11 reasons encryption is (almost) dead

Massive leaps in computing power, hidden layers, hardware backdoors -- encrypting sensitive data from prying eyes is more precarious than ever

By Peter Wayner, InfoWorld |  Security, encryption

Everyone who has studied mathematics at the movie theater knows that encryption is pretty boss. Practically every spy in every spy movie looks at an encrypted file with fear and dread. Armies of ninjas can be fought. Bombs can be defused. Missiles can be diverted. But an encrypted file can only be cracked open with the proper key -- and that key is always in the hands of a dangerously attractive agent hidden in a sumptuous hideout on the other side of the world. (Never in Newark or New Haven -- who wants to film there?)

Alas, this theorem of encryption security may be accepted as proven by math geniuses at Hollywood U., but reality is a bit murkier. Encryption isn't always perfect, and even when the core algorithms are truly solid, many other links in the chain can go kablooie. There are hundreds of steps and millions of lines of code protecting our secrets. If any one of them fails, the data can be as easy to read as the face of a five-year-old playing Go Fish.

[ Verse yourself in the 7 sneak attacks used by today's most devious hackers, 14 dirty IT security consultant tricks, 9 popular IT security practices that don't work, and 10 crazy security tricks that do. | Build and deploy an effective line of defense against corporate intruders with InfoWorld's Encryption Deep Dive PDF expert guide. Download it today! | Learn how to protect your systems with Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog. ]

Encryption is under assault more than ever -- and from more directions than previously thought. This doesn't mean you should forgo securing sensitive data, but forewarned is forearmed. It's impossible to secure the entire stack and chain. Here are 11 reasons encryption is no longer all it's cracked up to be.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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