Unformatted text preview: encrypt a single budgetary document on a file server, then the loss of the key means only the compromise of that document. If the same key is used to encrypt all the budgetary information on the file server, then its loss is much more devastating. — The longer a key is used, the greater the temptation for someone to spend the effort necessary to break it—even if that effort is a brute-force attack. Breaking a key shared between two military units for a day would enable someone to read and fabricate messages between those units for that day. Breaking a key shared by an entire military command structure for a year would enable that same person to read and fabricate messages throughout the world for a year. In our budget-conscious, post-Cold War world, which key would you choose to attack? — It is generally easier to do cryptanalysis with more ciphertext encrypted with the same key. For any cryptographic application, there must be a policy that determines the permitted lifetime of a key. Different keys may have different lifetimes. For a connection-based system, like a telephone, it makes sense to use a key for the length of the telephone call and to use a new one with each call. Systems on dedicated communications channels are not as obvious. Keys should have relatively short lifetimes, depending on the value of the data and the amount of data encrypted during a given period. The key for a gigabit-per-second communications link might have to be changed more often than the key for a 9600-baud modem link. Assuming there is an efficient method of transferring new keys, session keys should be changed at least daily. Key-encryption keys don’t have to be replaced as frequently. They are used only occasionally (roughly once per day) for key exchange. This generates little ciphertext for a cryptanalyst to work with, and the corresponding plaintext has no particular form. However, if a key-encryption key is compromised, the potential loss is extreme: all communications encrypted with every key encrypted with the key-encryption key. In some applications, key-encryption keys are replaced only on...
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- Fall '10
- Cryptography, Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography, EarthWeb, Search Search Tips