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DESIGN OF A CRYPTOGRAPHIC SYSTEM USING AES ALGORITHM  AND A COMBINATION OF BLAKE2B AND SHA-3 HASH FUNCTIONS TO SECURE STUDENT INFORMATION FILES STORED ON HARD DISK DRIVES 

 

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of Study

This digital age is currently facing the problem of creating a balance between convenience and security. Security is the mechanism by which information and services are protected from unintended or unauthorised access, change or destruction (Gurpreet and Supriya, 2013), security is a system safeguards for protecting information technology against disasters, system failure, and an unauthorized access that can result in damage, loss or exposure. There are several reports of spammers, crawlers and hackers who undermine the privacy of organizations and individuals to gain illegal access to their data. This has posed greater challenges on people who use database, transact online, and internet users. Information is a valuable and costly asset that must be presented, controlled and planned just like other valuable assets within an organization. This work is designed to provide a security mechanism using a computerized Data Encryption System to securely store student information files.

One of the techniques used to secure data stored in computerised devices is Cryptography, Cryptography is a process which is associated with scrambling plaintext (ordinary text or clear text) into cipher text (a process called encryption), then back again to plain text known as decryption (Rajan and Geeta, 2013). Cryptography is not only used to prevent the alteration and theft of data but can be used for authentication, for the purpose of this research work, cryptographic algorithms will be categorized based on the number of keys used for encryption and decryption, and further defined by their application and use. In all cases, the initial unencrypted data is referred to as plain text. Generally, there are three types of cryptographic techniques used to accomplish these goals. The first scheme is known as Secret Key Cryptography (SKC), it uses the same key for both encryption and decryption. Another technique is called Public Key Cryptography (PKC), it uses two separate keys, one of which is private and one of which is public. The public key is used to encrypt the message and the private key is used to decrypt the message. The third technique is the use of Hash Functions, it is a mathematical function that takes an arbitrary length of data as an input and produces a fixed size of an output (Mohammad and Imad, 2013).

There are other techniques used in hiding data like Stenography and Watermarking but in this research work, an enhanced Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cryptographic technique is proposed for the security of student information files stored in hard disk drives and system users will be authenticated using two hash functions (Blake2b and SHA-3).The student information files that are to be encrypted are generated from a student information system, a student information system is a form of management information system that is used by education organizations to manage the data of their students. Information as we all know is processed data, according to (Shannon, Claude, 1949), information is any type of pattern that influences the formation or transformation of other patterns. Information security is a serious concern for these organizations such as universities which stores sensitive personal information, making them attractive targets for security breaches.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The problem to be solved in this research work is known as data falsification and illegal access to information which is a major concern for all computer users including large organizations. data falsification is any forgery action on stored information in users’ systems. Information about students in any education establishment or organization which at this age uses a computerised-student information system needs to be properly stored and should be handled by the right authority.

Therefore, this project seeks to address the challenges facing the security of student information stored on hard disk drives by encrypting them using an enhanced AES cryptographic algorithm, storing them in a database and making sure that it is only accessed by the authorised user by using a hashing technique.

 

1.3     Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to develop a Cryptographic System using AES algorithm and a combination of Blake2b and SHA-3 hash functions to secure student information files stored on hard disk drives. The objectives are to;

  1. Develop a secured system that performs file encryption functions using AES encryption algorithm, Blake2b and SHA-3.
  2. Implement a secured system that will hide student information from unauthorized users.

1.4     Methodology

The methods employed in this project work are;

  1. An enhanced AES algorithm for the encryption of files.
  2. A Blake2b and SHA-3 hash function for user authentication.
  3. An SQLite database to implement the backend of the system.
  4. Python programming language for the frontend of the system.

 

1.5     Significance of the Study

This research work will help secure student information files generated from a student information system and stored in hard disk drives of a computer system. It will also serve as a reference point for researches and it will equally aid students who are interested in cryptography.

 

1.6     Scope of the Study

This research work covers the use of AES algorithm to encrypt and decrypt files stored on hard disk drives with an authentication module using Blake2b and SHA-3 hash functions which will be limited to text files, PCs and does not require a server or a network.

 

 

 

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