Secure Coding: Top 3 Practices for Cryptography
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 4 min read


  1. Use approved protocols and algorithms
  2. Store keys securely
  3. Use cryptography libraries

Imagine you're building a digital fort. The walls are the code you write and the gate is the encryption you use. Just like in a real fort, if the walls are weak or the gate can easily be unlocked, the fort is at risk. This is where secure coding practices in cryptography come into play. Let's take a look at the first key practice: using approved protocols and algorithms.

Use approved protocols and algorithms

Just as you wouldn't use a rusty lock for your fort's gate, you shouldn't use outdated or unapproved protocols and algorithms for your code. Here's why:

Why use approved protocols and algorithms?

  • Better Security: Approved protocols and algorithms have been tested and vetted by experts in the field. This means they're designed to withstand the latest hacking techniques and provide a higher level of security for your code.
  • Compliance: Many industries have regulations that require the use of approved protocols and algorithms. Using approved methods can help you stay compliant and avoid potential legal issues.

So, you might be wondering, "Which protocols and algorithms should I use?" Here are a few that are widely recognized and trusted in the industry:

Commonly used approved protocols and algorithms

  1. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard): This is a popular choice for data encryption. It's used worldwide and is considered very secure.
  2. RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman): This is another commonly used method, particularly for secure data transmission.
  3. SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm): This algorithm is used for password security and data integrity checks. It's widely trusted and commonly used.

Remember, using approved protocols and algorithms is just the first step in secure coding practices in cryptography. It's like choosing strong locks for your fort's gate. But to truly secure your fort—your code—you need to pay attention to other practices too.

Store keys securely

So, you've chosen the best locks (protocols and algorithms) for your digital fort. But where do you keep the keys? A lock is only as secure as the place where its keys are stored. Let's explore why secure key storage is a critical part of secure coding practices in cryptography.

Why is secure key storage important?

  • Prevent Unauthorized Access: If someone gets hold of your cryptographic keys, they can easily decrypt your data. Securely storing keys prevents unauthorized access to your data.
  • Maintain Data Integrity: Keys also ensure the integrity of your data. If they're compromised, your data could be tampered with.

Now that you know why it's important, let's talk about how to store keys securely.

How to store keys securely?

  1. Use a Key Vault: Key vaults, like Azure Key Vault, are secure storage systems specifically designed to manage and store cryptographic keys. They offer several layers of security that make it difficult for unauthorized users to access the keys.
  2. Encrypt the Keys: Just like your data, your keys should also be encrypted. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it harder for hackers to use the keys even if they somehow get hold of them.
  3. Regularly Rotate Keys: Don't stick with the same key for too long. Regularly rotating keys can limit the damage if a key is compromised.

Think of your stored keys as the secret stash of spare keys to your fort. You wouldn't leave them lying around for anyone to find, would you? Similarly, in the world of secure coding practices in cryptography, key storage is a crucial aspect that needs careful consideration.

Use cryptography libraries

Now, let's take a look at the toolbox—cryptography libraries. These are like the multi-tools of secure coding practices in cryptography. They're packed with ready-to-use functions that can save you time and increase security. But what exactly are they, why are they so important, and how can you use them? Let's dig in.

What are cryptography libraries?

Think of cryptography libraries like a pre-packed picnic basket. You could gather all the elements separately—sandwiches, drinks, snacks—but why bother when you can grab a single basket that has everything? Cryptography libraries are collections of pre-written code that perform cryptographic functions, such as encryption, decryption, and key generation.

Why should you use cryptography libraries?

  • They're Tried and Tested: Cryptography libraries are used by countless developers around the world. They've been tested in a variety of scenarios, and their reliability is well-documented.
  • They Save Time: Instead of writing complex cryptographic functions from scratch, you can use the functions provided in these libraries. This helps you deliver secure code faster and more efficiently.
  • They Minimize Errors: Cryptography is complex and even a small error can result in a serious security flaw. Using tested and proven cryptography libraries can help minimize these risks.

How to use cryptography libraries?

  1. Choose a Trusted Library: Opt for libraries that have a strong reputation in the development community. Libraries like OpenSSL, Libsodium, and Python's Cryptography library are popular choices.
  2. Stay Updated: Libraries are regularly updated to patch vulnerabilities and add new features. Make sure to keep your libraries up-to-date to benefit from these improvements.
  3. Understand the Documentation: Before using a library, take the time to understand its documentation. This will help you use it to its full potential and avoid common mistakes.

Think of cryptography libraries as your coding companions. They're here to help, not to confuse. By understanding and utilizing them, you're taking another vital step in practicing secure coding in cryptography.

If you're interested in diving deeper into secure coding and cryptography, you should definitely check out Tom Glendinning's workshop, 'Crypto For Creators, Part 1: The Backbone Of The Digital Economy.' This workshop will provide valuable insights into the world of cryptography, helping you understand how it plays a crucial role in the digital economy and how you can apply secure coding practices in your projects.