In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it and those who are not authorized cannot. Encryption does not itself prevent interference, but denies the intelligible content to a would-be interceptor. In an encryption scheme, the intended information or message, referred to as plaintext, is encrypted using an encryption algorithm – a cipher – generating ciphertext that can be read only if decrypted. For technical reasons, an encryption scheme usually uses a pseudo-random encryption key generated by an algorithm. It is in principle possible to decrypt the message without possessing the key, but, for a well-designed encryption scheme, considerable computational resources and skills are required. An authorized recipient can easily decrypt the message with the key provided by the originator to recipients but not to unauthorized users.
In symmetric-key schemes, the encryption and decryption keys are the same. Communicating parties must have the same key in order to achieve secure communication. An example of a symmetric key is the German military's Enigma Machine. There were key settings for each day. When the Allies figured out how the machine worked, they were able to decipher the information encoded within the messages as soon as they could discover the encryption key for a given day's transmissions.
In public-key encryption schemes, the encryption key is published for anyone to use and encrypt messages. However, only the receiving party has access to the decryption key that enables messages to be read. Public-key encryption was first described in a secret document in 1973; before then all encryption schemes were symmetric-key (also called private-key).:478. Although published subsequently, the work of Diffie and Hellman, was published in a journal with a large readership, and the value of the methodology was explicitly described  and the method became known as the Diffie Hellman key exchange.
A publicly available public key encryption application called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) was written in 1991 by Phil Zimmermann, and distributed free of charge with source code; it was purchased by Symantec in 2010 and is regularly updated.
Encryption has long been used by militaries and governments to facilitate secret communication. It is now commonly used in protecting information within many kinds of civilian systems. For example, the Computer Security Institute reported that in 2007, 71% of companies surveyed utilized encryption for some of their data in transit, and 53% utilized encryption for some of their data in storage. Encryption can be used to protect data "at rest", such as information stored on computers and storage devices (e.g. USB flash drives). In recent years, there have been numerous reports of confidential data, such as customers' personal records, being exposed through loss or theft of laptops or backup drives; encrypting such files at rest helps protect them if physical security measures fail. Digital rights management systems, which prevent unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted material and protect software against reverse engineering (see also copy protection), is another somewhat different example of using encryption on data at rest.
In response to encryption of data at rest, cyber-adversaries have developed new types of attacks. These more recent threats to encryption of data at rest include cryptographic attacks, stolen ciphertext attacks, attacks on encryption keys, insider attacks, data corruption or integrity attacks, data destruction attacks, and ransomware attacks. Data fragmentation and active defense data protection technologies attempt to counter some of these attacks, by distributing, moving, or mutating ciphertext so it is more difficult to identify, steal, corrupt, or destroy.
Encryption is also used to protect data in transit, for example data being transferred via networks (e.g. the Internet, e-commerce), mobile telephones, wireless microphones, wireless intercom systems, Bluetooth devices and bank automatic teller machines. There have been numerous reports of data in transit being intercepted in recent years. Data should also be encrypted when transmitted across networks in order to protect against eavesdropping of network traffic by unauthorized users.
Encryption, by itself, can protect the confidentiality of messages, but other techniques are still needed to protect the integrity and authenticity of a message; for example, verification of a message authentication code (MAC) or a digital signature. Standards for cryptographic software and hardware to perform encryption are widely available, but successfully using encryption to ensure security may be a challenging problem. A single error in system design or execution can allow successful attacks. Sometimes an adversary can obtain unencrypted information without directly undoing the encryption. See, e.g., traffic analysis, TEMPEST, or Trojan horse.
Digital signature and encryption must be applied to the ciphertext when it is created (typically on the same device used to compose the message) to avoid tampering; otherwise any node between the sender and the encryption agent could potentially tamper with it. Encrypting at the time of creation is only secure if the encryption device itself has not been tampered with.
Conventional methods for deleting data permanently from a storage device involve overwriting its whole content with zeros, ones or other patterns – a process which can take a significant amount of time, depending on the capacity and the type of the medium. Cryptography offers a way of making the erasure almost instantaneous. This method is called crypto-shredding. An example implementation of this method can be found on iOS devices, where the cryptographic key is kept in a dedicated 'Effaceable Storage'. Because the key is stored on the same device, this setup on its own does not offer full confidentiality protection in case an unauthorized person gains physical access to the device.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), also known by its original name Rijndael (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɛindaːl]), is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001.AES is a subset of the Rijndael block cipher developed by two Belgian cryptographers, Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, who submitted a proposal to NIST during the AES selection process. Rijndael is a family of ciphers with different key and block sizes.
For AES, NIST selected three members of the Rijndael family, each with a block size of 128 bits, but three different key lengths: 128, 192 and 256 bits.
AES has been adopted by the U.S. government and is now used worldwide. It supersedes the Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was published in 1977. The algorithm described by AES is a symmetric-key algorithm, meaning the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data.
In the United States, AES was announced by the NIST as U.S. FIPS PUB 197 (FIPS 197) on November 26, 2001. This announcement followed a five-year standardization process in which fifteen competing designs were presented and evaluated, before the Rijndael cipher was selected as the most suitable (see Advanced Encryption Standard process for more details).
AES became effective as a federal government standard on May 26, 2002, after approval by the Secretary of Commerce. AES is included in the ISO/IEC 18033-3 standard. AES is available in many different encryption packages, and is the first (and only) publicly accessible cipher approved by the National Security Agency (NSA) for top secret information when used in an NSA approved cryptographic module (see Security of AES, below).BitLocker
BitLocker is a full volume encryption feature included with Microsoft Windows versions starting with Windows Vista. It is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes. By default, it uses the AES encryption algorithm in cipher block chaining (CBC) or XTS mode with a 128-bit or 256-bit key. CBC is not used over the whole disk; it is applied to each individual sector.Block cipher mode of operation
In cryptography, a block cipher mode of operation is an algorithm that uses a block cipher to provide information security such as confidentiality or authenticity.
A block cipher by itself is only suitable for the secure cryptographic transformation (encryption or decryption) of one fixed-length group of bits called a block. A mode of operation describes how to repeatedly apply a cipher's single-block operation to securely transform amounts of data larger than a block.Most modes require a unique binary sequence, often called an initialization vector (IV), for each encryption operation. The IV has to be non-repeating and, for some modes, random as well. The initialization vector is used to ensure distinct ciphertexts are produced even when the same plaintext is encrypted multiple times independently with the same key. Block ciphers may be capable of operating on more than one block size, but during transformation the block size is always fixed. Block cipher modes operate on whole blocks and require that the last part of the data be padded to a full block if it is smaller than the current block size. There are, however, modes that do not require padding because they effectively use a block cipher as a stream cipher.
Historically, encryption modes have been studied extensively in regard to their error propagation properties under various scenarios of data modification. Later development regarded integrity protection as an entirely separate cryptographic goal. Some modern modes of operation combine confidentiality and authenticity in an efficient way, and are known as authenticated encryption modes.Blowfish (cipher)
Blowfish is a symmetric-key block cipher, designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier and included in a large number of cipher suites and encryption products. Blowfish provides a good encryption rate in software and no effective cryptanalysis of it has been found to date. However, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) now receives more attention, and Schneier recommends Twofish for modern applications.Schneier designed Blowfish as a general-purpose algorithm, intended as an alternative to the aging DES and free of the problems and constraints associated with other algorithms. At the time Blowfish was released, many other designs were proprietary, encumbered by patents or were commercial or government secrets. Schneier has stated that, "Blowfish is unpatented, and will remain so in all countries. The algorithm is hereby placed in the public domain, and can be freely used by anyone."Notable features of the design include key-dependent S-boxes and a highly complex key schedule.Cipher
In cryptography, a cipher (or cypher) is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption—a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure. An alternative, less common term is encipherment. To encipher or encode is to convert information into cipher or code. In common parlance, "cipher" is synonymous with "code", as they are both a set of steps that encrypt a message; however, the concepts are distinct in cryptography, especially classical cryptography.
Codes generally substitute different length strings of characters in the output, while ciphers generally substitute the same number of characters as are input. There are exceptions and some cipher systems may use slightly more, or fewer, characters when output versus the number that were input.
Codes operated by substituting according to a large codebook which linked a random string of characters or numbers to a word or phrase. For example, "UQJHSE" could be the code for "Proceed to the following coordinates." When using a cipher the original information is known as plaintext, and the encrypted form as ciphertext. The ciphertext message contains all the information of the plaintext message, but is not in a format readable by a human or computer without the proper mechanism to decrypt it.
The operation of a cipher usually depends on a piece of auxiliary information, called a key (or, in traditional NSA parlance, a cryptovariable). The encrypting procedure is varied depending on the key, which changes the detailed operation of the algorithm. A key must be selected before using a cipher to encrypt a message. Without knowledge of the key, it should be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to decrypt the resulting ciphertext into readable plaintext.
Most modern ciphers can be categorized in several ways
By whether they work on blocks of symbols usually of a fixed size (block ciphers), or on a continuous stream of symbols (stream ciphers).
By whether the same key is used for both encryption and decryption (symmetric key algorithms), or if a different key is used for each (asymmetric key algorithms). If the algorithm is symmetric, the key must be known to the recipient and sender and to no one else. If the algorithm is an asymmetric one, the enciphering key is different from, but closely related to, the deciphering key. If one key cannot be deduced from the other, the asymmetric key algorithm has the public/private key property and one of the keys may be made public without loss of confidentiality.Cryptography
Cryptography or cryptology (from Ancient Greek: κρυπτός, romanized: kryptós "hidden, secret"; and γράφειν graphein, "to write", or -λογία -logia, "study", respectively) is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries. More generally, cryptography is about constructing and analyzing protocols that prevent third parties or the public from reading private messages; various aspects in information security such as data confidentiality, data integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation are central to modern cryptography. Modern cryptography exists at the intersection of the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering, communication science, and physics. Applications of cryptography include electronic commerce, chip-based payment cards, digital currencies, computer passwords, and military communications.
Cryptography prior to the modern age was effectively synonymous with encryption, the conversion of information from a readable state to apparent nonsense. The originator of an encrypted message shares the decoding technique only with intended recipients to preclude access from adversaries. The cryptography literature often uses the names Alice ("A") for the sender, Bob ("B") for the intended recipient, and Eve ("eavesdropper") for the adversary. Since the development of rotor cipher machines in World War I and the advent of computers in World War II, the methods used to carry out cryptology have become increasingly complex and its application more widespread.
Modern cryptography is heavily based on mathematical theory and computer science practice; cryptographic algorithms are designed around computational hardness assumptions, making such algorithms hard to break in practice by any adversary. It is theoretically possible to break such a system, but it is infeasible to do so by any known practical means. These schemes are therefore termed computationally secure; theoretical advances, e.g., improvements in integer factorization algorithms, and faster computing technology require these solutions to be continually adapted. There exist information-theoretically secure schemes that provably cannot be broken even with unlimited computing power—an example is the one-time pad—but these schemes are more difficult to use in practice than the best theoretically breakable but computationally secure mechanisms.
The growth of cryptographic technology has raised a number of legal issues in the information age. Cryptography's potential for use as a tool for espionage and sedition has led many governments to classify it as a weapon and to limit or even prohibit its use and export. In some jurisdictions where the use of cryptography is legal, laws permit investigators to compel the disclosure of encryption keys for documents relevant to an investigation. Cryptography also plays a major role in digital rights management and copyright infringement of digital media.Data Encryption Standard
The Data Encryption Standard (DES ) is a symmetric-key algorithm for the encryption of electronic data. Although its short key length of 56 bits, criticized from the beginning, makes it too insecure for most current applications, it was highly influential in the advancement of modern cryptography.
Developed in the early 1970s at IBM and based on an earlier design by Horst Feistel, the algorithm was submitted to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) following the agency's invitation to propose a candidate for the protection of sensitive, unclassified electronic government data. In 1976, after consultation with the National Security Agency (NSA), the NBS eventually selected a slightly modified version (strengthened against differential cryptanalysis, but weakened against brute-force attacks), which was published as an official Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for the United States in 1977.
The publication of an NSA-approved encryption standard simultaneously resulted in its quick international adoption and widespread academic scrutiny. Controversies arose out of classified design elements, a relatively short key length of the symmetric-key block cipher design, and the involvement of the NSA, nourishing suspicions about a backdoor. Today it is known that the S-boxes that had raised those suspicions were in fact designed by the NSA to actually remove a backdoor they secretly knew (differential cryptanalysis). However, the NSA also ensured that the key size was drastically reduced such that they could break it by brute force attack. The intense academic scrutiny the algorithm received over time led to the modern understanding of block ciphers and their cryptanalysis.
DES, as stated above, is insecure. This is mainly due to the 56-bit key size being too small. In January 1999, distributed.net and the Electronic Frontier Foundation collaborated to publicly break a DES key in 22 hours and 15 minutes (see chronology). There are also some analytical results which demonstrate theoretical weaknesses in the cipher, although they are infeasible to mount in practice. The algorithm is believed to be practically secure in the form of Triple DES, although there are theoretical attacks. This cipher has been superseded by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Furthermore, DES has been withdrawn as a standard by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Some documentation makes a distinction between DES as a standard and as an algorithm, referring to the algorithm as the DEA (Data Encryption Algorithm).Disk encryption
Disk encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people. Disk encryption uses disk encryption software or hardware to encrypt every bit of data that goes on a disk or disk volume. It is used to prevent unauthorized access to data storage.
Expressions full disk encryption (FDE) or whole disk encryption signify that everything on disk is encrypted, but the master boot record (MBR), or similar area of a bootable disk, with code that starts the operating system loading sequence, is not encrypted. Some hardware-based full disk encryption systems can truly encrypt an entire boot disk, including the MBR.Encrypting File System
The Encrypting File System (EFS) on Microsoft Windows is a feature introduced in version 3.0 of NTFS that provides filesystem-level encryption. The technology enables files to be transparently encrypted to protect confidential data from attackers with physical access to the computer.
EFS is available in all versions of Windows developed for business environments (see Supported operating systems below) from Windows 2000 onwards. By default, no files are encrypted, but encryption can be enabled by users on a per-file, per-directory, or per-drive basis. Some EFS settings can also be mandated via Group Policy in Windows domain environments.Cryptographic file system implementations for other operating systems are available, but the Microsoft EFS is not compatible with any of them. See also the list of cryptographic file systems.HTTPS
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS), or, formerly, its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also often referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.
The principal motivation for HTTPS is authentication of the accessed website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data while in transit. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks. The bidirectional encryption of communications between a client and server protects against eavesdropping and tampering of the communication. In practice, this provides a reasonable assurance that one is communicating without interference by attackers with the website that one intended to communicate with, as opposed to an impostor.
Historically, HTTPS connections were primarily used for payment transactions on the World Wide Web, e-mail and for sensitive transactions in corporate information systems. Since 2018, HTTPS is used more often by web users than the original non-secure HTTP, primarily to protect page authenticity on all types of websites; secure accounts; and keep user communications, identity, and web browsing private.Key (cryptography)
In cryptography, a key is a piece of information (a parameter) that determines the functional output of a cryptographic algorithm. For encryption algorithms, a key specifies the transformation of plaintext into ciphertext, and vice versa for decryption algorithms. Keys also specify transformations in other cryptographic algorithms, such as digital signature schemes and message authentication codes.Key size
In cryptography, key size or key length is the number of bits in a key used by a cryptographic algorithm (such as a cipher).
Key length defines the upper-bound on an algorithm's security (i.e., a logarithmic measure of the fastest known attack against an algorithm, relative to the key length), since the security of all algorithms can be violated by brute-force attacks. Ideally, key length would coincide with the lower-bound on an algorithm's security. Indeed, most symmetric-key algorithms are designed to have security equal to their key length. However, after design, a new attack might be discovered. For instance, Triple DES was designed to have a 168 bit key, but an attack of complexity 2112 is now known (i.e., Triple DES has 112 bits of security). Nevertheless, as long as the relation between key length and security is sufficient for a particular application, then it doesn't matter if key length and security coincide. This is important for asymmetric-key algorithms, because no such algorithm is known to satisfy this property; elliptic curve cryptography comes the closest with an effective security of roughly half its key length.Pretty Good Privacy
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is an encryption program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP is used for signing, encrypting, and decrypting texts, e-mails, files, directories, and whole disk partitions and to increase the security of e-mail communications. Phil Zimmermann developed PGP in 1991.PGP and similar software follow the OpenPGP standard (RFC 4880) for encrypting and decrypting data.Public-key cryptography
Public-key cryptography, or asymmetric cryptography, is a cryptographic system that uses pairs of keys: public keys which may be disseminated widely, and private keys which are known only to the owner. The generation of such keys depends on cryptographic algorithms based on mathematical problems to produce one-way functions. Effective security only requires keeping the private key private; the public key can be openly distributed without compromising security.In such a system, any person can encrypt a message using the receiver's public key, but that encrypted message can only be decrypted with the receiver's private key.
Robust authentication is also possible. A sender can combine a message with a private key to create a short digital signature on the message. Anyone with the corresponding public key can combine a message, a putative digital signature on it, and the known public key to verify whether the signature was valid, i.e. made by the owner of the corresponding private key.Public key algorithms are fundamental security ingredients in modern cryptosystems, applications and protocols assuring the confidentiality, authenticity and non-repudiability of electronic communications and data storage. They underpin various Internet standards, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS), S/MIME, PGP, and GPG. Some public key algorithms provide key distribution and secrecy (e.g., Diffie–Hellman key exchange), some provide digital signatures (e.g., Digital Signature Algorithm), and some provide both (e.g., RSA).RSA (cryptosystem)
RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) is one of the first public-key cryptosystems and is widely used for secure data transmission. In such a cryptosystem, the encryption key is public and it is different from the decryption key which is kept secret (private). In RSA, this asymmetry is based on the practical difficulty of the factorization of the product of two large prime numbers, the "factoring problem". The acronym RSA is made of the initial letters of the surnames of Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman, who first publicly described the algorithm in 1978. Clifford Cocks, an English mathematician working for the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had developed an equivalent system in 1973, but this was not declassified until 1997.A user of RSA creates and then publishes a public key based on two large prime numbers, along with an auxiliary value. The prime numbers must be kept secret. Anyone can use the public key to encrypt a message, but with currently published methods, and if the public key is large enough, only someone with knowledge of the prime numbers can decode the message feasibly.
Breaking RSA encryption is known as the RSA problem. Whether it is as difficult as the factoring problem remains an open question.
RSA is a relatively slow algorithm, and because of this, it is less commonly used to directly encrypt user data. More often, RSA passes encrypted shared keys for symmetric key cryptography which in turn can perform bulk encryption-decryption operations at much higher speed.Symmetric-key algorithm
Symmetric-key algorithms are algorithms for cryptography that use the same cryptographic keys for both encryption of plaintext and decryption of ciphertext. The keys may be identical or there may be a simple transformation to go between the two keys. The keys, in practice, represent a shared secret between two or more parties that can be used to maintain a private information link. This requirement that both parties have access to the secret key is one of the main drawbacks of symmetric key encryption, in comparison to public-key encryption (also known as asymmetric key encryption).Transport Layer Security
Transport Layer Security (TLS), and its now-deprecated predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols designed to provide communications security over a computer network. Several versions of the protocols find widespread use in applications such as web browsing, email, instant messaging, and voice over IP (VoIP). Websites can use TLS to secure all communications between their servers and web browsers.
The TLS protocol aims primarily to provide privacy and data integrity between two or more communicating computer applications. When secured by TLS, connections between a client (e.g., a web browser) and a server (e.g., wikipedia.org) should have one or more of the following properties:
The connection is private (or secure) because symmetric cryptography is used to encrypt the data transmitted. The keys for this symmetric encryption are generated uniquely for each connection and are based on a shared secret that was negotiated at the start of the session (see § TLS handshake). The server and client negotiate the details of which encryption algorithm and cryptographic keys to use before the first byte of data is transmitted (see § Algorithm below). The negotiation of a shared secret is both secure (the negotiated secret is unavailable to eavesdroppers and cannot be obtained, even by an attacker who places themselves in the middle of the connection) and reliable (no attacker can modify the communications during the negotiation without being detected).
The identity of the communicating parties can be authenticated using public-key cryptography. This authentication can be made optional, but is generally required for at least one of the parties (typically the server).
The connection is reliable because each message transmitted includes a message integrity check using a message authentication code to prevent undetected loss or alteration of the data during transmission.In addition to the properties above, careful configuration of TLS can provide additional privacy-related properties such as forward secrecy, ensuring that any future disclosure of encryption keys cannot be used to decrypt any TLS communications recorded in the past.TLS supports many different methods for exchanging keys, encrypting data, and authenticating message integrity (see § Algorithm below). As a result, secure configuration of TLS involves many configurable parameters, and not all choices provide all of the privacy-related properties described in the list above (see the § Key exchange (authentication), § Cipher security, and § Data integrity tables).
Attempts have been made to subvert aspects of the communications security that TLS seeks to provide, and the protocol has been revised several times to address these security threats (see § Security). Developers of web browsers have also revised their products to defend against potential security weaknesses after these were discovered (see TLS/SSL support history of web browsers).The TLS protocol comprises two layers: the TLS record and the TLS handshake protocols.
TLS is a proposed Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard, first defined in 1999, and the current version is TLS 1.3 defined in RFC 8446 (August 2018). TLS builds on the earlier SSL specifications (1994, 1995, 1996) developed by Netscape Communications
for adding the HTTPS protocol to their Navigator web browser.Triple DES
In cryptography, Triple DES (3DES or TDES), officially the Triple Data Encryption Algorithm (TDEA or Triple DEA), is a symmetric-key block cipher, which applies the DES cipher algorithm three times to each data block.
While the government and industry standards abbreviate the algorithm's name as TDES (Triple DES) and TDEA (Triple Data Encryption Algorithm), RFC 1851 referred to it as 3DES from the time it first promulgated the idea, and this namesake has since come into wide use by most vendors, users, and cryptographers.Zip (file format)
ZIP is an archive file format that supports lossless data compression. A ZIP file may contain one or more files or directories that may have been compressed. The ZIP file format permits a number of compression algorithms, though DEFLATE is the most common. This format was originally created in 1989 and released to the public domain on February 14, 1989 by Phil Katz, and was first implemented in PKWARE, Inc.'s PKZIP utility, as a replacement for the previous ARC compression format by Thom Henderson. The ZIP format was then quickly supported by many software utilities other than PKZIP. Microsoft has included built-in ZIP support (under the name "compressed folders") in versions of Microsoft Windows since 1998. Apple has included built-in ZIP support in Mac OS X 10.3 (via BOMArchiveHelper, now Archive Utility) and later. Most free operating systems have built in support for ZIP in similar manners to Windows and Mac OS X.
ZIP files generally use the file extensions .zip or .ZIP and the MIME media type application/zip. ZIP is used as a base file format by many programs, usually under a different name. When navigating a file system via a user interface, graphical icons representing ZIP files often appear as a document or other object prominently featuring a zipper.