Cryptography in general points to the common security process and involves techniques like authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality, and non-repudiation. A major objective of cryptography is to hide the information from hackers or cyber-attackers and make it available for the intended parties. With the emergence of the cryptographic environment, attack methods and cryptographic techniques have gone on to improve significantly.
In the year 2002, the idea of white box cryptography was generated, which went on to achieve high levels of security without being dependent upon anything. Let us learn about white box cryptography, including how it works and what it tries to achieve.
More about White box cryptography
White box cryptography is a powerful solution that aims to protect the secret keys being disclosed during the course of software implementation. Their main objective is to safeguard the software implantations relating to various cryptographic algorithms from various forms of vulnerabilities. It is a combination of obfuscation and encryption methods to embed the secret keys within an application code.
The core essence of white box cryptography as an app security measure is to combine keys and code in a unique way that makes it difficult for a hacker to detect them. So it means that the resulting programme is safe to be operational in an insecure environment.
White box cryptography is of paramount importance to app developers as it enables them to minimise security risks for various devices. An example is that different consumer devices need to be secured for making payments so that critical information does not reach out into the hands of a hacker. The design of white box cryptography prevents the exposure of keys which are stored randomly as data or code.
The working of white box cryptography
White box cryptography relies on a variety of mathematical techniques to seamlessly blend keys with app code and secure cryptographic operations. This prevents the keys from being found or extracted by the hackers on the app. Be aware that each white box cryptography works in a unique manner and that, in most cases, it will be confidential to the creator. There are various forms of white box implementation that include varied techniques such as protection against static analysis, runtime code modifications, and a lot more.
The main reason why white boxes The reason why cryptography is popular is that when you are securing a programme with a white box, there is an assumption that a hacker has access to all three aspects, including the executable memory, executable binary, and the call details of the CPU. In such instances, there are some steps that are taken to hide the keys.
- Partial evaluation—during operation it is altered based on the key. An example is that during the substitution of a block cipher, the lookup table is altered to be dependent upon the key.
- The lookup table is used to transform the majority of the operations. The main reason why it is possible is that the lookup tables can describe any function.
- If an encoded chain of look-up tables is created, it will function in the same way as the original chain but will conceal the key. An obfuscated algorithm is developed with the help of this chain.
In the overall context, white box cryptography blends and obscures both the internal data and execution flow of an algorithm in such a way that it becomes difficult for a hacker to identify and separate the cryptographic keys. It prevents the possibility of those keys being found or extracted from the application.
The application areas of white box cryptography
In most of the scenarios described here, white box cryptography is deployed for protecting cryptographic implementations that are executed on open devices like smart phones or tablets, where the developer is required to achieve superior levels of security.
There are several software applications that handle sensitive data and may benefit immensely from white box cryptography. It happens to be a critical aspect of their security policy. The examples of some of the popular application areas are as follows.
NFC payments in a contactless form
There are various forms of payment apps that rely on the use of NFC technology that transforms commercially available phones into contactless payment terminals. It may turn out to be instrumental for enterprises, more so the ones that have limited resources, to invest in specialist point-of-sale systems. But appsec is of the opinion that one of the primary issues tends to be security.
It is coming to the medical device, which is encrypted and moves further with a compact cipher. In addition to this, medical data may be signed to certify its integrity. Normally, a key is secure when it is within the boundaries of a medical device and on both the cloud servers. The programmes or apps that function on a desktop PC or smartphone are termed the weakest links from a security point of view. White box cryptography helps to safeguard the signing and decryption keys that ensure the safety of the medical devices being stolen or tampered by hackers.
With the rise of OTT services (over-the-top video services), there is a greater need to ensure that video materials are secure from hackers. In the midst of this, it ensures a streamlined experience for the customers who are watching the video. White box cryptography is known to resolve this issue, and this is applicable to set-top boxes or apps used by the OTT service providers for delivering quality content.
To conclude, the white box App vulnerabilities offer an excellent source of protection against app vulnerabilities. Though there is still a lot of scope in terms of improvement, it has displayed an enormous capability to protect the apps from hackers. Their main aim is to achieve an absolute level of security for the apps. To this point, the technique employed would be safeguarding your apps to a considerable extent. It prevents the confidential or sensitive information from reaching out to the hackers.