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/______________/ / BLACK SUN RESEARCH FACILITY
\ \ / http://blacksun.box.sk/
ENCRYPTION AND AUTHENTICATION
WRITTEN BY [ [email protected] :E-MAIL ]
BINARY RAPE [ 114603188 :ICQ# ]
[ http://blacksun.box.sk/ :TURORIALS ]
2. Key Systems.
2.1 Symmetric Key
2.2 Public Key
3. Digital Certificates.
4. Hash Algorithms.
5.1 Usernames and Passwords
5.3 Digital Signatures
8. Last Words.
In recent times privacy and security has become increasingly important
especially with newer technologies like wireless networking and the
potential problems they represent. Encryption has always been an
effective way to conceal information and before the digital era it was
mostly used my governments such as the germans and americans during the
second world war and has been seen as far back as the times of the great
Roman Empire. There is alot of information that we would like to keep
private like credit card and financial information and personal letters
and conversations, encryption and the science of cryptography allows us
to do this.
2.0 KEY SYSTEMS
There are two different kinds of systems used to handle encryption and
convert data these are called Symmetric and Public key encryption.
2.1 SYMMETRIC KEY
Symmetric key encryption involves 2 computers on a network each with a
"key" installed on it. This key allows each of the computers to decode
the encrypted data that was sent to it. For example computer A is sending
an encrypted packet to computer B for this example we will use a very
simple kind of encryption, for every letter in the data we move down
the alphabet 2 places A becomes C and B becomes D, using this information
we can both encrypt and decrypt the information.
Computer Symmetric Key Computer
======== ============= ========
A --->----- Shift 2 places --->---- B
Using the shift 2 places key A can send the message 'Hello' to B, Hello
will be shifted by the key and B will recieve "Jgnnq" this just looks like
gibberish until B looks at its key and it knows to shift the letters 2
places, doing this B can see that it says Hello, of course this is a bit
simplified but you can see how this method can be built upon to form
greater, more sophisticated levels of encryption.
2.2 PUBLIC KEY
Public Key encryption relies upon 2 keys, the public key and the private key.
The private key is held by your computer, when you want to send secure
data between a computer and your own you give your public key to that person
then every computer that wants to communicate with you has a copy of your
public key. To decode any messages you send to those computers they must use
a combination of both your public key and their own private key, this method
of encryption is most popularly used with the encryption program pgp, you
can get this software from www.pgp.com.
Most computers use a mixture of symmetric and public key encryption because
of the amount of processing that is required. When starting a secure connection
the first computer uses a symmetric key and sends this to the second computer
using public key encryption. The two computers then use symmetric encryption
for the rest of the transaction. Once the session is completed the key is
discarded and a new key must be created for all following sessions, this means
that even if somehow a person gets your key, once the session has ended it wont
matter and the key will be useless.
3.0 DIGITAL CERTIFICATES
Public Key encryption wouldn't be practical to use for applications such as
web servers for online transactions, for this purpose Digital Certificates
were developed. The digital certificate is a small file provided to each
computer by an independent system called a certification body, this tells
each computer that the other one is who it says it is and that it can be
trusted, the certification body then sends the public keys of each computer
to the other and they are free to communicate.
The digital cert method is mostly used in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). SSL
was developed by netscape and quickly adopted for browser to web server
communication, especially by sites dealing in e-commerce and financial trans-
actions such as amazon.com or dabs.com.
SSL is a part of larger security protocol called TLS (Transport Layer Security)
which has a large backing from microsoft. In your web browser there is 2 tell
tale signs that such precautions are in place, the first is the small pad-lock
that appears in your status bar if it appears to be locked the site is secure,
otherwise there is no security between your connection, another sign is the
address in the bar at the top, if you had a secure transaction in place with
blacksun's site your address bar would read https://blacksun.box.sk instead
of the usual http:// beofore the address. You may also notice some Certificate
or digitally signed alerts you recieve when you try to download certain software
or access certain websites, this is just to tell you that the site *should*
essentially be trustworthy altough the average web surfer wont have a clue what
its talking about.
4.0 HASH ALGORITHMS
To get a public key we use a hash value, to get this value the computer uses
an input value usually a large one like 12,537, then puts that number trough
the hashing algorithm and we get an ouput, if we had a simple algorithm like
multiply the input number by 124 we would end up with 1,554,588, it would be
very hard to guess the original number was 12,537 unless you knew to divide
the output by 124 to get the original number. Most Hash algorithms are much
more sophisticated than this.
Hash algorithms can be very long and use massive hash values, the level of
encryption is measured by its hash value and this can go up to 128 bit numbers
which would give us a hash value of anything between 2 to the power of 0 and
2 to the power of 128, which in decimal terms is anywhere inbetween 0 and
which would be a little more difficult :).
Another option in computer security which is often used hand in hand with
encryption is authentication systems. There are several different commonly
used authentication systems including the following.
5.1 USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS
This method has been used for many years to gaurd the personal information
and privacy of different users on a computer system or network. This is
the most popular method and is in place in one form or another on every
operating system to varying degrees of success. The computer encrypts the
password and compares it with an earlier encrypted version of the users
password, if the two files match then the password is correct. A password
cracker operates by encrypting a series of words and comparing them with
the password file, once it finds a match it alerts the user of the cracking
software with both username and password.
5.2 PASS CARDS
There are several types of pass cards mostly used in offices, these range
from standard swipe cards, similiar to credit cards they have a magnetic
strip holding the users information, to smart cards containg a small chip,
this method is used most commonly on the macintosh where you place a small
card into the keyboard on the left, some software such as Quark Express
uses this method to ensure that a licence for the software has been purchased.
5.3 DIGITAL SIGNATURES
Digital signatures are a form of public key encryption. The signer of the
document(e-mail, text file etc..) uses his private key and a four part
public key to digitally sign the document, the algorithm used is the
Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) which is endorsed by the US government.
If any changes occur to the contents of the document after it has been
signed the signature is rendered invalid.
Checksum methods arent usually used for security purposes but can be used
as such. TCP/IP uses a checksum technique, it gets the size of the packet
and stores it in a field within the header, on arrival to the remote computer
it checks the size of the packet and then compares it with the value of the
field within the header, if the 2 dont match, the packet is discarded this
is usually because of errors or loss during transport but this and similiar
methods can be used to ensure data is not altered by a person.
Biometrics operate on the fact that every person has a certain unique
set of features about them and these features are then used as a basis
of authentification to that person. Biometric authentication can use
several features of the person including,
Face scan - Identifying a person based on the features of their face.
Retina Scan - Identified upon the patterns of the eyes retina.
Fingerprints - Identifies the person on their unique fingerprint.
Voice Identification - Based upon levels and pitch of voice.
DNS Fingerprinting - Not very common, checks the DNA structure from biological material.
Steganography is the process of storing information within common everyday
material. This method is most commonly used with images such as gif or jpeg
files however the technology has been extended to other areas such as mp3
files or common internet traffic within the headers. There are many programs
available across the internet for hiding information with steganogaphy.
As an example of steganography heres an example of storing some information
within normal web traffic:
within the ip header theres a field called the ttl or Time-To-Live, which
holds a numeric value, by storing the numerical value of an ascii characther
we can send short messages 1 charachter at a time, the maximum value of an
ascii characther is 255 so this value would not seem very uncommon so far as
ttl fields in ordinary traffic. You would have to ensure the remote computer
was on the same network so that the hop count could be predicted, move 1
charachter up for each hop to handle the ttl being decremented. A better
example would be to use icmp, icmp has alot of room left within its body
as it doesnt usually carry a payload, by storing information with the payload
of an icmp packet you could transfer information similiarly to normal traffic
and it is uncommon for this to be checked or logged by systems, this could be
further improved by encrypting the payload and this method is not bound by
prolems such as calculating the hops and has much more room to transmit data,
despite limitations heres an example of transmitting a word in ttl fields >>
184.108.40.206->220.127.116.11, win:512, ttl:72, id:20482
(72 = 'H')
18.104.22.168->22.214.171.124, win:512, ttl:69, id:21436
(69 = 'E')
126.96.36.199->188.8.131.52, win:512, ttl:76, id:22132
(76 = 'L')
184.108.40.206->220.127.116.11, win:512, ttl:76, id:23019
(76 = 'L')
18.104.22.168->22.214.171.124, win:512, ttl:79, id:24149
(79 = 'O')
126.96.36.199->188.8.131.52, win:512, ttl:10, id:25218
(10 = '\r\n'[Carriage return or New Line])
This transfers H-E-L-L-O\r\n, which is of course the
word hello, its terminated by a carriage return to
track the end of each word.
8.0 LAST WORDS
By using a mixture of these technologies it is possible to make communiceation
and information more secure from unwelcome eyes and ears. Thanks to these
methods digital transmissions are more secure than other kinds like mail
or even phone calls, especially on cellular phones, altough it pays to
remember that nothing is truely secure, especially in the way that the
encryption algorithms were so quickly cracked and captured using radio
antennas on wireless networks or from programs such as john the cracker.
Well thats the end of this little tutorial and i hope you learnt more about
both encryption and authentication and their processes.
Starman_Jones - Thanks for everything over the years (especially for my own room).
Vsus - I am never drinking Tsambuca with you again :P.
Delusive - Nice arse luv :P.
BSRF - Thanks to every-1 at BSRF for releasing this and for being a good laugh :).
ALL @ IRC.BOX.SK