Cyber security is one of the greatest issues facing us all in the first few decades of the 21st century. From being a topic of interest only to a small number of specialists (and criminals), it has become headline news on an almost daily basis. The role of state actors as a cyber security threat has gone from being a rather theoretical concern only a few years ago to becoming an issue of major concern globally – who would have guessed ten years ago that we would be discussing the role of the Russian cyber threat in influencing the US presidential election?
There are many strands to cyber security threats and protections, with the human user at the centre of this complex web. One such strand is cryptography, a key technology that can be used to help protect the security of our electronic world; for example, encryption enables sensitive data to be kept secret even when malicious parties have access to the encrypted data, and digital signatures enable the authenticity of data to be verified. Data authenticity is of critical importance to the many transactions we make by electronic means, as well as for the data we use to make everyday decisions.
Cryptography is already used in almost every aspect of our everyday lives, including for protecting the secrecy of our mobile phone calls, verifying the authenticity of card payments, and protecting our browser interactions with web services. Nonetheless, a vital aspect of cryptography is vastly underused, namely the ability it gives to individual users to protect their own data, both when sent to other users, e.g. in emails, or when stored locally or remotely to the user. The main reason for this underuse is clear – using cryptography requires cryptographic keys to be generated, securely stored, and distributed as necessary, something which is highly non-trivial even for expert users. That is, the so called key management problem represents a barrier to much wider use of cryptography.
Solving this problem for the end user is the key innovation provided by the Scentrics-patented technology. The Scentrics technology moves key management into the cloud, making it invisible to the user whilst enabling the user to access a wide range of cryptography-based security services. This has far-reaching consequences for cyber security, since it empowers users to protect their own data, something not previously possible for anyone but experts. At the same time, it enables app developers for phones, tablets and desktops to make use of cryptography in a simple way, without needing to implement their own key management services.
The cyber security problem will not be easily solved, but making our world more secure relies on us all taking responsibility for our own security – Scentrics plays its part in making this happen.