Safe Metaphor

By Dr. Alan Radley, 10 Sep 2017

The principles of Information Security—on a most basic level—are not so very complex. We can liken the process of protecting private data to the real-world procedure of locking a physical item in a safe. A Safe is a receptacle for the secure storage of items; and any safe has twin aspects. First, an enclosed space completely covered by an enveloping barrier or unbroken set of armor-reinforced walls—and thus protecting any contained item(s). And secondly a Lock and Key—which is a method for fastening an entrance aperture into the enclosed space—whereby the lock is a sealed entrance aperture—or a mechanism for restricting access to only those persons who actually possess and may use the key to unlock the same aperture.

In our terms—the (lock + key) represents a valid entry-method enabling an actor to traverse a system access gateway; and the (safe + lock) is part of the defense mechanism(s) employed by the communication system to prevent access to the same gateway by any unsafe-actors.

Public Communication Channel(s)

But do we not have some problems with the safe metaphor? By definition, any and all data packets flowing along public communication channel(s)/pipeline(s)—existing on an open-network—or the Internet— ARE—IN SOME ASPECT—PUBLIC. This is because data-packets must be routed along public data channel(s)—and using known IP and/or HTTP protocols etc. Hence all private-datums, no matter how they are represented—pass along the public information-highway. Thus, and patently, secure communication involves ‘squashing’ private datum-copies into public datagrams.

Learn more about datum-copies at “The Science of Cybersecurity”

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