You can’t steal what you can’t get: New encryption standards boost data privacy

With the ever-increasing risk of cyberattacks, the probability of a user’s data being compromised has never been greater. Cybercriminals and their methods are becoming increasingly more sophisticated by the second, meaning security measures and protocols are becoming easier to circumvent thus exposing sensitive information, often personal information of customers and employees alike. When it comes down to it, the responsibly to stem this growing tide solely rests on the shoulders of the businesses and customers themselves. Thankfully, white hat security experts are fighting tirelessly on the frontlines of this cyberwar and are building more defensive security measures that boost data privacy and keep information safe and secure through cryptographic and encryption technology. Which leads us to the pressing question at hand: What’s being done about it? Glad you asked! Here are some recent developments in encryption standards aimed at data privacy with the goal of keeping you and your data safe.

Quantum cryptography

data privacy

With advancements in the field of quantum mechanical properties, computer scientists and cryptographers have been able to harness the power of the proton and light for the transmission of encrypted passwords and keys. The most well-known method of quantum cryptography is what’s called quantum key distribution, which is a back to back encryption method to be utilized by the sender and receiver without the possibility of a man-in-the-middle attack, even if the would-be thief had access to the parties’ communications. This is made possible due to the principles of quantum mechanics. The mere act of attempting to eavesdrop requires measuring a system in its quantum entangled state, which produces measurable anomalies in the system the two communicating parties will be able to detect, thus automatically changing the decryption key.

Physical security measures

data privacy

While not as glamorous as its counterparts, physical-based information security is still one of the most effective ways of keeping sensitive information secure on your website and boosting your data privacy.

By simply adopting adequate security measures such as keeping access to a proprietary server severely restricted and properly vetting those with access to such information with extensive background checks and identity verification, you can essentially air gap such a server from the Internet and prevent forms of intrusion other than physical.

In addition, if you’re a small business with little control over a physical server, good security practices start with choosing a proper web hosting service that continuously updates their security protocols.

Honeypots

A honeypot is a deception security mechanism that is designed to trick and lull unauthorized users by providing information, generally in the form of data, that appears to be the real thing but is actually an isolated trap of sorts that’s being constantly monitored. There are several forms of honeypot, which can be utilized depending on the type of information you wish to capture in your trap. Limited use honeypots, or production honeypots, are designed to be placed inside of networks as a general security measure under low-risk circumstances. Due to the low level of interaction required for production honeypots, they’re often easier to manage but also collect less information on attackers and their potential motivations.

The second form of honeypot is a little more complex to maintain and gives less value to a system’s overall security measures, but research honeypots are designed and deployed with the intention of collecting information such as attackers’ identities, their tactics and to collect intelligence on how to improve the systems which are currently in place. Research honeypots are often used by governmental agencies, such as intelligence services, the military, and research and development firms that need to constantly be aware of who the enemies are and what they want.

What’s more important is the data collected on how a system was breached and the research that’s gathered to fix the weaknesses in the system. Honeypots aren’t as effective as they once were with the advent of honeypot detection systems, which are counter cyberweapons that detect and identify a honeypot through the unique signatures they leave. This can be a double-edged sword in the sense that the mere presence of a honeypot may be enough to ward off any brute-force attacks.

Biometrics and two-factor authentication technology

biometric authentication

Knowing your grandma’s middle name is no longer enough to keep your information safe, but your face and voice sure can be. If you’ve ever used a smartphone, the odds are you’ve been able to unlock it with a thumbprint or by pointing the camera at your face. This is possible through the use of biometric technology that measures unique patterns associated with the user and churns them into a mathematical face/thumbprint map that is unique to you. Techniques such as 3D recognition look for specific identifiers such as skin texture analysis and geometric sensors that can identify the little idiosyncrasies that are unique to the person with access, which are almost impossible to replicate unless the person who has access is present.

Two-factor authentication is along the lines of biometrics in the sense that the user must be present for access to the system to be achieved. This can be through proximity, like having a wearable tech that communicates with and unlocks the computer, or through combining biometrics like facial recognition and a thumbprint scanner in order to achieve access.

Data privacy: The battle is never won

Though these may seem like groundbreaking innovations in modern cryptography, black hats aren’t fools and learn and adopt new tactics at an alarming rate. With advancements in quantum computing and blockchain technology still a ways off due to the complexity and uncertainty of future applications, encryption techniques, both digital and physical, reign supreme when it comes to data privacy. Everyone must take it upon themselves to make sure the information they hold dear is safe.

Featured image: Shutterstock

2 thoughts on “You can’t steal what you can’t get: New encryption standards boost data privacy”

  1. I do not agree that biometric technology is a good thing in perspectiv of IT security. Since you can only have to steal the information once, the user is not able to create a new face or fingerprint, since this is physically limited. If you have a PIN or worse a password, you can change it all the time, so if there was a security leak once, this does not mean that you are vulneral forever.

  2. Romed, I couldn’t agree more. Biometric identifiers link the person to the system or activity in an explicit way. That’s fine when unlocking your mobile device with a fingerprint or facial scanner, but there are other linkages that individuals will not find comfortable; for example, when used to authorize credit or debit transactions, your purchase history is uniquely tied to you. There are several very smart people and companies working on these – and related IdM issues now. I suspect we will see an increase in biometric security spending over the next decade, as both consumer and enterprise IDM vendors adopt the tech.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Scroll to Top