Thursday, May 13, 2010

How encryption affected my life

by Dominik Weber

Dominik Weber
About the Author

Dominik Weber is a Senior Software Architect for Guidance Software, Inc.

Encryption and the lack thereof changed my life. In the early 1990’s I realized that encryption is very underused and in the near future it will become essential for most people and companies. At that time, hardly any user encrypted any data. Even in the financial sector, good encryption was applied seldom. Thus, I chose the focus of my Masters in Computer Science to be Cryptography. My thesis was researching the synergistic properties of compressing data before cryptographically hashing it.

When the large forensic company I am currently working for decided to create an Enterprise-Level product, I worked on cryptographic protocol, the Authentication and Encryption Algorithms, their FIPS 140-2 validation and implementation. This took a long time, proving the well-known fact that well designed protection is not a simple or quick task. The proper selection of algorithms, threat modeling, secure coding practices, entropy and key management are just some of the many facets I had to address. Finally my co-inventors and I obtained a patent protecting this intellectual property.

I was very careful because I knew firsthand how disastrous a lack of protection can be - it was the trigger for my divorce...


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