How Does Whitebox Cryptography Work?

Encryption is a concept that was widely implemented in technology in the 1970s. Information was encoded from plain text mode into ciphertext—text that is encoded and unreadable by a computer or a human until it is decrypted. Many forms of encryption have been used by application developers and other technologists to support cryptography—the overall practice and protocols required for secure communication.

Cryptography generally refers to common security processes that involve authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality, and non-repudiation. The overall goal of cryptography is simply to hide information from malicious perpetrators, while at the same time presenting information only to the intended party. In its simplest form, you can think of cryptography as a temporary scrambling of content. A new twist on cryptography is called whitebox cryptography.

What Is Whitebox Cryptography?

Whitebox cryptography combines various encryption methods and embeds secret cryptographic keys within the code so that both are indistinguishable to the attacker. These cryptographic keys involve a string of data used to lock and unlock technology and are used for the purposes of authentication, encryption, and authorization. There are cryptographic key types designed for certain functions. These cryptographic keys must be kept secure. Today’s whitebox cryptography is designed to safely run even in a nonsecure environment.

Environmental Checks

With the help of environmental checks, you can protect your application even outside of controlled ecosystems. As a developer, you will not always have full control over the environment your applications run in. This is why you should take steps to secure your software regardless of where it executes. 

How Whitebox Cryptography Works

Whitebox cryptography is essential to app developers in the process of minimizing security risks, especially for devices. For example, consumer devices must be secured for making payments such that confidential information is not obtained by a perpetrator. Whitebox cryptography is designed to prevent this exposure in that keys are randomly stored as data and code.

The way whitebox cryptography works to secure a program usually involves an attacker that has total system access to execution memory, executable binary, and central processing unit (CPU) call intercepts. The whitebox cryptography hides keys using a process that involves:
1. A partial evaluation
2. Tabularization
3. Randomization/delinearization.

Code obfuscation is also a key component of whitebox cryptography in that cryptographic keys are always hidden and secure. The overall process is necessary in order to white-box algorithms (block ciphers).

How Whitebox Cryptography Prevents Reverse Engineering

As a developer, the concept of reverse engineering is a common process for understanding how devices, processes, systems and software work. While reverse engineering is an acceptable practice used for product and process development and identifying security flaws, it is also a common practice among malicious hackers. The danger of reverse-engineering by attackers includes cybersecurity issues such as malware—malicious software used in cybersecurity breaches.

Whitebox cryptography is capable of resisting reverse engineering threats by way of cryptographic keys while preserving code. As well, anti-tamper technology and reverse-engineering detection tools are important. Developers, coders and other technologists must take steps to ensure their apps cannot be reverse engineered, and these steps involve whitebox cryptography.

Cybersecurity is a top priority for companies, and whitebox cryptography combines the encryption methods to safeguard applications and devices for every scenario—mobile payments, content streaming, medical industry tools, and more.

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