What is the difference between the various encryption levels in StarTeam

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Problem:

What is the difference between the various encryption levels in StarTeam

Resolution:

  • Product Name: Star Team
  • Product Version: 6.x and above
  • Product Component: StarTeam Client - Encryption
  • Platform/OS Version: All
  • JDK/Compiler Version: All

Question:

What is the difference between the various encryption levels in Star Team?


Answer:

It is possible to encrypt data that is transferred between a workstation and the server. Encryption protects files and other project information from being read by unauthorized parties over unsecured network lines.

The types of encryption offered in StarTeam are the following:

1. RC4 RSA R4 stream cipher (fast)

2. RC2_ECB RSA R2 block cipher (Electronic Codebook)

3. RC2_CBC RSA R2 block cipher (Cipher Block Chaining)

4. RC2_CFB RSA R2 block cipher (Cipher Feedback) (Windows platforms only)

These encryption types are ordered from fastest to slowest. Each of the slower encryption types is safer than the one preceding it. Cpiher Feedback is a windows-only feature and does not work on non-windows platforms.

In simplified terms,

Stream cipher is one that encrypts a digital data stream one bit or one byte or units larger than a byte at a time. RC4 is a symmetric stream cipher.

Block cipher is one in which a block of plaintext is treated as whole and used to produce a ciphertext block of equal length. There are various block cipher modes of operation.

The simplest mode is the Electronic CodeBook mode (ECB), in which plaintext is handled 64-bits at a time and each block of plaintext is encrypted using the same key. The term codebook is used because, for a given key, there is a unique ciphertext for every 64-bit block of plaintext. In ECB, each block of 64 plaintext bits is encoded independently using the same key.

In Cipher Block Chaining (CBC), the input to the encryption algorithm is the XOR of the next 64 bits of plain text and the preceeding 64-bits of ciphertext.

In Cipher Feedback (CFB), input is processed J bits at a time. Preceeding ciphertext is used as input to the encryption algorithm to produce pseudorandonm output, which is XORed with plaintext to produce next unit of ciphertext.

As we go down the list, the encryption alogrithm gets stronger and more computationally intensive. One good resource to know about the different encryption types, RSA sercurity.


Author: Brindha Venkataramani

Old KB# 28150
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