Encryption in the Enterprise

Friday, 20 December 2002, 3:19 PM EST

When it comes to computer security, the primary question is not whether enterprises should be paranoid, but how paranoid they should be. To reduce their risk, many companies are attempting to put encryption to work. The question is, do they fully understand the role of this technology and how it should be deployed?

One common misconception is that if something is encrypted, it is secure. That is not necessarily true. A number of encryption algorithms are in use today, and they are not all created equal. Bob Toxen, one of the original Berkeley Unix programmers, told NewsFactor that there are clear differences among algorithms. "For the highest security, I would use Twofish or Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)," he said.

Toxen added that several insecure methods are still in use. "Some of the insecure ciphers still in wide use include single Data Encryption Standard (DES), simple Exclusive OR, homegrown [encryption methods] and even ROT13 in Adobe OpenBook."

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