Cryptographic Systems – CompTIA Security+ Lesson 21

Cryptographic systems should provide confidentiality, integrity, authentication, nonrepudiation and access control. How? Read on to learn.

Cryptographic systems are systems, methods or processes that provide encryption and decryptions. They can be hardware, software or manual tasks.

Confidententiality and strength

Confidentiality of information is intented to prevent unauthorized access to information and thus disclosure of it. May it be local networks or from across multiple networks.

The strength of cryptographic systems is measured with the work factor. An estimated amount of time and effort that is needed to break the system.

Weak keys, defected design or easily decrypted systems produce what would be called weak systems.

Cipher suites usually use SLL/TLS to combine authentication, encryption and message authentication. In Sybase you can set the suite strength to weak, strong, FIPS or all.

Apache offers similar choices, but they’re called differently: High, Medium and Low.


Authentication is the process of verifying that the sender is who they say they are. A common method for cryptographic systems to implement authentication is by adding a digital signature.


Cryptograhic systems implementations should provide assurance that a message wasn’t modified during transmission.

By adding information such as redundant data that can be used as part of the decryption process for example. The addition of this information could be considered a signature of some sort.


I mentioned signatures two times above. But what are signatures in the first place? And how are they relevant for the CompTIA Security+ exam?

This topic and more will be covered next week.