Cryptography Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In addition electronic purses can be reloaded using ATM machines or traditional tellers (if the card is connected to a banking account).

Additionally, electronic purses are usually based on smart card technology and necessitate a card reader to fulfill a transaction. Equipment including point of sale (POS) terminals, ATMs, and smart card kiosks can be outfitted with card readers (Misra et al., 2004). Every time the user utilizes the card reader to complete a transaction; the card reader will debit or credit the transaction value from or to the card.

The author further asserts that Smart cards can be utilized for various purposes.

In most cases they are used as stored value cards (Misra et al., 2004). Stored value cards can be utilized at the time of purchase and are preloaded with a certain amount of money. These cards can be discarded after they have been used; however, most stored value cards can be reloaded and used repeatedly (Misra et al., 2004). Stored value cards are popular gifts at Christmas time and are usually referred to as gift cards.

The author further explains that Smart cards, because of their nature, may be considered as electronic cash. Smart cards that do not need a physical contact with a reader (contactless cards), can be used for applications such as highway tolls where a motorist does not have to stop to pay for the toll. Since smart cards can be used to hold any kind of information, we can expect to see applications of this medium grow in the future (Misra et al., 2004 page15)"

The original purpose of smartcards was to reduce reliance upon paper forms of money such as cash and checks.

Although smart cards have not yet replace cash and checks the prevalence of these instruments has grown substantially. The orders for smart cards increased form 1.79 billion in 2000 to 2,55 billion in 2002 (Misra et al., 2004). Also, the number of cards distributed internationally increased from 900 million in 1997 to 6.31 billion in 2003 (Misra et al., 2004). In addition smart cards are utilized by several different industries including transportation, healthcare and banking (Misra et al., 2004).

As a result of the increased use of Smart cards (in all their various forms), there has been a concerted effort to formulate encryption systems that lessen the likelihood of fraud. To this end, cryptography is often used to secure the information on the card or to ensure that the card can not be used by an unauthorized person. There are many ways this can be accomplished through cryptography.

Smart Cards for Identification

In addition to using smart cards for purchases, they can also be used for identification purposes. The use of smart cards for identification purposes can often be seen in places of business and in government. This type of smart card contains a chip that identifies the person with the card and may grant access to various parts of an office or even to the office computer system. In some cases these cards are also used by employees to clock in and out of work. The primary purpose of using smart cards for identification is office and organizational security. This is particularly true at government facilities, where security issues have taken center stage as a result increased threats of terrorism.

According to Piazza (2005) the smart cards used for identification purposes are among the most technologically advanced devices available. In some cases, they even contain biometric information to ensure that the individual can have access to a building or classified information. Biometrics is inclusive of such things as iris scans, fingerprinting and face recognition (Piazza, 2005). In addition newer biometrics technologies include systems that can analyze vein structure, odor and gait (Piazza, 2005).

Because smart cards can hold extremely sensitive information encryption is essential. As with the other technologies that have been discussed, cryptography provides the security needed to prevent others from deciphering this sensitive information. There are several different cryptography systems that can be used to secure smart cards. One such system is the elliptic curve cryptography. According to Al-Kayali (2004) elliptic curve cryptosystems have grown tremendously in popularity as it relates to the securing of smart cards. Elliptic curve cryptography is a rather complex concept to explain but it is actually a type of "public-key cryptography based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over finite fields (ECC)." The elliptic curve is used primarily in the field of mathematics but its use as a form of cryptography to secure smart cards has been developed in recent years. Many experts believe that the use of this type of cryptography is so difficult to manipulate that it provides very good security for smart card systems.

It is evident that smart cards are increasing in popularity both in the sphere of electronic cash and identification. In the years to come there will most likely be an increased emphasis placed of the securing of this type of technology. It is also apparent that different forms of cryptography will be used to ensure that private information contained on smart cards remains private.

Content Delivery Services

Another growing aspect of information technology is content delivery services. Content delivery services are designed to allow users to access content over cable television, pay per view and the internet. An example of such technologies can be seen with Apple's iTunes platform that allows for the downloading of music and videos. This can also be seen with the Netflix platform which allows for the download of movie selections. There are also many other companies that utilize content delivery services.

According to Mitrou (2004) content delivery services are part of an industry that will continue to row in the years to come. Users enjoy content delivery services because they provide instant access to music, videos and music; people are no longer required to go to the store to get these products. Although content delivery is convenient it also poses certain security concerns. This is particular true of music and media that is contains copyrighted material. For this reason, businesses that provide content delivery services must do all they can to protect this material and prevent from being copied or shared.

In recent years this has proven to be quite a challenge. Both music and movies are readily available on the internet through sites that allow users to share movies and music. Although such file sharing is illegal it is very difficult to control because various methods used to encrypt music and movies have failed. As a result, programs such as iTunes use more advance technologies to deliver music and videos in a manner that is more secure. These companies use cryptography to prevent customers from downloading music without paying. The encryption program also makes it difficult to transfer music to other programs that might allow the user to share the music with other users.

The primary cryptography system that is utilized for content delivery services is content access. According to Frauenfelder (2005) the iTunes music store uses conditional access to secure or restrict the availability of files and resources. The content access system is combined with a Digital Rights Management System. These systems are utilized simultaneously to ensure that users do not have access to a download until Apple has received payment for the download (Frauenfelder 2005).

In addition to protecting the content that is delivered, cryptography is also used to ensure that credit card information is not stolen. This aspect of security is extremely important because iTunes users and users of other content delivery services are asked to save their credit card information so that it will not have to be taken every time the user wants to purchase a product for download. As such iTunes is responsible for the private information of many users and must take special care to ensure that this information is secure.

Cryptography in Ecommerce and Healthcare

Any industry or organization that utilizes computers has a need for cryptography. Within the context of Ecommerce and Healthcare cryptography is important because of the type of sensitive information that is at stake. In the case of Ecommerce, customer information including phone numbers, addresses and credit card information are transmitted on a daily basis. As it pertains to healthcare this same type of information is transmitted in addition to private medical information.

Cryptography solutions for ecommerce are often inclusive of such things as certificates and certificate authorities. According to a book entitled "Control and Security of Ecommerce" Certificate authorities are designed to issue digital certificates that allow ecommerce partners to be positively identified when engaged in electronic transactions (Smith, 2004). Although most ecommerce businesses have password protections, the author points out passwords can easily be cracked or compromised. In fact the author points out the existence of password cracking software that can be downloaded off of the internet (Smith, 2004). Needless to say, the presence of this type of software makes…

Sources Used in Document:


AL-KAYALI a. (2004) Elliptic Curve Cryptography and Smart Cards GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC). Retrieved October 8 at

ECC. Retrieved October 8 at

Frauenfelder M. (2005) Make: Technology on Your Time. Oreily Misra, S.K., Javalgi, R. (., & Scherer, R.F. (2004). Global Electronic Money and Related Issues. Review of Business, 25(2), 15+.

Mitrou N. (2004) Networking 2004: Networking Technologies, Services, and Protocols. Springer Murphy S., Piper F. (2002) Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England.

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