By Vidhya Natarajan, Senior Associate, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies
January 25, 2013

Vembu Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Vembu’s Encryption Algorithms Secures your Backed up Data

Vembu Technologies uses source-based encryption algorithms – AES, BlowFish and 3DES to secure client information in transit or at rest. Users can choose their algorithm!

AES is an iterative and a symmetric key block cipher that uses three keys strengths of 128, 192 and 256 bits. The AES encryption and AES decryption occurs in blocks of 128 bits.

The BlowFish algorithm can be customized to take in 64 bits, 128 bits, 256 bits, 320 bits, 384 bits or 448 bits with password input of 6-6, 6-16, 6-32, 6-48, or 6-56 characters.

The DES algorithm uses 192 bits by default and requires a password input of 6-24 characters.

The AES Encryption algorithm is one of the perfect cryptography algorithms to protect personal data. AES has also been called Rijndael on its inventors Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen. It was issued by US Government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1997. It is one of the strongest encryption methods that are hard to break. The hash is used to protect the encryption key against brute force attack. The AES encryption is part of the new upgrade release – StoreGrid v 4.3. The new StoreGrid v 4.3 also provides options to encrypt data in the client or the backup server.

The Blowfish Algorithm was designed by Bruce Schneier in 1993. It is a keyed, symmetric block cipher that has proven cryptanalysis resistant. It was originally designed as a general purpose unpatented public domain cipher that could be used as an alternative to the much abused DES algorithm.

Blowfish has a 64 bit block size but the keys can vary from 32 bits to 448 bits. The algorithm is often described as a 16-round Feistel cipher (symmetric structure used in the construction of block ciphers) that uses S-boxes (substitution boxes) and complex key schedules to create an impregnable algorithm derived from dynamically generated tables. ‘M’ number of bits (in this instance, the password) is accepted and transformed into ‘N’ output bits which may or may not be equal to ‘M’. The decryption reverses the process to display the text to the end user. The Blowfish algorithm has a very small memory footprint and can be used with older systems with ease.

The Data Encryption Standard or DES, developed by H. Feistel was among the first algorithms that were used by the computing industry. It influenced modern cryptography in a number of ways. While the 56 bit key was declared to be insecure for most applications in 1999, the Triple DES Key is considered to be practically secure. Triple DES that is used by StoreGrid involves applying DES three times with two or three different keys. This is regarded as secure, but slower.

The algorithm takes a fixed length string of plain text (StoreGrid’s 6-24 bit password) and transforms the bits using complicated operations (16 rounds of transformations) using S Boxes as in Blowfish, to another cipher text bit string of the same length. A lot of information has been published on the cryptanalysis of DES and it has been deemed theoretically that the best attack for this cipher is brute force attack (i.e. trying every possible key in turn).

Having understood the nuances of the choices offered to StoreGrid users, it is up to them to select the algorithm that best suits their needs.

Watch a recent Webinar on StoreGrid Service Provider Edition Version 4.3:

About the Author: Vidhya Natarajan is a Senior Associate, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies, a leader in providing cost effective, hybrid (on-premise and cloud) data protection and business focused online backup and disaster recovery solutions for ISPs, MSPs, VARs, Managed Hosting Providers and Educational Institutions. Vembu’s flagship product, StoreGrid, an award winning cloud solution has delivered tangible value to over 3,500 partners worldwide.


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