures
  • Asymmetric encryption allows you to use either the public or private key to encrypt a message; the receiver uses the other key to decrypt the message
  • However, how can you be sure that the message you received is from the actual sender?
    • How can you prove your own identity?
  • A digital signature helps to prove that:
    • The person sending the message with a public key is who they claim to be

(b/c I used my private key to encrypt the hash used in the signature)

    • The message was not altered
    • It cannot be denied the message was sent
digital certificates
Digital Certificates
  • Digital documents that associate an individual (identity) with its specific public key
  • A digital certificate is a Data structure containing a public key, details about the key owner, and other optional information that is all digitally signed by a trusted third party
certification authority ca
Certification Authority (CA)
  • The owner of the public key listed in the digital certificate can be identified to the CA in different ways
    • By their e-mail address
    • By additional information that describes the digital certificate and limits the scope of its use
  • Revoked digital certificates are listed in a Certificate Revocation List (CRL), which can be accessed to check the certificate status of other users
certification authority ca1
Certification Authority (CA)
  • The CA must publish the certificates and CRLs to a directory immediately after a certificate is issued or revoked so users can refer to this directory to see changes
  • This information is available in a publicly accessible directory, called a Certificate Repository (CR)
  • Some organizations set up a Registration Authority (RA) to handle some CA tasks such as processing certificate requests and authenticating users
understanding public key infrastructure pki
Understanding Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
  • Weaknesses associated with asymmetric cryptography led to the development of PKI
  • PKI is a conceptual model, much like the OSI model in which public keys are made available and managed
  • PKI describes the means by which the public key cryptography system is going to be implemented
description of pki
Description of PKI
  • PKI is a system that manages keys and identity information required for asymmetric cryptography, integrating digital certificates, public keys, and CAs
  • For a typical enterprise:
    • Provides end-user enrollment software
    • Integrates corporate certificate directories
    • Manages, renews, and revokes certificates
    • Provides related network services and security
  • Uses protocol standards by which asym cryptography could be used automatically across all platforms and applications.
pki standards and protocols
PKI Standards and Protocols
  • Two major standards are responsible for PKI
    • Public Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS)
    • X.509 certificate standards
public key cryptography standards pkcs
Public Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS)
  • Numbered set of standards that have been defined by the RSA Corporation since 1991
    • Based on the RSA public key algorithm
  • Composed of 15 standards detailed on pages 318 and 319 of the text

For example:

    • PKCS#1 defines the RSA Encryption Standard
    • PKCS#3 defines the Diffie-Hellman key agreement
    • PKCS#11 defines Cryptographic Token Interface Standard

(Tokens and Smart Cards)

    • PKCS#13 defines the Elliptic Curve Cryptography Standard
x 509 digital certificates
X.509 Digital Certificates
  • X.509 is an international standard defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that defines the format for the digital certificate
  • Most widely used certificate format for PKI
  • X.509 is used by Secure Socket Layers (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS), IP Security (IPSec), and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME)
trust models
Trust Models
  • The foundation of PKI is based on trust
  • Refers to the type of relationship that can exist between people or organizations
  • In the direct trust, a personal relationship exists between two individuals
  • Third-party trust refers to a situation in which two individuals trust each other only because each individually trusts a third party
  • The three different PKI trust models are based on direct and/or third-party trust
trust models continued
Trust Models (continued)
  • The web of trust model is based on direct trust
    • I trust you and you trust your brother and your brother trusts you, so we all trust each other
    • You can send me your brother’s public key
  • Single-point trust model is based on third-party trust
    • A CA directly issues and signs certificates
  • In an hierarchical trust model, the primary or root certificate authority issues and signs the certificates for CAs below it
    • Also based on third party trust
managing digital certificates
Managing Digital Certificates
  • After a user decides to trust a CA, they can download the digital certificate and public key from the CA and store them on their local computer
  • CA certificates are issued by a CA directly to individuals
  • Typically used to secure e-mail transmissions through S/MIME and web transmissions through SSL/TLS
managing digital certificates2
Managing Digital Certificates
  • Server certificates can be issued from a Web server, FTP server, or mail server to ensure a secure transmission
  • Software publisher certificates are provided by software publishers to verify their programs are secure
certificate life cycle
Certificate Life Cycle
  • Typically divided into four parts:
    • Creation
    • Revocation
    • Expiration
    • Suspension
exploring key management
Exploring Key Management
  • Because keys form the very foundation of the algorithms in asymmetric and PKI systems, it is vital that they be carefully managed
centralized and decentralized management
Centralized and Decentralized Management
  • Key management can either be centralized or decentralized
  • An example of a decentralized key management system is the PKI web of trust model
  • Centralized key management is the foundation for single-point trust models and hierarchical trust models, with keys being distributed by the CA
key storage
Key Storage
  • It is possible to store public keys by embedding them within digital certificates
  • This is a form of software-based storage and doesn’t involve any cryptography hardware
  • Another form of software-based storage involves storing private keys on the user’s local computer
key storage continued
Key Storage (continued)
  • Storing keys in hardware is an alternative to software-based keys
    • Keys stored on hardware are stored on a token (USB drive) or card
  • Whether private keys are stored in hardware or software, it is important that they be adequately protected
    • Password protected
    • Backed-up
key handling procedures
Key Handling Procedures
  • Certain procedures can help ensure that keys are properly handled:
    • Escrow - handled by third-party
    • Renewal – renew before expiration
    • Suspension – suspend but not revoke
    • Destruction – removes the key pair
    • Expiration – key pair expires
    • Revocation – key revoked and invalid
    • Recovery – key divided and given to different parties for later recovery
  • One of the advantages of symmetric cryptography is that encryption and decryption using a private key is usually fast and easy to implement
  • A digital signature solves the problem of authenticating the sender when using asymmetric cryptography
  • With the number of different tools required for asymmetric cryptography, an organization can find itself implementing piecemeal solutions for different applications
summary continued
Summary (continued)
  • PKCS is a numbered set of standards that have been defined by the RSA Corporation since 1991
  • The three PKI trust models are based on direct and third-party trust
  • Digital certificates are managed through CPs and CPSs