Effective Cryptography Tactics in Cybersecurity
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Implement secure key exchange
  2. Employ symmetric cryptography
  3. Use asymmetric cryptography
  4. Apply cryptographic hash functions
  5. Work with Message Authentication Codes (MACs)
  6. Utilize digital signatures
  7. Incorporate Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)
  8. Secure with quantum cryptography

Imagine you're at the frontline of a digital battlefield. In the world of cybersecurity, you're not just defending against the daily barrage of viruses, malware, and phishing attacks, but also preparing for the unexpected, like a major cybersecurity incident. One weapon in your defense arsenal is cryptography. In this blog, we'll explore effective cryptography tactics in cybersecurity incident response, ensuring you're ready for whatever comes your way.

Implement secure key exchange

Think of secure key exchange as a secret handshake between two trusted parties. It's a way of sharing a secret key that only the sender and recipient know, and it's a crucial step in cryptography in cybersecurity incident response. Let's dive into how you can implement it:

  1. Use Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange: This is a popular method for secure key exchange. It allows two parties, each with their public-private key pair, to establish a shared secret key over an insecure channel. The beauty of this method is that even if someone intercepts the communication, they can't figure out the shared secret key.
  2. Consider Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): AES is a symmetric key algorithm widely used for data encryption. In the context of secure key exchange, AES can be used to encrypt the shared secret key before transmission, adding an extra layer of security.
  3. Implement Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS): PFS is a feature of specific key agreement protocols that provide additional security. If a long-term key is compromised, PFS ensures that past session keys cannot be recovered, keeping past communications safe.

Remember, a secure key exchange is like the opening move in a chess game. It sets the tone for the rest of the match. So, get it right, and you'll have a strong start in your cryptography in cybersecurity incident response strategy.

Employ symmetric cryptography

After implementing a secure key exchange, it's time to put that key to work. This is where symmetric cryptography comes into play. In simple terms, symmetric cryptography is like a locked box where both you and your friend have the same key. You can lock (encrypt) and unlock (decrypt) the box using the same key. Here's how you can put symmetric cryptography into action:

  1. Adopt AES: Remember that acronym from earlier? AES is not only useful for secure key exchange, but it's also a go-to option for symmetric cryptography. It's fast, secure, and widely supported, making it an excellent choice for encrypting data.
  2. Consider Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES): Although older than AES, 3DES is still a reliable choice for symmetric encryption. It applies the older Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm three times to each data block, making it harder to crack.
  3. Don't Forget About RC4: While it's not as commonly used as AES, RC4 has its place. It's a stream cipher, which means it encrypts data one bit at a time. This can make it a better choice for certain types of data transmissions.

By employing symmetric cryptography, you're adding another layer of defense to your cybersecurity strategy. But remember, just like any key, it's essential to keep it safe. If it falls into the wrong hands, your encrypted data could be unlocked, and that's a situation you definitely want to avoid!

Use Asymmetric Cryptography

Let's take the key analogy a step further. Asymmetric cryptography is like having a lockbox with two different keys. One key locks the box (public key), and another different key unlocks it (private key). This is why you might sometimes hear it referred to as 'public key' cryptography.

  1. Go for RSA: RSA is one of the most used asymmetric encryption methods. It's a safe option, and widely accepted. RSA is great for establishing secure connections over the internet.
  2. Consider ElGamal: Another good option is ElGamal. It's often used in secure email systems and is known for providing confidentiality.
  3. Don't overlook ECC: Elliptic Curve Cryptography is becoming more popular because it offers the same security as RSA, but with shorter key lengths. This makes ECC faster and less resource-intensive.

Asymmetric cryptography really shines when it comes to cryptography in cybersecurity incident response. It makes key management easier and more secure—after all, you only have to worry about keeping one key safe (the private one). The public key is shared with anyone who wants to send you encrypted data. Just remember, losing your private key is like losing the only key to a safe. So, keep it secure!

Apply Cryptographic Hash Functions

Ever heard of a one-way street? That's what cryptographic hash functions are all about. You can go one way, but you can't turn around and come back. They take input data (of any size), run it through a special algorithm, and output a fixed-size string of characters, which is unique to that data.

  1. SHA-256 and SHA-3: Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) is a family of cryptographic hash functions. SHA-256 is commonly used in many security applications and protocols, including TLS and SSL, PGP, SSH, and IPsec. SHA-3, the latest member of the Secure Hash Algorithm family, provides the same capabilities as SHA-256 but with a more robust structure.
  2. MD5: While not as secure as the SHA family, MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm 5) is widely used for checking the integrity of files. However, because of known vulnerabilities, it's not recommended for functions like SSL certificates or encryption key protections in a cybersecurity incident response.
  3. BLAKE2: As an alternative to MD5 and SHA-2, BLAKE2 shines in speed. It's frequently used where speed is a vital factor, like in checksumming, deduplication, or version control systems.

Think of cryptographic hash functions as a tool for verifying data integrity. When you download a file from the internet, you can use a hash function to check if the file has been tampered with. This is one of the ways that cryptographic hash functions play a part in cybersecurity incident response. It's like having a guard dog that can sniff out anything suspicious.

Work with Message Authentication Codes (MACs)

Imagine you're playing a game of telephone. You whisper a message to the person next to you, and they pass it on. By the time it gets to the end, the message is usually completely different! Now, think of Message Authentication Codes (MACs) as the kid in class who always keeps things straight — no funny business.

  1. HMAC: Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMAC) combines a cryptographic hash function with a secret cryptographic key. It's like a secret handshake between the sender and receiver. Only those who know the secret can verify the authenticity of the message.
  2. CMAC: Cipher-based Message Authentication Code (CMAC) is another type of MAC but it uses a block cipher instead of a hash function. It's like HMAC's cousin — a bit different, but still part of the family.
  3. GMAC: Galois Message Authentication Code (GMAC) is a type of MAC that is based on Galois/Counter Mode (GCM). It's a speedy choice and is often used in situations where speed is important, like in high-speed network connections.

Message Authentication Codes help ensure that the messages you send in a network are not altered in transit. They're a key player in cryptography in cybersecurity incident response, adding an extra layer of trust and verification to communication. Remember that telephone game? With MACs, you can be sure the message stays the same from beginning to end.

Utilize Digital Signatures

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd write letters to your friends? You'd always sign off at the end, right? Well, in the digital world, it's not so different. Digital signatures are like the digital version of your handwritten signature. They're unique to you and can be used to verify that a document or message was really sent by you and hasn't been tampered with.

Here's how it works:

  1. You create a message or document and then use your private key to sign it. This process creates a unique set of data — your digital signature.
  2. You then send your message or document, along with your digital signature, over the internet.
  3. When the receiver gets it, they use your public key to check the digital signature. If it matches, they know the message is legit and hasn't been messed with.

Just like your handwritten signature is uniquely yours, your digital signature is too. It's a crucial tool in cryptography in cybersecurity incident response, helping to verify the authenticity of messages and documents in the digital world.

So, next time you're sending an important email or file, consider using a digital signature. It's like sealing your letter with a kiss, but for the internet.

Incorporate Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)

Let's talk about shapes for a minute. You remember those from math class, right? Well, turns out, they're not just for geometry problems. They're also super useful in cybersecurity. One particular shape, the elliptic curve, is the star of a type of cryptography called Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC).

ECC is a bit like the cool, younger sibling of another type of cryptography known as RSA. It does the same job—securing your data—but it does it more efficiently. You see, ECC can provide the same level of security as RSA but with shorter keys. This means it's faster and uses less computer power. Handy, right?

  1. First, you generate a pair of keys. One is your private key, which you keep secret. The other is your public key, which you can share.
  2. When you want to send a secure message, you use your private key and the receiver's public key to encrypt it.
  3. The receiver can then use their private key and your public key to decrypt it.

Now, you're probably thinking, "But what about the elliptic curve bit?" Well, the elliptic curve is used in the math that generates the keys. The great thing about it is that it's really hard to reverse the process. This makes ECC very secure.

So, if you're thinking about cryptography in cybersecurity incident response, don't forget the humble elliptic curve. It could be the secret weapon you need.

Secure with quantum cryptography

Now, let's step into the realm of quantum physics. I promise, it's not as scary as it sounds! Quantum cryptography, also known as quantum encryption, is a method of encoding messages in a way that they can only be read by the right person. It's like having your own secret language that no one else can understand. So, how does it work?

  1. First, imagine you're sending a message. With quantum cryptography, you encode your message into quantum particles. These are tiny particles that can exist in multiple states at once — kind of like Schrodinger's cat, if you've heard of that.
  2. Next, you send your quantum-encrypted message to the receiver. This is where the real magic happens. If anyone tries to intercept the message and read it, the quantum state of the particles changes. This alerts you and the receiver that someone's been snooping.
  3. Finally, when the receiver gets the message, they measure the quantum state of the particles to decode it. And voila — they can read your message!

Quantum cryptography is still a pretty new field, but it's rapidly gaining attention for its potential to revolutionize cybersecurity. In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity incident response, staying ahead of the curve — or in this case, the quantum state — is key. After all, who doesn't love a good secret code?

If you're intrigued by cryptography tactics and their role in cybersecurity, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Crypto For Creators, Part 1: The Backbone Of The Digital Economy' by Tom Glendinning. This workshop will provide you with a deeper understanding of cryptography and its significance in today's digital world. Don't miss the chance to enhance your knowledge and skills in this crucial aspect of cybersecurity.