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Cryptanalysis in Cryptography: Types and Applications

  • Bhumika Dutta
  • Jan 04, 2022
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Cryptography is a fascinating topic of study that focuses on the technique of encrypting and decrypting messages in secret code so that only the intended receiver can understand them. 


Cryptography can also refer to the art of cryptanalysis, which is the process of breaking cryptographic codes. In this article, we are going to learn about Cryptanalysis and its types, along with its contributions to cybersecurity.


Cryptanalysis: An Overview


Cryptanalysis is the technique of examining cryptographic systems for flaws or information leakage. Cryptanalysis is commonly thought of as searching for flaws in a cryptographic system's core mathematics, but it also involves looking for flaws in implementation, such as side-channel attacks or weak entropy inputs. 


Cryptanalysis is a technique for converting ciphertext to plaintext. Eavesdropping on the unprotected channel, an unauthorized person tries to decipher the communication. It's also known as cracking codes. This individual is unconstrained by any rules. To get the plaintext, he can use any approach.



Types of Cryptanalysis Attacks:


Cryptanalytic attacks are used to find vulnerabilities in a cryptographic system. Cryptography can be deciphered by exploiting these flaws. The nature of the method and knowledge of the plaintext's general properties are the most important factors in these cryptanalysis assaults. 


A plaintext can be written in any language, including English and Java code. Before launching an attack, it's critical to understand the plaintext. There are 5 types of them, and all of them are given below:


  1. Known-Plaintext Analysis (KPA):


The attacker is aware of plaintext-ciphertext pairings in this case. An attacker just needs to map those pairings to find the encryption key. This assault is quite simple since the attacker already has a wealth of information at his disposal.


  1. Chosen-Plaintext Analysis (CPA):


This attack is carried out by selecting random plaintexts and then acquiring the ciphertexts that correspond to them. The encryption key must be discovered by the attacker. Though it is comparable to KPA and is reasonably easy to deploy, it has a low success rate.


  1. Ciphertext-Only Analysis (COA):


This type of attack is conceivable when the attacker just has access to some ciphertext and is attempting to decipher the encryption key and plaintext. Though this is the most difficult attack, the success rate is reasonably high because just the ciphertext is required.


  1. Man-in-the-middle (MITM):


This technique successfully intercepts a message transmitted over a secure channel between two communicators.


  1. Adaptive Chosen-Plaintext Analysis (ACPA):


Unlike CPA, it includes attackers demanding ciphertexts of additional plaintexts.


(Suggested read: A Complete Guide to Information Security)


History of Cryptanalysis:


While cryptography is unmistakably a science with well-established analytic and synthesis principles, cryptanalysis was formerly considered an art as well as a science. 


The reason for this is because cryptanalysis success is frequently the result of flashes of inspiration, gamelike intuition, and, most importantly, the cryptanalyst's awareness of pattern or structure in the cipher on an almost subconscious level.


There were a few types of ciphers known in this field, as written by Simplilearn:


  • Substitution cipher in which the units of plaintext (a character or group of characters) are replaced with ciphertext.

  • Transposition cipher in which plaintext units' locations are altered according to a regular scheme, resulting in a permutation of the plaintext in the ciphertext.

  • A polyalphabetic substitution cipher is a substitution cipher that employs a number of different substitution alphabets.

  • Permutation cipher is a transposition cipher with a permutation as the key.


It's simple to express and show the concepts that underpin the scientific side of cryptanalysis, but it's practically hard to give a sense of the art with which the principles are put into practice. Mathematics and massive quantities of processing power, on the other hand, are the pillars of modern cryptanalysis.


(Related blog: What is Data Security?)


Applications of Cryptanalysis:


Cryptography and cryptanalysis have many real-life applications. Jigsaw Academy has listed out some of them:


  1. Integrity in storage:


Cryptanalysis is used to maintain integrity in storage. Access control systems with locks and keys can help with this. These are used to protect stored data from unwanted access. 


Cryptographic checksums aid in determining the authenticity of stored data in a dynamic environment where viruses have modified data protection approaches. 


A cryptographic checksum is created and compared to the anticipated value during any such data transmission. Storage media is more vulnerable to assault because it contains higher amounts of data or data that has been exposed for longer periods.


  1. Identity authentication:


Identity authentication is the process of confirming a user's authority to access data, and cryptanalysis is employed to do so. To facilitate identity authentication, passwords are exchanged. 


For more reliable and efficient identity identification, modern systems combine cryptographic transformations with other attributes of persons. The passwords are kept in an encrypted format, and applications that may utilize them have read access to them. 


The system's security is not jeopardized since the passwords are not saved in plaintext. These passwords are similar to a cryptosystem's key. Anything to which the password has access can be encrypted and decrypted using this cryptosystem. It is preferable to choose a longer password since the more characters in a password, the more difficult it is to guess.


  1. System credentials:


The use of cryptography aids in the creation of system credentials. Users generate proof of a person's qualification by producing a credential. 


Electronic credentials may now be created to enable electronic verification. It's mostly utilized with smart cards to conduct cryptographic activities and store secret data.


  1. Digital signatures:


They're commonly used to verify the authenticity of communication and show that it came from a known sender. It's akin to signing a document on paper. Digital signatures must be difficult to fabricate if they are to be as successful as paper signatures. 


When organizations are located in different locations and are unable to meet in person yet must deal with large amounts of paperwork, digital signatures can be quite useful. It is particularly advantageous in high-value commercial transactions. 


A public-key cryptosystem and hashing process may be used to simply produce digital signatures. Another advantage of a digital signature is that any individual who has access to the sender's public key may verify and sign the document. It's frequently part of a digital signature's format.


  1. ETFs:


Everyone is aware that electronic money has long since supplanted cash transactions. Electronic funds transfer (ETF), digital gold money, virtual currency, and direct deposits are all examples of cryptography-based assets. 


ATM withdrawals, debit card payments, direct deposits, wire transfers, and other electronic money operations are examples.


Requirements for Cryptanalysis


  • The primary responsibility of this position is to study, research, and test novel cryptology ideas and applications.

  • It is able to test computational models for correctness and dependability

  • Ensures that message transmission data (wireless network, secure telephone, cellphones, email, and so on) is not accessed or altered unlawfully while in transit.

  • Safeguard sensitive data from being intercepted, copied, manipulated, or destroyed.

  • For military, political, and law enforcement forces, capable of interpreting obscure signals and coding schemes.

  • Create statistical and mathematical models for data analysis and solving security-related problems.

  • In cryptographic security systems and algorithms, evaluate, analyze, and target flaws.

  • To avoid weaknesses, create effective security solutions.

  • Capable of probing for communication line flaws.


(Recommended blog: What is a Digital Twin?)





The reason for this is because cryptanalysis success is frequently the result of flashes of inspiration, gamelike intuition, and, most importantly, the cryptanalyst's awareness of pattern or structure in the cipher on an almost subconscious level. 


It's simple to express and show the concepts that underpin the scientific side of cryptanalysis, but it's practically hard to give a sense of the art with which the principles are put into practice. 


This article describes how cryptanalysis works in general. While most current encryptions are resistant to cryptanalysis attempts, understanding those that are still vulnerable requires sophisticated mathematical abilities.


(Also read: 6 Advantages of AI in Cyber Security)

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