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Containerization has revolutionized software development and deployment by providing a portable, lightweight way to package applications. However, ensuring the integrity and security of container images has become a critical concern. One aspect of container security is verifying the authenticity and integrity of container images through proper container image signatures. In this blog, we will explore the importance of container image signatures and discuss strategies to gain better visibility into them.

Understanding Container Image Signatures

Container image signatures serve as digital fingerprints that verify the authenticity and integrity of container images. The act of signing container images allows developers to guarantee both the integrity and trustworthiness of the image, ensuring it has not undergone any unauthorized modifications and originates from a reliable source. These signatures are created using cryptographic algorithms and embedded within the container image. When a container is deployed, the signature is validated to ensure that it matches the image and has not been altered.

The Importance of Container Image Signatures, Container image signatures provide several key benefits that contribute to improved security and trust in containerized applications:

  1. Integrity Verification

    Container image signatures allow users to confirm the authenticity of the image by verifying that it has remained unaltered and free from tampering. Any unauthorized changes to the image can be detected, protecting against potential security breaches.

  2. Authentication

    Signatures provide a means to authenticate the origin of a container image. Users can verify that the image comes from a trusted source and has not been maliciously replaced or compromised during distribution.

  3. Trust and Compliance

    Container image signatures build trust between developers, system administrators, and end-users. Organizations can enforce policies to only allow signed images, ensuring compliance with security standards and minimizing the risk of deploying unverified or vulnerable containers.

  4. Supply Chain Security

    Container image signatures provide organizations with improved visibility and enhanced control over the software supply chain. They can ensure that all images, including those from third-party sources, are properly signed and meet the required security standards.

Gaining Visibility into Container Image Signatures

To gain better visibility into container image signatures, consider the following strategies:

  1. Automated Scanning and Verification

    Implement automated scanning and verification processes to validate container image signatures throughout the entire software development and deployment lifecycle. Utilize specialized tools that can automatically verify the signatures of container images and provide real-time feedback on their integrity.

  2. Centralized Container Image Registry

    Establish a centralized container image registry that enforces strict policies regarding signed images. Implement access controls to ensure that only trusted and signed images can be pushed and pulled from the registry. This helps in maintaining a consistent and secure image inventory.

  3. Continuous Monitoring and Auditing

    Implement a continuous monitoring and auditing system to track the usage and integrity of container images. Regularly review logs and reports to identify any anomalies or suspicious activities related to container image signatures. This proactive approach helps in detecting and mitigating potential security incidents promptly.

  4. Vulnerability Management

    Integrate vulnerability management practices into the container image pipeline. Regularly scan container images for known vulnerabilities and ensure that they are promptly patched or updated. The visibility gained through vulnerability management helps maintain the security and integrity of containerized applications.

  5. Education and Training

    Organize training sessions and workshops to educate developers, system administrators, and other stakeholders about container image signatures and their importance. Promote best practices for securely signing and verifying container images to ensure that everyone involved understands their role in maintaining container security.


Container image signatures play a vital role in ensuring the integrity, authenticity, and security of containerized applications. By gaining better visibility into these signatures, organizations can enhance their container security posture and mitigate the risks associated with unverified or compromised container images. Implementing automated scanning, maintaining a centralized image registry, continuous monitoring, vulnerability management, and educating stakeholders are essential to achieving better visibility into container image signatures. By embracing these strategies

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Datasheet of Code Signing Solution

Code signing is a process to confirm the authenticity and originality of digital information such as a piece of software code.

secure and flexible code signing solution

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

Reading Time : 4 minutes

Ransomware attacks have become a significant worry for organizations worldwide, with devastating consequences for data integrity and business operations. While organizations have implemented various security measures, one area that often goes overlooked is the security of macros and scripts. Throughout this blog post, we will delve into the significance of securing macros and scripts to prevent ransomware attacks and provide effective strategies to protect your organization’s valuable assets.

Understanding the Risk

Macros and scripts are powerful tools used to automate tasks in applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and web browsers. Unfortunately, they can also serve as an entry point for ransomware attacks if not properly secured. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in macros and scripts to deliver malicious code that encrypts files and demands a ransom for their release. Organizations must recognize the potential risks and take proactive steps to secure these critical components.

The Impact of Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks can have severe consequences for organizations, including:

  1. Data Loss and Disruption

    Ransomware can encrypt critical files and databases, rendering them inaccessible and causing significant disruptions to business operations. Recovering data without paying the ransom can be challenging or even impossible in some cases.

  2. Financial Loss

    Paying the ransom attackers’ demand can lead to substantial financial losses. Moreover, organizations may incur additional costs associated with incident response, recovery, and reputational damage.

  3. Reputational Damage

    Falling victim to a ransomware attack can tarnish an organization’s reputation, eroding customer trust and confidence. This can result in a business and potential legal repercussions’ loss.

Securing Macros and Scripts

To protect your organization’s macros and scripts from ransomware attacks, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. User Education and Awareness

    Educate users about the risks associated with macros and scripts and provide guidelines on safe practices. Encourage users to exercise caution when enabling macros or executing scripts from untrusted sources.

  2. Enable Macro and Script Security Features

    Leverage built-in security features provided by applications to restrict macro and script execution. For example, in Microsoft Office, enable the “Disable all macros except digitally signed macros” option to prevent untrusted macros from running.

  3. Implement Application Whitelisting

    Utilize application whitelisting to allow only approved and trusted macros and scripts to run within your organization’s environment. This approach ensures that unauthorized or potentially malicious code is blocked from execution.

  4. Regular Patching and Updates

    Keep applications and software, including macros and scripting engines, up to date with the latest patches and security updates. This helps mitigate vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.

  5. Use Advanced Threat Protection Solutions

    Implement advanced threat protection solutions that can detect and block malicious macros and scripts in real-time. These solutions leverage machine learning and behavioral analysis to identify and mitigate potential threats.

  6. Network Segmentation and Access Controls

    Implement network segmentation to restrict access between different systems and limit the lateral movement of ransomware. Additionally, enforce strong access controls to prevent unauthorized users from executing macros or scripts.

  7. Regular Backup and Recovery

    Maintain regular backups of critical data and verify their integrity periodically. It ensures that, in the event of a ransomware attack, you have the option to restore data without paying ransom.

  8. Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

    Implement MFA across your organization’s systems and applications to add an extra layer of security. It ensures that even if an attacker gains access to a user’s credentials, they still need additional authentication factors to execute macros or scripts.

  9. Code Review and Validation

    Establish a code review process to examine macros and scripts before deployment. Thoroughly review the code for any potential vulnerabilities or malicious code injections. Additionally, implement code signing to validate the authenticity and integrity of macros and scripts.

  10. Least Privilege Principle

    Adhere to the principle of least privilege, granting users only the necessary permissions to execute macros or scripts. Restricting elevated privileges minimizes the potential impact of a successful ransomware attack.

  11. Incident Response and Recovery Plan

    Develop a comprehensive incident response and recovery plan specifically tailored to ransomware attacks involving macros and scripts. This plan should outline the steps to take in the event of an attack, including isolating affected systems, notifying stakeholders, and restoring data from backups.

  12. Regular Security Assessments and Penetration Testing

    Regularly conduct security assessments and penetration testing to detect potential vulnerabilities within your organization’s systems, including macros and scripts. This proactive approach helps identify any weaknesses that may exist, allowing for timely remediation and strengthening of your security measures.

  13. Security Awareness Training

    Continuously educate and train employees on best practices for macro and script security. Offer simulated phishing exercises to raise awareness about the potential risks and to teach employees how to identify and avoid phishing attempts that often deliver ransomware.

  14. Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management

    Evaluate the security practices of vendors and third-party providers whose macros or scripts are utilized within your organization. Ensure they adhere to robust security standards and perform due diligence to mitigate potential risks.

  15. Regular Security Updates and Notifications

    Stay informed about the latest security vulnerabilities, exploits, and patches related to the applications and platforms your organization utilizes. Subscribe to security alerts and notifications from software vendors to promptly apply necessary updates and patches.


Securing macros and scripts is essential to protecting your organization from ransomware attacks. By combining user education, enabling security features, implementing whitelisting, regular patching, utilizing advanced threat protection, network segmentation, backup and recovery, MFA, code review, the principle of least privilege, incident response planning, security assessments, awareness training, vendor risk management, and staying updated with security updates, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of exposing macros and scripts to ransomware attacks. Remember, a comprehensive and layered security approach is key to safeguarding your organization’s critical data and operations from the ever-evolving threat landscape of ransomware.

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Datasheet of Code Signing Solution

Code signing is a process to confirm the authenticity and originality of digital information such as a piece of software code.

secure and flexible code signing solution

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

Reading Time : 5 minutes

In early 2021, it was reported that a ransomware group had stolen code signing certificates from NVIDIA, a leading graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer. Code signing certificates play a vital role in ensuring the legitimacy and reliability of software, and their theft can result in significant repercussions for both individuals and companies. In this article, we will explore what code-signing certificates are, how they are used, the risks associated with their theft, and what steps you can take to protect yourself.

“NVIDIA Code Signing Certificates Theft: A Wake-up Call for Robust Security Measures.”

The theft of code signing certificates from NVIDIA is a significant security breach that highlights the vulnerability of digital certificates and the importance of securing them. NVIDIA is a leading GPU manufacturer with a global customer base that relies on its software and products for various applications. With the theft of its code signing certificates, there is a risk that attackers could use them to distribute malware that appears to be from NVIDIA, which could have severe consequences for individuals and organizations. This incident underscores the need for robust security measures and the importance of implementing best practices to protect against cyber threats.

What are Code Signing Certificates?

Code signing certificates are digital certificates issued by trusted third-party certificate authorities (CAs) used to sign software. When a code signing certificate is used to sign software, it provides assurance that the software has not been tampered with or modified since it was signed and came from a trusted source.

Code signing certificates usually include the name of the software publisher, a timestamp, and a unique serial number. During the installation of software that has been signed with a code signing certificate, the user’s computer conducts an authenticity check by verifying the certificate’s digital signature against the certificate authority’s public key.

PKI as a service

The Risks of Stolen Code Signing Certificates

The theft of code signing certificates can have serious consequences. With a stolen certificate, an attacker can sign their malware and make it appear legitimate. This can deceive both users and security software, allowing the attacker to obtain confidential data or take control of a victim’s system.

In the case of NVIDIA, the REvil ransomware group stole three code-signing certificates that were used to sign drivers for NVIDIA’s GPUs. While there is no evidence that the certificates have been misused yet, the theft could allow attackers to sign and distribute malware that appears to be from NVIDIA. This could have serious consequences for individuals and organizations that rely on NVIDIA’s Software.

How to Protect Yourself from Code Signing Certificate Theft

To protect yourself from the theft of code signing certificates, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Keep Software Up to Date

    It is a necessary step in protecting yourself from attacks. It is imperative to ensure that the latest versions of the software, which have been signed with code signing certificates and contain the latest security patches, are being utilized.

  2. Verify Certificate Authenticity

    When you are installing software, make sure to verify the authenticity of the code signing certificate. This can be done by checking the publisher’s name, the timestamp, and the unique serial number against the certificate authority’s public key. If any of these do not match, This might imply that the certificate has been tampered with or is invalid.

  3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

    Multi-factor authentication adds an extra security layer to your accounts by requiring more than one authentication method. It will make it difficult for attackers to gain access to your accounts even if they have stolen your code signing certificate.

  4. Protect Your Private Keys

    Code signing certificates are only effective if the private key used to sign the software is kept secure. Make sure to protect your private keys with strong passwords, and consider storing them in a secure hardware device such as a smart card or USB token.

  5. Monitor for Suspicious Activity

    Regularly monitor your systems for suspicious activity, such as unexpected software installations or network traffic. This can help to identify potential attacks early and allow you to take action to mitigate the damage.


By proactively protecting yourself from the theft of code signing certificates, you can help mitigate the risks and keep your systems and data secure. While staying ahead of cyber threats can be challenging, taking these steps can significantly reduce your risk and give you peace of mind. As technology continues to advance, it’s essential to stay informed and adapt your security practices accordingly. Remember to stay vigilant and stay up to date with the latest security best practices to protect yourself from the ever-evolving threat of cyber-attacks.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 is a set of standards established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for security requirements in cryptographic modules used in government systems. Cryptographic modules are computer hardware or software that protect data through encryption or other cryptographic methods. The purpose of the FIPS 140-2 standard is to provide a level of assurance that these cryptographic modules are secure and will protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or tampering.

FIPS 140-2 security levels

The standard defines four security levels, each representing an increased security level. The levels range from minimal protection to the highest level of security available. They are intended to provide organizations with a way to choose a cryptographic module that meets their specific security requirements. The four security levels are as follows

  1. Level 1

    This level provides basic protection and is used for applications where cost is a primary consideration. The security requirements at this level are minimal and are designed to prevent the most basic attacks.

  2. Level 2

    This level provides increased security compared to Level 1 and is used for applications where security is more important than cost. This level includes additional security requirements such as key generation, storage, and operational security.

  3. Level 3

    This level offers the highest level of security available under the FIPS 140-2 standard and is used for applications that require the highest level of security. At this level, cryptographic modules must provide multiple layers of security and must be tested against a comprehensive set of attacks.

  4. Level 4

    This level provides the ultimate level of security and is used for applications that require the protection of classified information. Cryptographic modules at this level must meet stringent security requirements and be tested against various sophisticated attacks.

Level Release Date Physical Security Cryptographic Key Management Approved Algorithms
1 May 25, 2006 Basic Limited AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA
2 May 25, 2006 Intermediate Improved AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA
3 May 25, 2006 High Robust AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA
4 May 25, 2006 High Robust AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA
Table 2 : FIPS 140-2 Security Levels Comparison Chart

Security Levels Comparison based on

Physical Security

  1. Level 1

    Basic physical security mechanisms, such as tamper-evident packaging, are in place.

  2. Level 2

    Intermediate physical security mechanisms, such as tamper-evident packaging and secure power and reset controls, are in place.

  3. Level 3

    High physical security mechanisms, such as tamper-evident packaging, secure power and reset controls, and physical protection against tampering and unauthorized access, are in place.

  4. Level 4

    The highest level of physical security, with physical protection against tampering and unauthorized access and a secure environment for the module.

Cryptographic Key Management

  1. Level 1

    Limited key management, with the keys generated and used within the module.

  2. Level 2

    Improved key management, with the keys generated, stored, and used within the module, and the ability to securely update keys.

  3. Level 3

    Robust key management, with secure key generation, storage, and use, and the ability to securely update keys.

  4. Level 4

    The highest level of key management, with secure key generation, storage, use, and the ability to securely update keys, and a secure environment for the module.

Approved Algorithms

  1. Level 1, 2, and 3

    AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA algorithms are approved for use at each level.

  2. Level 4

    AES, DES/3DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1/224/256/384/512, DSA, ECDSA algorithms are approved for use at this level.

It’s important to note that the specific security requirements for each level and the algorithms approved for use at each level may be subject to change as technology and security needs evolve.

FIPS 140-2 Security Levels Key Features

Cryptographic algorithms

Cryptographic algorithms play a crucial role in protecting sensitive information and are an important consideration when choosing a cryptographic module. FIPS 140-2 requires that all cryptographic algorithms used in cryptographic modules be approved by NIST and strong enough to provide the required level of security. In addition, the standard requires that cryptographic algorithms be implemented correctly in the cryptographic module to ensure the desired level of security is achieved.

Key management

Key management is a vital component of any cryptographic system, and FIPS 140-2 requires that all cryptographic modules implement secure key management processes. The standard specifies key generation, storage, and transmission requirements to ensure that cryptographic keys are protected from unauthorized access or tampering. This includes requirements for secure key storage, secure key transmission, and the use of secure key escrow processes.

Physical security

Physical security is a vital aspect of protecting cryptographic modules, and the FIPS 140-2 standard specifies requirements for the physical security of cryptographic modules. This includes requirements for the environment in which the cryptographic module must operate, such as temperature, humidity, and electromagnetic interference, and for physical protection from tampering or theft.

Operational security

Operational security refers to the security of the cryptographic module during normal operation, and the FIPS 140-2 standard specifies requirements for operational security. This includes requirements for user authentication, access control, audit logging, and protecting the cryptographic module against unauthorized access, tampering, or modification.

Testing and certification

To ensure compliance with the FIPS 140-2 standard, cryptographic modules must undergo extensive testing by an accredited third-party laboratory. The laboratory must be accredited by NIST and must follow the procedures specified in the standard. Once the cryptographic module has been tested and certified as compliant with the standard, it can be used in government systems that use cryptographic modules that meet the FIPS 140-2 security requirements.


In conclusion, using FIPS 140-2 cryptographic modules assures organizations that their cryptographic systems meet rigorous security requirements and are suitable for protecting sensitive information. By requiring strict security requirements for key management, physical security, operational security, and testing and certification, the FIPS 140-2 standard guarantees that their cryptographic systems are secure, and that sensitive information is protected against unauthorized access or tampering.

The standard provides a clear framework for evaluating cryptographic modules and helps organizations to choose a cryptographic module that meets their specific security needs.

It is important for organizations to be aware of the security requirements specified by the FIPS 140-2 standard and to choose cryptographic modules that meet the standard’s requirements. This will ensure that their cryptographic systems are secure and provide the required level of protection for sensitive information. 

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.


What is a TLS/SSL Port?

Within the network, constant communication is always happening while using computer systems and software. There must be various components for this communication mechanism to function. A telephone, for example, requires a sender, a receiver, and a signal to connect the two ports. They contain unique numerical addresses that allow the system to determine where the information is transmitted.

These ports are configured to guide traffic to the appropriate destinations; in other words, they are the assistants that instruct systems engaged in determining which service is being sought. Services vary from unencrypted HTTP web traffic on port 80 to FTP on port 21, which transports data and files between servers and clients.

There are 65,535 ports, although not all of them are used daily. On the other hand, the TLS/SSL port is one of the most regularly used ports and is almost certainly utilized daily. So, what port does TLS/SSL use? The TLS/SSL port is 443, HTTPS, and employs TLS/SSL certificates to safeguard port communications. HTTP is the unsecure protocol port (port 80).

What are the most often used TCP ports?

Managing TLS/SSL certificates necessitates a thorough understanding of security and network connectivity. Knowing some of the most frequent TCP (or transmission control protocol) ports may be important.

For your convenience, we’ve created a list of these popular TCP ports and their functions.

Unsecured port numbers with their function:

  • 80, HTTP
  • 21, FTP
  • 119, NNTP
  • 389, LDAP
  • 143, IMAP
  • 110, POP3

Secured port numbers with their function:

  • 443, HTTPS
  • 990, FTPS
  • 563, NNTPS
  • 636, LDAPS
  • 993, IMAPS
  • 995, POP3S

What Is the Purpose of Port 443?

As previously stated, TLS/SSL certificates secure port 443 communications. The primary role of TLS/SSL certificates is to protect information so that online traffic or cybercriminals cannot access it. This is why many businesses choose HTTPS over HTTP to safeguard their data from being exposed or compromised while it is being transferred and received.

SSL vs. TLS and HTTP vs. HTTPS: How do they function together?


SSL certificates are a defunct word for what is now known as TLS certificates. They fundamentally provide identical security duties, yet many individuals continue to use the word SSL while others use TLS. It’s vital to keep in mind that they aren’t different, which is why certificates are commonly referred to as TLS/SSL, so that people understand that they are not different.


HTTP and HTTPS are not two distinct protocols. Rather, HTTPS is a specialized form of HTTP that employs TLS/SSL certificates. HTTPS is thus simply a safer version of HTTP that is safer to use while transferring data.

How do they function together?

The default network will begin with HTTP. To protect your network, you must install a TLS/SSL certificate on the web server that you are using. After that, the certificate will confirm your organization’s identity in order to launch the HTTPS protocol. This ensures that data is safely sent from a web server to a web browser.

Why are SSL ports necessary?

You may be asking why your network server needs an SSL port over other ports and internet connection techniques. TLS/SSL certificates will be your most dependable ticket to secure data transport. While safety is paramount, there are a few additional factors to consider:

  1. PCI compliance requires the use of HTTPS:

    In order to accept any form of online payment, you must be PCI compliant. This will also protect both your data and the information of your customers.

  2. HTTPS is faster than HTTP

    If you have a TLS/SSL certificate-protected page that is HTTPS, your information will most likely load significantly faster than it would on an HTTP website.

  3. Cybercrime

    With more businesses, consumers, and internet hackers utilizing the internet on a daily basis, it’s reasonable to assume that security is more important than ever. Using an SSL certificate port to secure your organization is one of the finest preventative actions you can do when it comes to cyber security.

Managing TLS/SSL Certificates

Keeping your apps safe frequently boils down to good TLS certificate management. The use of TLS/SSL certificates is a critical initial step. However, many businesses overlook the need to safeguard their systems against compromise and misuse.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

Quantum computers analyze enormous data sets and execute complex computations significantly faster than traditional computers. Google constructed a quantum computer in 2019 that could calculate in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Still, regular supercomputers would have taken 10,000 years to solve the identical calculation, proving quantum edge or quantum supremacy.

While quantum computing is still in its early stages, upheavals in various areas, including cybersecurity, may occur much sooner than you think. The impact of quantum computing on cybersecurity is tremendous and game-changing.

Quantum computing shows significant promise in various fields, including weather forecasting, artificial intelligence, medical research, etc. However, it poses a substantial threat to cybersecurity, necessitating a shift in how we secure our data.

While quantum computers cannot currently break most of our present types of encryptions, we must immediately keep ahead of the risk and develop quantum-proof solutions. It will be too late if we wait till those powerful quantum computers begin breaking our encryption.

An additional reason to act now

Regardless of when commercially available quantum computers will emerge, the potential of malicious actors harvesting data is another reason to quantum-proof data now. They are already grabbing data and storing it until they can obtain a quantum computer to decipher it.

The data will have already been compromised at that point. The only way to maintain information security, particularly information that must be kept indefinitely, is to protect it today via quantum-safe key transmission.

Quantum Threat to Cybersecurity

Quantum computers will be capable of solving issues that traditional computers are incapable of solving. This involves deciphering the algorithms underlying the encryption keys that safeguard our data and the Internet’s infrastructure.

The encryption used nowadays is largely built on mathematical calculations that would take far too long to decipher on today’s machines. Scientists have been working on constructing quantum computers that can factor progressively bigger numbers since then. Consider two large integers and multiply them together to simplify this. It’s simple to calculate the product, but it’s considerably more difficult to start with a huge number and divide it into its two prime numbers. However, a quantum computer can readily factor those numbers and break the code.

Peter Shor created a quantum method (aptly titled Shor’s algorithm) that can factor in big numbers far faster than a traditional computer.

Today’s RSA encryption is extensively used for transferring critical data over the Internet and is based on 2048-bit numbers. Experts believe that breaking that encryption would require a quantum computer with up to 70 million qubits. The largest quantum computer available today is IBM’s 53-qubit quantum computer, so it may be long before that encryption to be broken.

As the speed of quantum research continues to accelerate, such a computer cannot be developed within the next 3-5 years.

For example, Google and Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology discovered “a more efficient technique for quantum computers to do the code-breaking calculations, decreasing required resources by orders of magnitude” earlier this year. Their research, featured in the MIT Technology Review, proved that a 20 million-qubit computer could break a 2048-bit number in about 8 hours. However, given the rapid speed of quantum research, such a computer cannot be developed within 3-5 years. That means that continued advances like this will keep pushing the timescale forward.

It’s worth mentioning that perishable sensitive data isn’t the major concern when it comes to the quantum encryption issue. The more serious concern is the susceptibility of information that must remain secret indefinitely, such as banking data, privacy data, national security-level data, etc. Those are the secrets that need to be protected by quantum-proof encryption right now.

Adapting Cybersecurity to Respond to the Threat

Researchers have been working hard to produce “quantum-safe” encryption in recent years. There are many unanswered problems in quantum computing, and scientists are working hard to find answers.

However, one thing is certain about the influence of quantum computing on cybersecurity: it will represent a danger to cybersecurity and current types of encryptions. To mitigate that threat, we must change how we secure our data and begin doing it now.

We must handle the quantum threat the same way we approach other security vulnerabilities: by adopting a defense-in-depth strategy that includes many layers of quantum-safe protection. Security-conscious enterprises recognize the need for crypto agility.

They are looking for crypto-diverse solutions, such as those provided by Encryption Consulting LLC, quantum-safe their encryption now and quantum-ready for tomorrow’s challenges.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

In February, TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to resolve a class-action privacy lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claim TikTok obtained biometric data illegally, mined user information from unpublished draughts, and improperly shared data with third firms such as Google and Facebook.

What Happened Next?

TikTok has agreed to resolve a class-action lawsuit over the collection and use of personal data from TikTok users. This agreement was reached because of 21 lawsuits, a few of which were filed on behalf of minors, and it affects about 89 million TikTok users.

TikTok rejected all the charges made in the complaints but agreed to a $92 million settlement for affected users. “While we disagree with the statements, rather than engaging in prolonged litigation, we’d like to focus our efforts on creating a safe and pleasant experience for the TikTok community,” TikTok said in February after reaching a deal.

So, what aspects of personal information and data privacy did TikTok violate? We can’t be sure because the lawsuit was settled out of court. However, based on the charges and TikTok’s settlement, we can detect possible and likely privacy violations.

The Personal Data Problem

The plaintiffs claim TikTok obtained biometric data illegally, mined user information from unpublished draughts, and inappropriately shared data with third-party firms such as Google and Facebook.

TikTok is accused of using face recognition to obtain a competitive edge over other social media apps. According to the lawsuit, facial recognition was utilized to assess personal information like as age, gender, and race in order to recommend content.

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act granted Illinois residents the opportunity to sue TikTok for utilizing their biometric information without their permission.

The suit claimed that the app mined information from drafted and unposted films and that the user’s personal data was being improperly provided to third parties.

TikTok apparently made improvements as part of the deal to avoid the lawsuit going to trial. They will erase some data; however, whether this data is unpublished draughts or biometrics is unknown.

TikTok has also stated that it will no longer gather biometric data, track user location, harvest information from user-created content, or store US citizens’ data outside the US. All of this, however, may be rectified if its privacy policies are openly published.

The Settlement

Although a $92 million settlement may appear considerable, if applied to all impacted consumers, those in the nationwide subclass would receive a compensation of $0.96 due to attorney fees.

On the other hand, Illinois residents will earn more (up to $5.75 if every eligible person files a claim). Even if only 20% of users claim a portion of the settlement, customers nationwide may only earn $4.79.

An app notice notified Eligible users of the TikTok Data Privacy Notice of Settlement. These specifics can still be seen on the TikTok data privacy settlement website.

Even though TikTok has not agreed to any privacy violations, this settlement has resulted in TikTok entering into new agreements to protect users’ personal data and biometric data.

Many individuals are concerned about TikTok’s suspected use of personal data because they were previously ignorant of the app’s privacy concerns. While the social media behemoth was able to resolve these allegations out of court, the case demonstrates customers’ growing awareness of privacy concerns.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Handshake Failed error occurs when a secure connection fails to be established between a server and a client.

The term “SSL handshake” may appear enigmatic or out of context for those unfamiliar with the technology. If you’re in such a situation and need to figure out why this issue is appearing on your PC, keep reading until the end.

In this article, we will not only define an SSL handshake but also look at why this mistake occurs and what you can do to correct it.

What is an SSL Handshake?

The SSL handshake includes algorithm agreement, certificate exchange, and key exchange utilizing the shared algorithm. So, the ‘SSL handshake’ is the name given to a carefully developed method that aids in the encryption of client-server communication using cryptographic keys.

These keys are exchanged between the client and the server using one of two mutually agreed-upon shared algorithms. If an issue occurs during this process, the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error appears.

What causes the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error?

When two endpoints (server and client) fail to establish a secure connection, an SSL handshake error, also known as error 525, occurs. This can be caused by a variety of difficulties, either on the server or on the client side. If you’re seeing this error, don’t worry; no matter what’s causing it, we’ll help you fix it in no time.

Let us now look at potential solutions to the SSL handshake problem.

How to Fix the “SSL Handshake Failed” Error?

  • Check the time and date on your system

    Before you try any other solution for your SSL handshake error, we strongly advise you to check your system’s date and time. As ridiculous as it may appear, this works for most folks who encounter this type of problem. So, don’t underestimate the power of your system’s date and time settings, which may be incorrect for various reasons.

    It could be incorrect owing to carelessness, a software error caused by malware, or just because you are connecting to a server in another time zone using a VPN. If you are using a VPN, it is advised that you set the date and time to the server’s time zone. This relates to the server’s location’s date and time rather than your physical location.

    Windows users can reset the date and time as follows:

    • Click on the ‘Windows’ option.
    • Enter ‘Date and Time Settings’ and select the appropriate option.
    • Toggle the ‘set time automatically’ button to set the time automatically.
    • If you are using a VPN or need to set the time for any other reason manually, use the ‘Set the date and time manually’ option.
    Windows users can reset the date and time

    On a Mac, the same thing can be done by going to ‘Menu’ and then ‘System Preferences.’ Similar settings are available for all other operating systems.

  • Update your web browser

    You must always keep your operating system and programs up to date. Many issues, including the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error, can be avoided simply by doing this.

    Chrome users can verify this by opening the browser and clicking on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner. Next, select ‘More Tools’, and if your Chrome browser requires an update, you may find it here. If you don’t, it simply indicates that your Chrome browser is up to date.

  • Deactivate any newly installed plugins or extensions

    Most browser plugins and extensions are created by unknown people and may include harmful malware. If you recently installed one of those and are getting the SSL handshake issue, try deleting it and clearing your cache and cookies. After that, reconnect to the same website to see whether you can create a secure connection.

    Chrome users can delete the addon by following the procedures below:

    • Select the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.
    • Select ‘Settings.’
    • Choose ‘Extensions.’
    • Select the extension you just installed and click Remove.
    Chrome Settings
  • Protocol Mismatch

    Many users encounter the SSL handshake problem because of protocol incompatibility between the server and the client. Essentially, there are several versions of the SSL/TLS protocol available, and for a successful handshake, the web server and browser must support the same version.

    The SSL handshake problem frequently appears when the server is running a protocol version significantly greater than the client machine.

    For example, if the server utilizes TLS 1.3 but the browser supports TLS 1.1, the SSL handshake will likely fail because servers do not support earlier versions. You can resolve this by restoring your browser’s original settings and using it without any plugins.

    To restore your Chrome browser’s default settings, click the three vertical dots in the top-right corner, then select ‘Settings’ and then ‘System.’ Finally, click the ‘reset settings to original default’ button to finish.

    Protocol Mismatch
  • Expired Certificate

    SSL creates an encrypted connection between the browser and the server. Whatever data is sent between these two, SSL assures its privacy and security. Because of SSL, we can walk across safe online areas as passionate internet users.

    Because security certificates have validity periods, they do expire. These dates are a crucial way of ensuring the security of SSL. The validity period governs and certifies server legitimacy, allowing your web browser to determine the server’s identity.

    You may be experiencing the handshake problem because you are attempting to access a website with an invalid certificate.


We’ve gone through some of the most effective fixes for the SSL handshake issue, which might be caused by the browser or system settings. In most cases, changing the time and date settings or deleting the problematic browser extensions resolves the issue.

Only the website owner or administrator may resolve the ‘SSL handshake failed’ issue on the server. Some typical server-side difficulties include an invalid SSL certificate, a free SSL certificate obtained from a fraudulent source, cipher suite issues, and faulty SSL certificate installation. In that scenario, you should contact the website’s owner or administrator for a quick resolution.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

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About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

If you work with online payments, you are aware of the value of protecting cardholder data, particularly credit card information. The meaning of the digits on your credit card or your customer’s credit card may be something you are unaware of. This article will discuss the BIN(Bank Identification Number), which is the first four to six numbers on a credit card, as well as how to protect against BIN Fraud.

What is a BIN Number?

The first 4-6 numbers on a credit or debit card are the bank identification number (BIN), which is used to identify the card issuer. The first digit signifies the card’s key industry, and the following digits identify the card’s issuing financial institution. Tracking cards and transactions back to their users is simpler using these numbers. All the cards like gift cards, credit cards, debit cards, and charge cards have BINs.

The Bank Identification Number can be used to identify fraud instances such as card theft and identity theft. The type of card being used, location of the card issuer, and the card issuing bank can be determined using BINs. To find fraudulent charges, this information can be compared to cardholder data.

Since cards can be issued by organizations other than banks, Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) are occasionally referred to as Issuer Identification Numbers (IINs).

How do you find your Bank Identification Number?

The numbers on your card aren’t just random numbers. Your card’s bank identification number can be found in the first four to six numbers. The BIN indicates which card issuer and network are in charge of that specific card.

The Major Industry Identifier (MII), the first digit on your card, designates a broad group that the card belongs to. For instance, although the number 1 is for airline cards, the numbers 4 and 5 are for banking and financial cards, primarily Visa and Mastercard. The next three or five numbers under the BIN identify the issuing party.

The remaining numbers are the unique account identification numbers, which are not BINs. The Luhn check digit, which is the last digit on your card, is a single check digit produced by the Luhn algorithm and is used to swiftly determine whether a credit card number is legitimate.

How do BINs work?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the bank identification number to identify organizations that produce payment cards. While the ISO is an international nongovernmental organization that develops standards for numerous industries, the ANSI is a nonprofit organization (NPO) that produces business standards in the United States.

Every payment card is assigned four to six numbers at random. The card’s front features an embossed number that is printed below it. The major industry identifier is specified by the first digit. Following digit specifies the issuing organization or bank. For instance, Visa credit cards, which starts with a four, come under the category of finance and banking.

Customers inputs their card information on the payment screen when making an online transaction. The online merchant can determine which organization issued the customer’s card after receiving the first four to six digits of the card, including:

  • Brand of the card or Major Industry Identifier, such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Diner’s Club.
  • Level of the card, like corporate or platinum
  • Type of Card
  • Country of the Issuing bank

When a transaction is requested by a customer, an authorization request is received by the user to verify the card and account validity and purchase amount validity. Following this procedure, the charge is either accepted or rejected. Without a BIN, the transaction cannot be completed by the credit card processing system because it will be unable to identify the customer’s funds source.

How can BINs prevent fraud?

Merchants can use BINs to check transactions and look for suspicious details like a bank location and billing address in two separate nations. The merchant can get in touch with the issuer specified by the BIN to confirm details if a transaction seems questionable.

Even though the data a BIN provides is basic, it can be used to flag some potentially fraudulent transactions as suspicious.

For example, it might not be all that odd for a company in the UK to receive an order from a client in Spain, but if the BIN revealed that the card was issued by a Canadian bank, there might be a good reason to investigate that transaction further.

The BIN and other data are used by several fraud prevention technologies to identify possible fraudulent transactions.

What further purposes do BINs serve?

Additionally, BINs offer retailers useful data that may be used to study chargebacks, client demographics, and shifting buying patterns.

Merchants can send customers personalized discounts and offers by using BIN information to determine the type of card they use.

On the other side, if a client uses a gift card, it can mean that one of their friends or family members knows they frequently make purchases from you or suspects that they might be interested in doing so. It might be a good idea to provide the consumer with information about your customer loyalty program to keep them as a customer in the future.

BIN data may also point to an issuer who is more frequently rejecting your representation packages than other banks or issuing an excessive number of chargebacks against your company. Such information can assist you in identifying any errors you may be making or in customizing your representation for that specific issuer.

What is BIN Scamming?

A fraud scheme is called a BIN scam. When a fraudster calls your bank pretending to be from your bank and informs them that your account information has been compromised, the incident takes place. To win your trust, the con artist may divulge facts to you. Once they have you, they start by asking where you bank and then attempt to verify the card number.

They ask you to confirm the remaining card digits and any other information they can acquire from you after giving you the bank identification number once they have that information.


To determine which payment cards, belong to which issuing financial institution, bank identity numbers are utilized. Aside from that, they also assist in facilitating financial transactions and guaranteeing consumers’ security against fraud and identity theft. Keeping your financial information, especially your BIN, private is crucial for this reason.

Keep in mind that your bank will never contact you by phone or email to let you know that the security of your account has been breached. Never talk to a scammer on the phone if you ever get one. Hang up instead and inform your bank.

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Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

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About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

What is an NFT?

An exclusive digital asset owned by an individual or organization is referred to as a non-fungible token (NFT). These materials reflect actual objects, ranging from works of art to tweets. Non-fungible tokens, such as the cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Bitcoin, have distinctive identification numbers. Each NFT has a unique digital signature that is kept in a smart contract and prevents equal exchange for another object. These signatures serve as evidence of an NFT’s ownership. In comparison to other blockchains that do not keep public transaction logs for each token, NFTs are a more trustworthy way to purchase and sell on the Ethereum blockchain market.

While purchasers have the chance to own original works of art that no one else has, creators have a fantastic opportunity to advertise their digital creations. This results in a finite supply of digital materials, as you can see. Indeed, this appeals to potential investors who want to fund artists and NFTs. This may, however, exclude those who need more cash to buy non-fungible tokens, which can cost anything from a few dollars to millions of dollars. 

Types of NFTs:

  • GIFs
  • Music
  • Real Estate
  • Artwork
  • Trading Cards
  • Tweets
  • Video Clips
  • In-game items
  • Photographs
  • Domain Names

What is Tokenization?

Unlike NFTs, which represent irreplaceable digital assets, tokenization refers to a method of protecting sensitive data. Particularly, a tokenization platform will trade sensitive data from clients for non-sensitive data, or “tokens.” The numbers are generated randomly in tokens and have no significance or connection to the original data. This is distinct from encrypted data, which a skilled hacker can decipher. Since there is no mathematical relationship between the token and the original data, tokens cannot be decoded. Tokenization is a reliable security method for defending sensitive consumer data from online threats like data leaks.

Whatever kind of business you run, you probably have some sensitive data that has to be protected from hackers. Your tokens can be securely kept and managed in a third-party database separate from your internal systems by working with a tokenization provider. As a result, your company can keep using the tokenized data for operational needs without having to worry about security risks from a breach or stringent compliance requirements for maintaining sensitive data in your internal environment.

Why are NFTs important?

Non-fungible tokens can be said to be a development of the concept of cryptocurrency. For many asset categories, such as real estate, artworks and lending contracts, modern finance systems include complicated trading and financing systems. NFTs advance the reinvention of this infrastructure by allowing digital representations of physical assets.

To be clear, neither the concept of using unique identification nor the idea of digital representations of real goods is new. But when these concepts are combined with the benefits of a smart contract blockchain that is impervious to manipulation, they become a potent force for change. The clearest benefit of NFTs is probably their market efficiency. A physical asset being transformed into a digital one makes the process easier and eliminates middlemen. Without the need for agents, NFTs that represent tangible or digital works of art on a blockchain enable artists to communicate with their audiences directly. Additionally, they can enhance corporate procedures.

Tokens that are non-fungible are also great for managing identities. NFTs can also be used for identity management in the digital sphere, expanding upon this use case.

How do NFTs work?

A variety of digital assets that reflect both actual and intangible real-world objects are used to produce or mint an NFT.

Owners of NFTs receive a digital file that they are completely entitled to own in place of a tangible object. There can only ever be one owner of a non-fungible token. Owners and creators can both add data to the NFT’s metadata. An artist could, for instance, digitally sign an NFT. This can increase brand recognition within the digital art community and aid in recognizing the artist’s work. People may easily authenticate and trace ownership as well as transfer tokens to new owners which is possible due to each token’s unique data.

Non-fungible tokens are additionally kept on a blockchain, which is a digital ledger that records transactions. The blockchain is used by buyers and sellers to determine who has owned a particular NFT. NFTs are normally kept on the Ethereum blockchain, however other markets may also accept them. The cryptocurrency Ethereum supports several tokens, including bitcoin, dogecoin, and NFTs.

How does Tokenization work?

A data security technique called tokenization includes replacing sensitive data with an identical non-sensitive piece of information called a token. The token includes illogically created numbers that were generated randomly and do not represent any original data. The strategy used by the provider and the requirements of the organization will ultimately determine which method is used to carry out this process.

  • Using hash function, which is non-reversible.
  • Use a number generated randomly or an index function

Regardless of the technique employed, the sensitive data will be swapped out for the token until the time comes when the original data must be utilized, such as when a merchant must make a payment. The original sensitive data will then be revealed when the token is returned, and it can then be utilized for commercial reasons.

Are NFTs safe?

Non-fungible tokens, which operate on the same blockchain as cryptocurrencies, are typically secure. NFTs are challenging to hack due to the distributed nature of blockchains, yet they are not impossible. If the platform hosting the NFT goes out of business, you could lose access to your non-fungible token, which poses a security issue for NFTs.


Non-fungible tokens are distinctive digital images of objects that exist on a blockchain. NFTs play a crucial role as the world investigates how distributed, immutable ledgers might make transacting safer and quicker. These assets are a pillar of the developing digital world, have their transaction history recorded, and can expedite commerce.

Tokenization has many advantages, including the level of difficulty attackers face when attempting to steal tokenized information. Since sensitive data that is tokenized without a token vault cannot be reversed, then this form of tokenization is completely safe from attackers. Even if the data is stolen, it cannot be reverted to back to its normal form, so it is useless to attackers. If the tokenization is done with a token vault, it is still extremely difficult for hackers to steal the information. Though the tokens are related to their plaintext, the data in the token vault still tends to be encrypted as well, just as a secondary precaution.

Free Downloads

Datasheet of Encryption Consulting Services

Encryption Consulting is a customer focused cybersecurity firm that provides a multitude of services in all aspects of encryption for our clients.

Encryption Services

About the Author

Prabhat Kumar Tomar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs, and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

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