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Secure XML: The New Syntax for Signatures and Encryption by Kitty Niles, Donald E. Eastlake

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2.12. Cryptography: A Subtle Art

This chapter has presented just a brief overview of the basics of digital cryptography at a high level. Beyond the security of individual algorithms lies the question of overall system security. A secure system can be made insecure by the addition of one more operation/feature even if that operation is secure in isolation.

Technical progress in this area occurs constantly. Unless you want to make the study of this area into your life's work, we suggest you follow these guidelines:

  • Do not depend on security by obscurity (i.e., the secrecy of your algorithms). Depend only on the secrecy of symmetric and private keys.

  • Do not design your own basic cryptographic algorithms or formats. Use recent—but not too recent—strong ...

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