May 3, 2011

Repudiate This!

I've been hearing this term at work a lot lately so here is the Wikipedia definition for digital non-repudiation.


Regarding digital security, the cryptological meaning and application of non-repudiation shifts to mean:[1]
  • A service that provides proof of the integrity and origin of data.
  • An authentication that with high assurance can be asserted to be genuine.
Proof of data integrity is typically the easiest of these requirements to accomplish. A data hash, such as SHA2, is usually sufficient to establish that the likelihood of data being undetectably changed is extremely low. Even with this safeguard, it is still possible to tamper with data in transit, either through a man-in-the-middle attack or phishing. Due to this flaw, data integrity is best asserted when the recipient already possesses the necessary verification information.
The most common method of asserting the digital origin of data is through digital certificates, a form of public key infrastructure, to which digital signatures belong. They can also be used for encryption. The digital origin only means that the certified/signed data can be, with reasonable certainty, trusted to be from somebody who possesses the private key corresponding to the signing certificate. If the key is not properly safeguarded by the original owner, digital forgery can become a major concern.

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