In-Line Network Cryptography – A Simple Method for Securing Data

Held, James

Encryption is a widely used method for securing digital data.  Both static (stored on disk) and live/dynamic (transmitted and consumed) data can be encrypted. As digital communications becomes more important, simple methods for securing data are becoming more desirable.  Unfortunately, most network encryption methods require a server and/or software to be installed on the computers; in some cases where the user does not have sufficient privileges to install software, this is not an option.  This project attempts to prove that a simple, low cost solution can be used to secure data between two or more computers without the need for encryption software installation and complex configurations.  Instead, this solution plugs in-line to the Ethernet network and will work transparently on the network and will allow the computers to communicate directly and securely without the need of a server.  Utilizing cheap, readily available components, it is possible that with two Ethernet controllers and a mid-range PIC processor, data can be read from the client computer via one interface, encrypted, and sent out the other Ethernet interface.  Data that is not meant to be encrypted will simply be passed through unmodified.