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Five Mistakes of Data Encryption by Anton Chuvakin on 23/04/07

If you follow the media today, you might get to a conclusion that data encryption is everywhere. However, is this “good” encryption? A classic saying “Encryption is easy; key management is hard” illustrates one of the pitfalls that await those implementing encryption enterprise-wide or even SMB-wide. This paper covers some of the other mistakes that often occur when organizations try to use encryption to protect data-at-rest and data-in-transit and thus improve their security posture.

The first mistake is not using encryption when it is easy and accepted. Yes, I am talking about those pesky plain text protocols such as telnet and FTP. One can argue that people should have abandoned the above protocols for a host of other reasons, but, as the latest Solaris telnet 0day (here) fiasco indicates, enough people are stuck using them.

Similarly, while using HTTP for sensitive online transaction is not common, one still sees such instances on lesser known e-commerce websites. Exposing sensitive information to known, actively used attacks, such as sniffing, is inexcusable. While risk of sniffing is typically overshadowed by the risks to stored data, there is indeed no excuse to not encrypting the data in transit when it is easy and does not cost any extra.

This document is in PDF format. To view it click here.

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