Security via Technology

As I mentioned in the Module’s homepage, the topic “Security via Technology” can be a course on its own. No way we can cover virus protection, firewalls, anti-spam software, passwords, digital rights management, etc. etc. But we can focus on a general purpose technology that can be applied in many security measures.

The following presentation covers the basic concept of cryptography. It can be hard to understand without explanation. Please support yourself by searching and reading on the Internet.

Wang, Wenli. Powerpoint Presentation. Security via Cryptography.

The following simply write-up can help you too:

Wang, Wenli. A simple writing on What is encryption and SSL?.

There is risk associated with any technological remedy to security problem. Please read the following article from which you can learn about the subject from other angles.

Ellison C. and Schneier B. (2000). Ten Risks of PKI: What You’re Not Being Told About Public Key Infrastructure, Computer Security Journal, 16(1), 1-7.

This is the first time in this course that we look into details of a solution rather than take a bigger perspective. I hope you understand the difference between a macro-approach and micro-approach. They should be applied complementarily. As a manager or a policy maker, you should understand micro-issues, but more importantly, you should have the bigger perspectives. Technicians can handle the details. However, you need to understand their languages and know what they mean correctly rather than understand the details at the buzz-word level.

So, as a manager and policy maker, let’s look into the bigger picture again. This time, let’s look at its past and future of information security:

Diffie, Whitfield. (2008). Information Security: 50 Years Behind, 50 Years Ahead. Communications of the ACM, 51(1), 55-57. (Trident library)

You also need to keep yourself abreast with the new happenings. You need to know where to find them. The following two is only the start. So is the list I provided in the module’s homepage. Surf around these websites and bookmark the ones that you think are good. Now equipped with the frameworks and principles and several lens, you can make your own judgment on the quality of an information source and know about that source focuses on which level of analysis.

Current activity report of the lastest security incidents, US-CERT. Retrieved from

Computer Emergency Readiness Team Makes Progress in Securing Cyberspace, but Challenges Remain. (2010). Retrieved from

After reading the background material and following the guidance there, please write a 3-4 page paper that covers three topics:

What is public-key cryptography and what are the pros and cons of it? What are the pros and cons of solving security via technology? What are the trends in information security technology?

Assignment Expectations:

Please use your own words. There are many sources on cryptograph on the Internet. Please do not cut and paste them over. You should try to use your own words to explain. Only in this way, you can fully digest what you learned. Write in a way that you explain the knowledge to your colleagues or co-workers.

When you discuss the trends in information security, use the suggested article as a reference. Your own opinions are always welcome. Please be clear, comprehensive and in-depth.


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