
Mini Review


A Review on Multimedia Communications Cryptography 

Yasser Salem,
Mohamed Abomhara,
Othman O. Khalifa,
A.A. Zaidan
and
B.B. Zaidan



ABSTRACT

Nowadays, Due to the repaid increasing and continuous use of multimedia communications on the internet, Security is becoming more and more relevant and important. However, special and reliable security is required for the many multimedia applications available such as video conferencing, digital television and mobile TV. The classical techniques of data security are not appropriate for the current multimedia usage. This study will presents the currently algorithm of multimedia encryption schemes that have been proposed in the literature and description the effectiveness of the multimedia security. It is a comparative study between symmetric key encryption and asymmetric key encryption in achieving an efficient, flexible and secure video data.





Received: May 23, 2011;
Accepted: May 30, 2011;
Published: September 05, 2011


INTRODUCTION
Internet and multimedia have widespread application in areas such as digital
television, mobile TV and videoconferencing. Once multimedia goes beyond simple
public communications, then various factors have to be considered. One important
factor to consider is that data security. Information sent or transmitted over
the public networks must have reliable protection. The protection for multimedia
applications can be achieved by using cryptography (Zaidan
et al., 2010b, c).
Cryptography can protect multimedia applications in different ways. The multimedia
applications are subjected to encryption and decryption so that it can be read
only by authorized receivers (Ahmed et al., 2010).
The use of cryptography also ensures that the data reaches its destination without
change (not tempered with). It verifies the identity of the communicating parties
and ensures that none of them can deny that he/she has sent or received a specific
video (nonrepudiation) (AlFrajat et al., 2010).
PROBLEM DESCRIPTION
Today, the use of multimedia data and contents are very widespread and is becoming
a part of our daily life. In the absence of a reliable security system to protect
multimedia data, multimedia users on the public networks like the Internet face
risk of their sensitive information being compromised (Zaidan
et al., 2010a). It is necessary, therefore, to provide adequate security
for such information so that the service provided is reliable for conducting
various types of business transactions. There is a need for endtoend encryption
for multimedia data. Due to the fact that, while communication between users
can be made secure using encryption, multimedia transmitted between them through
a public network is not encrypted.
The results from a number of researches indicate that multimedia data can be
encrypted using symmetric key algorithm. Thus, the use of the symmetric key
algorithm is a solution to provide endtoend security for multimedia data (Zaidan
et al., 2010d, e).
CRYPTOGRAPHY BASICS
Cryptography is based on hard mathematical problems like prime number factorization.
It is not difficult to find the result of multiplying two numbers but it is
extremely challenging to find prime factors of a number. Thus, cryptography
is concerned with the design and the analysis of mathematical techniques which
can offer secure communications in the presence of malicious adversaries. It
is an area which is concerned with the transformation of data for security reasons.
Cryptography first known usage was in ancient Egypt (Hmood
et al., 2010a) and it has passed through different stages and had
been affected by many events but had always been concerned about the way people
handle information. In World War II, for instance, cryptography played an important
role and was a key element that gave the allied forces the upper hand and enabled
them to win the war (Hmood et al., 2010b). Using
cryptographic methods, the allied forces were able to dissolve the Enigma cipher
machine which the Germans used to encrypt their secret military communications
(Hmood et al., 2010c).
Today, the use of cryptography is no longer limited to protect sensitive military
information. It is now recognized as one of the major issues of the security
policy of any organization and is indispensable to provide information security,
trust, controlled access to resources and ensure secure electronic financial
transactions. Before moving further, these are a number of terms which are commonly
associated with cryptography (Zaidan et al., 2010f):
• 
Plaintext:The message which is transmitted to the recipient 
• 
Encryption:The procedure of changing the content of a message in
a way that it conceals the real message 
• 
Ciphertext:The output which is produced after encrypting the plaintext 
• 
Decryption:The reverse function of encryption. It is the process
of retrieving the plaintext from the ciphertext 
Security requirements: There must be some security services to secure
the communications, to prevent some security issues such as eavesdropping. Cryptography
provides the following security services (Abomhara et
al., 2010a):
• 
Confidentiality:A service which keeps information accessible
only to those who are authorized to access this information. The service
contains both protection of all user data which are being transmitted between
points and likewise, the protection of the traffic flow analysis 
• 
Integrity:A service which ensures that only authorized users who
are capable of writing, deleting of the transmitted information 
• 
Authentication:A service which a receiver determines its source
to confirm the sender’s identity by using something that you have or
you know. Normally, it is done by using the sender public key. It is the
same integrity provided by digital signature 
• 
Nonrepudiation:It ensures the sender and receiver from denying
the sending or receiving of a message and the authenticity of their signature.
Typically, it is provided by digital signature 
TYPES OF CRYPTOGRAPHY
Cryptographic systems can be divided into two types, namely Symmetric and Asymmetric
cryptography. Both are used to protect the communication privacy between the
entities to avoid eavesdropping and alteration. The next section provides a
discussion on both types of cryptography and discuses their advantages and disadvantages
(Alanazi et al., 2010a, b).
Symmetric cryptography: Symmetric cryptography (shared key) is a cryptosystem which provides the ability to secure exchange of messages between two ends. At the initial stage, the entities intend to communicate agree on a key. Integrity can be resolved using a suitable mode of operation with a symmetric cipher. Authentication in the symmetric cryptography can be achieved only if there are two entities sharing the same key. Authentication is to verify the identity of an individual, such as a person at a remote terminal or the sender of a message and ensuring that a message is genuine, has arrived exactly as it was sent and came from the stated source.
In spite of the fact that the symmetric cryptography provides all the security
services, it still has some drawbacks. A scenario where we have communicating
n entities and each two entities have their own shared key, the drawbacks will
be as listed below (Abomhara et al., 2010a):
• 
It requires a secure transmission of the secret key before
exchanging messages 
• 
Each pair of users needs a different key. Assuming that a network has
n users, this result in N (n1)/2 key pairs 
• 
Having this much of keys introduces the need for a secure storage of the
secret key pairs. Where if one entity hacked, the whole network would be
in danger 
To clarify this scheme, a scenario can be assumed by two entities, namely A
(Alice) and B (Bob) who are communicating over an insecure channel. Assuming
that all communications take place in the presence of an enemy E (Eve) whose
objective is to overcome any security services used by A and B. Assume that
A and B are using the Internet as their communications channel as it is depicted
in Fig. 1. EVE could try to read the traffic from A to B;
therefore, learning A’s credit card information or could attempt to masquerade
as either A or B in the transaction. Another example, consider a situation where
Alice is sending an email message to Bob over the same medium (Internet). Eve
could attempt to read the message or even modify it or send a message to Bob
as if it was sent from Alice.
The most popular secret key encryption algorithms are Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple DES and Advance Encryption Standard (AES).

Fig. 1: 
Communication over insecure line 
Data Encryption Standard (DES): DES was the result of a contest set
by the US National Bureau of Standards (now called the NIST) in 1973 and adopted
as a standard application in 1977. The winning standard was developed at IBM
as a modification of the previous system called LUCIFER. The DES is widely used
for encryption of PIN numbers, bank transactions and the likes. The DES is an
example of a block cipher which operates on blocks of 64 bits at a time, with
an input key of 64 bits. Every 8th bit in the input key is a parity check bit
which means that in fact the key size is effectively reduced to 56 bits (Abomhara
et al., 2010a).
Triple DES: was developed based on the DES algorithm to address the
obvious flaws in DES. Triple DES simply extends the key size of DES by applying
the algorithm three times in succession with three different keys. The combined
key size is thus 168 bits (3 times 56), beyond the reach of bruteforce techniques
which aroused by the EFF DES Cracker. Triple DES has always been regarded with
some suspicion since the original algorithm was never designed to be used in
this way but no serious flaws have been uncovered in its design and today, it
is used in a number of Internet protocols (Abomhara et
al., 2010a).
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): In 1997, the NIST called for the
submission of a new standard to replace the aging DES. The contest terminated
in November 2001 with the selection of the Rijndael cryptosystem as the Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES) (Naji et al., 2009).
The Rijndael cryptosystem operates on 128bit blocks, arranged as 4x4 matrices
with 8bit entries. The algorithm can use a variable block length and key length
and the latest specification allows for the combination of any key lengths at
128, 192 or 256 bits and blocks of length at 128, 192 or 256 bits (Alam
et al., 2010).
Asymmetrickey cryptography: Asymmetrickey cryptography, known as the
PublicKey Cryptography (PKC), was proposed by Diffie and
Hellman (1976) who introduced the concept of publickey cryptography. The
idea of publickey cryptography is defining two different keys; one key (private
key) is used to encrypt the plaintext and the other key (public key) to decrypt
it. To send a message to a node, e.g., Bob; Bob’s public key is used by
Alice to encrypt the message. The cipher can only be decrypted using Bob’s
private key. The basic protocol between the two parties, i.e., Alice and Bob,
is depicted in Fig. 2, in which EKpup is Bob’s public
key and Kpr is Bob’s private key (Abomhara et al.,
2010b).

Fig. 2: 
Public key encryption protocol 
Publickey schemes require the communicating parties to exchange keying material
in an authenticated way. Despite the fact that the PKC has achieved all the
security services, it still has some disadvantages as compared to the symmetric
cryptography (Nabi et al., 2010):
• 
Asymmetric encryption process uses a complicated mathematics
compared to symmetric cryptography 
• 
The asymmetric cryptography algorithms are much computationally demanding
than the symmetric key algorithms 
Even when the Public Key (PK) is properly implemented, it is still very slow
as compared to the best known private key schemes. A hybrid cryptography scheme
was introduced; it is a mixture of the PK and the symmetric cryptography and
is used in some applications. The hybrid cryptosystem uses the PKC to agree
on the shared key and then it uses the symmetric cryptography to encrypt and
decrypt the messages. The public key cryptosystem algorithms can be categorized
into three different groups, such as:
Algorithms based on the Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP): The method to solve a given instance of the DLP is dependent on the size of the parameters and each time, the parameter size increases the difficulty of solving the problem. Given positive numbers a and b, find positive integer k such that b = a.k mod p, i.e., Diffie and Hellman and Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA). Algorithms based on the Integer Factorization Problem (IFP): As for the integer factorization problem, its hardness is important for the security of the RSA publickey encryption and signature schemes. The problem of hardness resulted from the difficulty of finding the prime factorization of a given positive integer n, i.e., RSA.
Algorithms based on Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDLP):
The challenging part of this problem is to find the positive integer k given
two points P and Q on an elliptic curve over a finite field, such that Q = k
* P, i.e., the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) (NIST,
2000).
The most computationally intensive operation for Discrete Logarithm and RSA is based on the modular exponentiation. These operations are performed using very long operands to meet the required key size. The operands in the ECDLP algorithms are smaller than that in the Discrete Logarithm (DL) systems.
Table 1: 
Symmetric encryption VS asymmetric encryption 

THE SUITABILITY OF USING SYMMETRIC KEY TO SECURE MULTIMEDIA DATA Although asymmetric encryption provides far more functionalities, there are still many applications in which symmetric encryption is the best solution and does the job as securely and more efficiently. Because of its nature, symmetric technology is far less expensive to implement. The principal aspects of the two encryption methods are compared in Table 1. CONCLUSION In this study, a comparative study between symmetric and asymmetric key encryption was presented A brief discussion about the popular cryptography algorithms was made. A general survey about the use of cryptography and how it started was highlighted. The current known methods of cryptography (Symmetric key encryption and Asymmetric key encryption) were discussed subsequently; the advantages and disadvantages of each type were presented, while illustrating their usage in different applications. Apart from this, brief synopses regarding the difference between block encryption and stream encryption was given. Last but not least, some examples of the encryption algorithms were provided, whereby the AES and DES were evaluated in terms of their speed and security level, as well as their suitability to secure video data. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to express our appreciation to all who have helped us understand the importance of knowledge and showed us the best ways to gain it.

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