Encryption Key Storage

Encryption has become a hot topic not only in the tech world but in the world of government as well. Adding backdoors to encrypted products is a movement of which many leaders are in favor. People are searching for more complex and secure ways to protect their information as data breaches occur in every industry. Though the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws do not mandate encryption, it is strongly recommended.

With the idea of encryption becoming more popular and necessary, it is no surprise that hackers are finding new ways to attempt to break through it. There are several levels of encryption used on computer systems or individual devices and each uses some type of cryptography key, which is a string of data that locks or unlocks cryptographic functions like authentication and authorization.

What people may not realize is how vital it is to protect that key from hackers, because, with that piece of information, the encryption wall you implemented will soon come tumbling down.

How Crypto Keys Work

One of the most secure types of encryption is AES or Advanced Encryption Standard and is used by government and security organizations. Data in this model is encrypted in a single block instead of through individual bits. For example, AES-256 encrypts blocks of 256-bit size. It also uses 14 rounds of encryption to change plaintext into ciphered text.

To break it down further, the initial key is added to each block, then the rows of bytes are shifted and a round key is then added to each block. This occurs for each of the 14 rounds of encryption and a different key is used for each round. This provides high levels of protection and is why so many government institutions use it to safeguard sensitive data.

Some crypto keys are stored in software on a network, meaning hackers will search through your network first to attempt to steal your key. If a network has not undergone updates or has unpatched vulnerabilities, it becomes easier for a hacker to find your key, and attempt to compare it to your stored data and find which group of information it belongs to. This is only one of the ways that a hacker attempts to bypass encryption.

Methods Cybercriminals Use to Avoid Encryption

A hacker may start by attempting to steal your crypto key by planting a keylogger on your system and finding out when cryptographic keys are generated or used. If they are able to install malware on your device, a cybercriminal may find keys stored on your hard drive if they exist there in plaintext.

Additionally, an attack may occur when the cryptographic security is insufficient. In this case, a hacker will use all of their processing power to carry out a brute force attack, find the key, and break through the encryption. The key defense mechanism to protecting your systems from an attack is to store the keys somewhere safe.

Protecting Your Keys and Personal Data

Storing cryptographic keys on secure offline storage is the best way to keep any virtual attacks, including malware, from affecting your encryption key. Storing a key within a software system leaves your key vulnerable to attacks while a dedicated hardware security module or a physical backup offers more protection for the key and in turn your encrypted data.

The SecureDrive products are designed with built-in AES-256 bit encryption where all cryptographic processes take place on the device itself. The AES-level of encryption ensures that it would take millions of years for a hacker to decrypt any of the information on the device. A user can authenticate on the SecureDrive hard drive or USB by entering a PIN via the on-board keypad or wirelessly using a secure mobile app.

SecureDrives are an ideal storage solution that offers the highest levels of data security. Not only can industries use it for safely transporting files and storing sensitive documents without fear of hacking, but can also use them to store the cryptographic keys for their other encrypted systems. Keep your data safe and your encryption layers strong with hardware encrypted storage. Learn more about the SecureDrives here.