There is no understanding of rekeying in cryptography without first understanding what cryptography depicts.
So, what is Cryptography?
Derived from the Greek words, crypto and graphy, which means “secret” and “writing” respectively. Cryptography can simply be defined as the act of modifying messages in a way that masks their purpose from an adversary or competitor who might want to steal them.
In other words, it’s a way of storing and distributing data in a specific form, such that it can be read and interpreted only by those whom it is intended for. Not only does cryptography shield private data from theft or manipulation, but it can also be used for authentication purposes.
Cryptography deals mainly with mathematical formulas and a series of calculations called an algorithm. These concepts when put together help transform messages in ways that are difficult to interpret. These algorithms are used for; digital signing, authentication to secure user privacy, online access, cryptographic key generation, and personal information such as email, credit card purchases, etc.
Modern cryptography focuses mainly on cryptographic keys, which usually contains a short list of text, for encrypting and decrypting messages in conjunction with cryptographic algorithms. Cryptography is known as symmetrical or asymmetrical key-cryptography, depending on the type of keys used. Both types of cryptography provide data security. Asymmetrical encryption of keys is often referred to as public-key encryption.
Rekeying in Cryptography
Rekeying is known as the process of modifying the encryption key, to reduce the amount of data encoded with similar keys.
The key will be modified after a predetermined amount of data has been transferred or a particular period of time has elapsed. This is similar to the traditional practice of updating codes on a regular basis.
This is a protective mechanism to keep an attacker from accessing the information about messages encrypted with the same key.
Due to phishing attacks, millions of cryptocurrencies are lost every year, so you need to update your private key periodically to protect your assets. This is not an easy process, because it involves creating a new wallet to get a new private key and then transfer your assets from the old wallet to the new wallet and resend your new public key to everyone that once had it and needs it.
Rekeying provides the flexibility needed to change your private key without changing your public key. This enables you to protect your wallet against security threats by changing your private keys whenever you deem fit.
Rekeying on Algorand
Algorand’s Rekeying feature provides users with a seamless and simple interface by making it easier to change Private Spending Keys whenever necessary, without changing the Public Addresses. This feature ensures more flexibility of the Public Address and decreases operational costs of changing Private Spending Keys.
A Public Address and a Private Key pairing often come in different sets and are not usually broken. This means that anytime a user changes any of the keys, he or she has to change the other. Today, the usage of keys is rampant, and the above method makes it difficult to secure and manage these keys and their Public Addresses.
If you have to change a stolen or unintentionally exposed Private Spending Key, a whole fresh account with a Private Spending Key and Public Address has to be opened, and funds from the old Public Address are transferred to the new one.
Rekeying is a highly efficient feature that allows a user of Algorand to keep a permanent Public Address while flexibly changing the Private Spending Key(s). To do this, a “rekey-to-transaction” is provided that sets the specified address field within the object of the user’s account. More transaction authorizations using the public address of the account must be provided by the spending key or keys connected with the registered address which can be a Multi-Sig, single key, or Local-Sig address.
A rekey-to-transaction is a payment-type transaction that contains the rekey-to parameter, set to a well-formed Algorand address. The authorization for this transaction must be made available by the existing authorized address.
The rekey-to-transaction workflow is as follows:
- Construct a payment transaction that specifies an address for the rekey-to parameter
- Add the signature(s) required from the existing authorized address
- Send and confirm the transaction on the network
Algorand Rekeying bypasses unnecessary risks and inefficiencies with secure flexibility. Changing the Public Address and Private Spending Key regularly means there is no stable identifier for that particular user’s account. That is; when a user decides to initiate a fresh transaction, a new public address is provided to enterprises or peers they wish to transact with; therefore, any ongoing transactions with enterprises or peers are not made permanent as their address is discarded whenever their Private Spending Key is changed.
In summary, Rekeying on Algorand allows users to have the following:
- Flexibility in their choice to alter the Private Spending Key at any time without changing the Public Address;
- Continuity with the right to keep using the same Public Address to retain the assets in the same public address;
- Operational Efficiency to retain existing Public Address as identifiers for other individuals and custody providers that constantly transact with the particular Public Address, thereby reducing operational burdens.
The Rekeying feature on Algorand makes it possible that you only need to change the Private Spending Key and save yourself the stress and hassles. The first of it in the crypto space!
With a highly proficient team, Algorand continues to provide unique features that attract blockchain & crypto enthusiasts, developers, blockchain incubators, tech enthusiasts, financial institutions, disruptors, universities, local enterprises, thought leaders, and investors seeking financial freedom to the network.
Get in touch with Algorand:
Official Website: https://www.algorand.com/wallet
Guest post contributed by Helen IMAH – Algorand Ambassador
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