Cryptography Information Systems Technology Has Become anTerm Paper

Pages: 15 (4153 words)  |  Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 10


Information Systems technology has become an essential aspect of business and industry in recent years. As such organizations and individuals alike have formulated ways to keep information secure and private. Cryptography is vital to the development of the always growing information technology world. The purpose of this discussion is to focus on the role of cryptography in wireless networks, smart cards, content delivery services, e-commerce and health care. The discussion to follow will solidify the fact that cryptography is an enabling technology that is vital for the development of the information society including applications such as smart cards (for identification and financial transactions) content delivery services (pay-per-view audio/video) and wireless networks.


Cryptography is defined as "the science of designing of cipher systems, whereas cryptanalysis is the name given to the process of deducing information about plaintext from the ciphertext without being given the appropriate key. Cryptology is the collective term for both cryptography and cryptanalysis (Murphy & Piper, 2002)."

Murphy (2002) also explains that the purpose of a cipher system is to hide private or confidential information in a manner that makes it impossible to understand. There are two primary uses for a cipher system: to securely store data and to broadcast data over an insecure channel. Cipher systems do not prevent people from having access to data but it does guarantee that the individual will not have the ability to decipher the data (Murphy & Piper, 2002).

The author also posits that the concealed information is referred to as the plaintext and the process of disguising the information is referred to as encryption. Additionally, the plaintext that is encrypted is known as ciphertext or cryptogram while the guidelines used to encrypt information plaintext is the encryption algorithm (Murphy & Piper, 2002). In most cases the ability of the algorithm to function is dependent upon the encryption key. The encryption key is input to the algorithm alongside the message. A decryption algorithm must be present to allow the recipient to obtain the message from the cryptogram. When the decryption algorithm is used with the proper decryption key, the plaintext from the ciphertext is duplicated. In most cases the guidelines that constitute one of these cryptographic algorithms is likely to be very complicated and they need careful design (Murphy & Piper, 2002).

In addition an individual who intercepts the message is referred to an interceptor. These individuals can also be referred to as the enemy, eavesdropper, or adversary (Murphy & Piper, 2002). Nevertheless, the proper name for such an individual is interceptor. It is also important to note that an interceptor could be a good guy. In addition, even if an interceptor understands the decryption algorithm, they usually don't know the decryption key. As such it is difficult for an interceptor to understand the plaintext (Murphy & Piper, 2002).

Now that we have gained a greater understanding of what cryptography is, let us discuss the manner in which it is utilized in applications such as wireless networks, smart cards (for identification and financial transactions) and content delivery services (pay-per-view audio/video). We will also focus on the role of cryptography in ecommerce and healthcare.

Wireless Networks

In recent years wireless networks have become a vital source of communication for businesses and home users. Wireless networks are popular because they provide individuals with greater mobility and access to information. Wireless networks are present in airports, coffee shops and many other places. Although wireless networks are extremely popular, they can also be difficult to secure. In fact, several studies have shown that wireless networks leave users open to many vulnerabilities. Cryptography has long been used to address this issue. Initially cryptography technology known as Wired Equivalent Privacy WEP was utilized. WEP offered little protection to wireless networks and there users. According to Piazza (2003)

Academicians and security experts began exposing the gaping holes in WEP not long after the standard was released in late 1999 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Ken Evans, vice president of marketing and product management at Fortress Technologies, which makes wireless security products, says that WEP's biggest flaw was what he calls a bad implementation of good cryptography "Think of a keychain with only four keys," he says, referring to WEP's rotation of only four encryption keys. "It's pretty easy for someone, once they find the right key, to open all the doors (Piazza 2003)."

Indeed, once the key is found and an individual has the time and the proper processing power, he will have access to the transmission of the data and will have the capacity to decipher information concerning the wireless network and the user including the internet protocol address (Piazza 2003). Once the internet protocol address is known the network becomes extremely vulnerable.

To combat the problems associated with WEP, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) was developed and served as a temporary solution to be utilized until a better designed protocol could be developed and implemented (Piazza 2003). WPA provided a solution to the aforementioned security issues by presenting a larger number of keys in a more frequent pattern, thus ensuring that it would be more difficult for an individual to gain access to and decipher the encryption during transmission (Piazza 2003). WPA is also designed to provide tough user authentication; this authentication begins prior to encryption.

In addition WPA was a popular choice because it could be upgraded and as such users would not have to purchase new hardware to receive more advanced security options (Piazza 2003).

The author further explains that the design of the WPS was taken from the IEEE protocol known as 802.111. This protocol was essential at the time because it provided a more intense level of encryption known as that Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (Piazza 2003). The authors explained that AES provided slightly better security but WPA actually solved the problem associated with the vulnerability of wireless networks (Piazza 2003).

As you can see, cryptography plays an important role in the securing of wireless networks. Wireless networks are a vital communications tool within the paradigm of our increasingly global world. Without the presence of cryptography information could easily end up in the hands of individuals that would do harm to businesses and individuals alike. Businesses use wireless networks to share information over significant distances. For instance, a business might use a wireless network to email sensitive information or to purchase products. If the network is not secured with the appropriate cryptography, competitors may have the ability to obtain information about the business and the competitive advantage may be lost.

The use of cryptography for wireless networks is also important as it relates to individual users. Now more than ever people are using the internet to access bank accounts, pay bills and purchase products. This means that banking information and credit card information is constantly transmitted via the internet. Cryptography is used to secure this information to ensure that it is not stolen and used by unauthorized persons. Indeed, as it relates to wireless networks, cryptography plays a vital role and acts as a necessary agent for this form of information systems technology. Although wireless networks are an extremely popular form of technology, they are not the only popular technology. The following paragraphs will discuss the role that cryptography plays as it relates to smart cards.

Smart Cards

In addition to wireless networks, smartcards have also become vitally important information systems technology. Smart cards were first developed in the mid-1970's and they are cards that contain a computer chip (Misra et al., 2004). Smart Cards are comparable to a debit or credit card however they differ in that they permit the user to store, secure, and update information at some point in a transaction. In addition, smart cards are able to store greater amount of information than a credit card and smart cards are also able to make basic decisions during a transaction (Misra et al., 2004).

There are two primary types of Smart cards memory cards and microprocessor cards, however there are also other types of smart cards. Memory cards are designed to store data, and are comparable to a small floppy disk. Microprocessor cards are composed of a central processing unit (CPU) that allow it to process data, conduct interim calculations, provide security, and store data (Misra et al., 2004). The author asserts that the information stored in a smart card is secured through well-designed encryption. Additionally a number of microprocessor cards can also perform various functions on a single card, thus improving flexibility and appeal to a user. Additionally a card reader must be present to read a smart card (Misra et al., 2004).

There are also various types of smart cards that can be utilized. One such type is the Electronic Purse. The Electronic Purse is a smart card containing an electronic counterpart to cash and is regarded as a replacement for a traditional purse (Misra et al., 2004).

Electronic purses are usually come in the form of debit cards that contain a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cryptography Information Systems Technology Has Become An.  (2007, October 10).  Retrieved July 22, 2018, from

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