In the past, security was simply a matter of locking the door or storing files in a locked filing cabinet or safe. Today, paper is no longer the only medium of choice for housing information. Files are stored in computer databases as well as file cabinets. Hard drives and floppy disks hold many of our secret information. In the physical world, security is a fairly simple concept. If the locks on your house’s doors and windows are so strong that a thief cannot break in to steal your belongings, the house is secure. For further protection against intruders breaking through the locks, you might have security alarms. Similarly, if someone tries to fraudulently withdraw money from your bank account but the teller asks for identification and does not trust the thief’s story, your money is secure. When you sign a contract with another person, the signatures are the legal driving force that impels both parties to honor their word.
As the Internet becomes a more pervasive part of daily life, the need for e-security becomes even more critical. Any organization engaged in online activity must assess and manage the e-security risks associated with this activity. Effective use of cryptographic techniques is at the core of many of these risk-management strategies. The most important security tool is cryptography.
1.2 Background of the Study
The ongoing dilemma of digital age is balancing convenience against security. 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 break into people’s privacy 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, readable data is altered into unreadable form to prevent unauthorized access. Encryption is able to use powerful mathematical concept to create coded message that is virtually impossible to break. It is easy to encrypt a message on a simple personal computer so that the biggest computer in the world could not decipher without spending for more time on the problem that exists in the life span of the entire universe.
There are two basic forms of encryption; private key encryption and public key encryption, the same secret key is used by the sender and receiver to encrypt and decrypt message. Public key encryption also known as asymmetric key encryption uses two different keys at once, a combination of a private key and public key, the private key is known only to your personal computer, while the public key is given by your computer to any computer that wants to communicate securely with it. To decode an encrypted message, a computer must use the public key, provided by the originating computer, and its own private key.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
The problem is security. The password method used in almost all commercial operating systems is probably not very strong against a sophisticated or unsophisticated attacker. The choice of data encryption comes next in the minds of those that want reduction of unauthorized access on confidential files or data. Security provided by the computer operating systems come with a preset super user account and password.
The super user may have a password to control network functionality, another to conduct or access nightly backups, create accounts, and so on. For a cracker, logging on to a system as the super user is possibly the best way to collect data or do damage. If the super user has not changed an operating system’s preprogrammed passwords, the network is vulnerable to attack.
Most crackers know these passwords, and their first attempt to break into a network is simply to try them. If an attacker cannot log on as the super user, the next best thing might be to figure out the user name and password of a regular user.
1.4 Aim and objective of the Study
The aim of the study is to design and implement an File Encryption and Hash System. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives of study were considered to design and develop an application software that will;
- Understand and improve the file data security through encryption of data.
- Protect the pdf file (.pdf) from being viewed by third party using encryption.
- Ensure the data confidentiality and integrity along with the safe transmission of file data over the web.
- Create a network for each computer to easily upload and download encrypted files over the peer to peer network, and this can be done without having access to the internet.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of study focuses on Design and Implementation of a File Encryption and Hash System.
1.6 Significant of the Study
This study serves as a contribution towards improving information, data and information security on computerized information systems especially for organizations where data is transferred from one point to another. It will contribute in solving the problems of insecurity on both networks for individual computers on a network. It also enhances the ability to support customers by providing secured and accurate access to all information. In the same manner, it will benefit those who transact online.
One of the most important tools for protecting your file from an authorized access is Data Encryption, any of various methods that are used to turn readable files into gibberish. Even if an attacker obtains the contents of the file, it is gibberish. It does not matter whether or not the operating system protections worked.
This study will also be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
During the course of this study, many things militated against its completion, some of which are:
- Time Constraint: The time frame given to accomplish this project was very short due to school academic calendar and it was carried out under pressure which made the researcher not to implement some necessary features.
- Research material: availability of research material is a major setback to the scope of the study.
- Frequent power failure: This made the researcher append more money on fuel to ensure sustainable power.
- Financial Constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet).
1.8 Definition of Terms
Based on this research work, the following terms are used, and briefly defined bellow;
Cryptography: This is the science of scrambling data.
Encryption: Encryption is the conversion of data into a form that cannot be easily understood by an unauthorized people.
Decryption: Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood.