it-e-68 Can Graphics Files Be Enctypted

Of course you can encrypt a graphics file. After all, most encryption algorithms don't care
about the intellectual content of a file. All they chew on is a series of byte values. Therefore,
most any encryption program that works on ordinary text files will work on graphics files as well.
Why would you want to encrypt a graphics file? Mostly to control who can view its contents.
You can invent a proprietary file format and that might slow a file format hack down for, say,
five or ten minutes. You could add a proprietary data compression scheme, possibly a twisted
variation of an already public algorithm. But there are so many people out there with nothing
better to do than hack at unknown data formats that your data would probably be exposed in little
time. But suppose we top off all this effort by encrypting the graphics file itself as we would an
ordinary text file. Would your data then be safe?
Realize that an encrypted graphics file still might not be very secure. For every data
encryption algorithm there exists at least one method of getting around it, although it may take
hundreds of computers and many years to fully employ and execute that method!
For example, one of the more popular methods used to encrypt data is the Vernam or XOR
cipher. This cipher Exclusive ORs the plain-text data with a single, random, fixed-length key.
The longer the key the harder it is to break the cipher. A totally random key the length of your
data is impossible to break. Shorter and less-random keys are easier to break.
XOR is very simple and fast, which is a must for a graphics file translators/viewers that
must decrypt a file on the fly. A problem, however, is that most graphics files contain fixed size
headers which vary only slightly in content from file to file. If you knew the approximate
contents of the header of an encrypted file you could XOR a "decrypted" header with the
encrypted file and possibly produce the key used to encrypt the file. A short key might be very
easily discovered in this way.
If you wish to use a public key/private key encryption method, then storing the public key in
the file format header (usually as a 4-byte field) and only encrypting the image data would be the
way to go. The SMPTE DPX file format supports such an encryption feature.
If you really need to make the contents of a graphics file secure, then I'd suggest not only
using some form of data encryption, but also create an unconventional and proprietary file format
and do not publish its format specification.

cipher ['saifə]

n. 零,暗号

  • v. 计算,做算术

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