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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Security+
 9  Chapter 4:  Basics of Cryptography (Domain 4.0; 15%)
      9  4.5  Key Management and Certificate Lifecycles
           9  4.5.2  Storage

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4.5.2  Storage
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4.5.2.2  Private Key Protection
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4.5.2.1  Hardware vs. Software

Keys can be stored using hardware and software protection mechanisms.

A software device might be something as simple as a text file maintained by a user, which contains his private keys, decrypted as needed to obtain the appropriate private key. Or it might be a key management database specifically intended for the centralized storage and retrieval of keys.

A hardware device for key storage might either:

Store the key itself (for instance, a smart card which can be read by an appropriate reader when a PIN is provided)

Not store the key at all (just an algorithm for generating a key based on the input of a user-provided pass phrase or PIN number).

One example of a device used for storing keys is nShield by nCipher404. In addition to providing secure storage and management of keys, it also provides for hardware-based cryptography, freeing servers from having to do those computations on the main CPU.


 __________________

404. http://www.ncipher.com

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4.5.2  Storage
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4.5.2.2  Private Key Protection
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