Risk Factors for Cryptography Systems

There is no simple formula for determining how safe a specific cryptosystem is from attacks and potential security compromises. However, the following factors affect the risk of successful attacks on cryptosystems:

  • Symmetric key length

  • Public key length

  • Key lifetimes

  • Amount of plaintext known to attackers

  • Strength of the security technology implementation

  • Randomness of generated keys

  • Strength of the security protocols

  • Secure storage of private keys

The following sections are a summary of the complex topics you need to consider when you evaluate risks for cryptography-based security. For more detailed information about the following topics, see the cryptography literature referenced under "Additional Resources" at the end of this chapter.

For information about evaluating the risk of attacks on your security systems, see "Choosing Security Solutions That Use Public Key Technology" in this book.