Blog + Digital Forensics todayMarch 27, 2024

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In today’s interconnected world, data is the currency that regulates our digital lives. From online banking and e-commerce transactions to secure messaging and cloud storage, we share our sensitive information with countless digital systems. However, as the value of this data increases, so does the risk of unauthorized access and cyber threats. This is where cryptography, the art of securing information, plays an important role, protecting our digital assets and ensuring the integrity of our online interactions.

Cryptography is the science of transforming readable data, known as plaintext, into an unreadable form called ciphertext, using complex mathematical algorithms and secret keys. Encryption is the process which properly hides the data making it meaningless to anyone without the proper decryption key. 

The main objective of cryptography are- 

  • Confidentiality: Ensuring that only authorized parties can access and read the data, preventing unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information.
  • Integrity: Ensuring that the data remains unaltered or untampered with during transmission or storage maintains the accuracy and completeness of the information.
  • Authentication: Verifying the identity of the sender and receiver of the data, preventing impersonation and ensuring that the parties involved are legitimate.
  • Non-repudiation: Preventing the sender from denying that they sent the data, providing proof of origin and ensuring accountability.

A variety of techniques and algorithms are employed to accomplish these goals, which broadly divide into three primary categories:

  • Symmetric Key Cryptography- Symmetric-key cryptography, also known as secret-key cryptography, is one of the oldest and most widely used forms of cryptography. In this system, both the sender and receiver utilize a single secret key, which they share, for both encryption and decryption processes. The strength of symmetric-key algorithms lies in their computational efficiency, making them suitable for encrypting large amounts of data. Some well-known symmetric-key algorithms include:
    • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
    • Data Encryption Standard (DES)
    • Blowfish
    • RC4

However, the challenge with symmetric-key cryptography lies in the secure distribution and management of the shared secret key among authorized parties.

  • Asymmetric Key Cryptography – Asymmetric-key cryptography, also known as public-key cryptography, resolves the key distribution problem inherent in symmetric-key systems. In this, each party has a pair of mathematically related keys: a public key and a private key. The owner freely distributes the public key for encryption, while keeping the private key known only to themselves for decryption. Notable public-key algorithms include:
    • RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman)
    • Diffie-Hellman
    • Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)
    • ElGamal

Public-key cryptography is particularly useful for key exchange, digital signatures, and authentication purposes, but it is computationally more intensive than symmetric-key cryptography, making it less suitable for encrypting large amounts of data.

Quantum Breakable Cryptography

It refers to cryptographic algorithms and systems that are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers. Cryptographers believe that sufficiently powerful quantum computers can efficiently solve mathematical problems that are too complicated for classical computers, forming the basis for these algorithms.

The potential power of quantum computers to perform certain types of calculations exponentially faster than classical computers is the reason why certain cryptographic algorithms are considered quantum breakable.

The most well-known examples of quantum breakable cryptographic algorithms are:

  • RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) encryption: RSA is a widely used public-key cryptosystem that relies on the difficulty of factoring large prime numbers. 
  • Diffie-Hellman key exchange: It is a widely used method for securely establishing a shared secret key between two parties over an insecure communication channel. It relies on the computational complexity of the discrete logarithm problem.
  • Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC): ECC is another popular public-key cryptosystem based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over finite fields.

Quantum Secure Cryptography

Cryptographers design cryptographic algorithms and systems to resist attacks from quantum computers. Cryptographers base these algorithms on mathematical problems.They believe these problems are challenging to solve even for powerful quantum computers. This provides security against both classical and quantum attacks.

The need for quantum secure cryptography arises from the potential threat posed by quantum computers. Many of the widely used cryptographic algorithms today face this challenge.

Some of the prominent quantum secure cryptography algorithms include:

  • Lattice-based cryptography: This relies on the computational complexity of problems related to high-dimensional lattices, which are believed to be difficult for both classical and quantum computers to solve efficiently. Examples include NTRU (Nth Degree Truncated Polynomial Ring Units) and Ring-LWE (Ring Learning With Errors).
  • Code-based cryptography: It is based on the difficulty of decoding random linear codes, a problem believed to be difficult to solve for quantum computers. The McEliece cryptosystem, named after its inventor Robert McEliece, is a prominent example of code-based cryptography.
  • Multivariate cryptography: It is based on the difficulty of solving systems of multivariate polynomial equations over finite fields, a problem believed to be intractable for both classical and quantum computers. Examples include HFE (Hidden Field Equations), UOV (Unbalanced Oil and Vinegar), and Rainbow.
  • Hash-based cryptography: It relies on the security of hash functions, and is also being explored as an ideal quantum-resistant solution. Algorithms like SPHINCS (Stateless Hash-based Signatures) and XMSS (eXtended Merkle Signature Scheme) are examples of hash-based digital signatures.


Cryptography is an ever-evolving field, constantly adapting to new threats and technological advancements. The invention of quantum computing has led to significant developments. For instance, it has spurred the creation of quantum-resistant or quantum-secure cryptographic algorithms. These algorithms withstand attacks from powerful quantum computers.

Cryptography is a fundamental pillar of digital security. It protects our sensitive information, online transactions, and communications in an increasingly interconnected world. As technology continues to evolve, the importance of cryptography grows. Its continued development ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of our digital world.

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