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File Encryption

Todays work-force is extremely mobile and require access to data almost immediately. This has lead to a massive increase in the use of laptops which are loaded with company reports, data and financial information, all in the name of instant gratification.

The Horror Scenario

Imagine now for a split second that the laptop of a senior manager, director or CEO has been stolen. Stored on the computers hard disk were financial records for the company, including bank account numbers, budgeting information and other mission critical company documents.... - you get the idea.

You better hope and pray that the information fell into hands which were not interested in what was contained on the hard-disk. More often than not these people are extremely interested.

How can Capitalhead help?

We can help you setup infrastructure which will allow your business and more importantly your mobile users Encrypt all sensetive materials and documentation which may be stored on the laptop. Better still - we'll help you do this so that the end user (your favorite CEO) is completely unaware that the files have been encrypted. As far as the end user is concerned it's work as usual.

If you are interested in securing your mobile business from unwanted attention get in contact with us. We'll help you put together a system that is suited to your operations.

Encryption Methods

Encryption methods help in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation of communication. Regardless of the purpose, encryption should be at such level, where breaking it within a reasonable time and with reasonable resources is not possible. Definition of a reasonable time and reasonable resources depends on the importance of data to be encrypted. However, the capacity of modern home computers enables strong encryption methods, which means that the choice of an encryption method on the basis of the importance of data is no longer necessary, as all data can be encrypted using the strong encryption. It should be noted that the legislation of some countries has certain restrictions on the encryption level.

In well-implemented encryption methods, breaking the encryption is possible only with a 'brute force' method, trying all possible encryption keys. In general, longer encryption key means stronger encryption. Let us assume that one computer can go through one million encryption keys in one second. If one million computers are set to break the encryption, in which a 40-bit key is used, the going through all encryption keys takes about 1.1 seconds (240 / (1 x 1012). The corresponding time with a 128-bit key is about 11 trillion years (11 x 1018). Such a big difference between key lengths is based on the fact that each addition of one bit doubles the number of possible keys.

Encryption Algorithms

Encryption algorithms can be divided into symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms. In symmetric algorithms both the encryption and decryption keys are the same. In asymmetric algorithms, which are used for example in Public Key Infrastructure, the encryption and decryption keys form a key pair, in which the other key is a private key (which shall kept in secret) and the other is a public key. In symmetric methods encryption is fast, but key management can be difficult, for instance, it may be difficult to arrange secure way for distributing the keys. In asymmetric methods distribution of the keys is easier but encryption is slow.

A combination of both methods is often called as a hybrid. Symmetric encryption is used for encryption of the message or data itself and the asymmetric encryption to encrypt symmetric encryption keys. The hybrids make use of the advantages of both the symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods.

Late History

File or data encryption is nothing new, we have been using derivatives of early techniques for many years with great success. One of the most well recognized encryption system was the ENIGMA, a machine used to encode communications for the German Navy during WWII.

permalink [Permalink] - Updated: Sunday, April 30, 2006

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