General Background


Information such as financial reports, employee data and medical records needs to be communicated in a secure way that ensures confidentiality and integrity. Cryptography can be used to provide message confidentiality and integrity and sender verification. In order to encrypt and decrypt messages, the sender and recipient need to share a secret. Typically this is a key, like a password, that is used by the cryptographic algorithm. The key is used by the sender to encrypt the message (transform it into cipher text) and by the recipient to decrypt the message (reverse the cipher text back to clear text).

The three basic types of cryptography in common use are symmetric key, asymmetric (public) key systems and cryptographic hash functions. Typically, the strength of a crypto system is directly related to the length of the key.

The main advantage of symmetric key cryptography is speed. The principle problems with this system are key distribution and scalability. Keys need to be distributed securely, and each secure channel needs a separate key. Symmetric key systems provide confidentiality but do not provide authenticity of the message, and the sender can deny having sent the message.

Asymmetric key systems solve the key distribution and scalability problems associated with symmetric systems. Asymmetric key systems provide a greater range of security services than symmetric systems. They provide for confidentiality, authenticity and non-repudiation. The principle problem with these systems is speed. It takes significantly more computer resources to encrypt and decrypt with asymmetric systems than symmetric ones.

So symmetric is fast, but exchanging keys is a problem; and asymmetric has more security services, but it's slow. The solution: Combine them in a hybrid system. This is exactly what is done by Zangze by using the Zangze ZSS Token, the Zangze Cryptophone, and the Zangze Communications Services Platform, which ALL ensure that you and your staff have a secure way to communicate, work on, share and store your business documents.

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