What is key escrow? How it differs from a recovery agent?

Do you know what the concept of escrow is? Well, allow me to give you a storyline view to it.

Kevin, Peter, and Sara are three friends who always stick together. Kevin and Peter decide to open up a hotel together. While being three months into the business, Peter suddenly undergoes a tumor surgery. Within a few days of this Kevin also faces a car accident has to be hospitalized.

Now the issue arises on who would be able to run the business. Sara who is the most trusted friend of these two happens to have the legal documents of the hotel in escrow. Sara comes to the rescue and takes over the business while her two friends recover.

This method of keeping things in escrow is something that is used in the electronic world too. This article gives you an insight on what is key escrow and how it differs from a recovery agent.  In it you will come across the following things:

  • What is key escrow?
  • Benefits and downsides of key escrow
  • What is the key recovery?
  • What is a key recovery agent?
  • Difference between key escrow and key recovery agent.

Let’s begin with the very basics.

What is key escrow?

Key escrow is the disposition between two parties to give out a to a cryptographic key to a third party or escrow for safe keeping. Usually, only the sender and the receiver have the decryption key, but in key escrow, a third party is also granted permission to view the encrypted content.

It means that in case of loss of files from the sender or receiver, the data stays available under the safety of a trusted third party. The “escrow” is an authorized outsider who has the permission to read the encrypted data within controlled circumstances.

Advantages of key escrow

Privacy is the most crucial aspect of everyone’s lives. Tech engineers introduced key escrow method as a revolutionized concept of providing privacy and security. This method serves up various advantages.

First off government established key escrow program could profoundly benefit industries. It would consent the enterprises to create a single product line supported by a robust encryption code. This encryption code could be used for both domestic as well as international sales.

However, the crucial factor is that it promises to establish individual privacy. The fact that court orders are required to access encrypted information and keys ensures that it can’t easily fall into everyone’s hands. Only the court approved personals can view it.

Furthermore, this method will facilitate the incorporation of robust encryption into software applications and networks. It allows privacy to be an affordable and attainable luxury.

The downside to Key Escrow

Despite the advantages it offers, key escrow sure has several disadvantages to put into consideration. First off there is the apparent threat to security. Key escrow could give rise to new vulnerabilities. That is with this method in place there could be further target attacks as well as information misconduct.

As sensitive data could then be in the hands of a third party, the gateway used by them could also be a path for hackers to exploit the information. Furthermore, designing such a tool, that is bug-free is intricate as well as cost ineffective.

What is the key recovery?

Key recovery is the process in which a party searches through a cryptographic message in hopes of recovering the leys of an encryption system. This idea was designed to recuperate data if the key was lost.

 Most systems, however, come pre-equipped with key recovery functions so that the authorized parties can recovery keys if they lost it. The key recovery system requires vendors of encryption software to add a separate tool to maintain security.

This mechanism can be used by the government and law enforcement agencies to read communication through a specially designed back door upon need. This system requires the use of a third key along with a public and a private key which is within the possession of the government.

A key recovery system can aptly recover lost keys if there is an active key recovery system. This system is also a bridge over the security risks associated with a key escrow service.

What is a key recovery agent?

In order to make use of a recovery key, there has to be an authorized person. This authorized person is a key recovery agent.  This person is allowed the entry into a system through a key recovery certificate. He then extracts the required information.

Difference between a key recovery agent and key escrow

Although key escrow and key recovery agents may look to be the same things on the outside, there is a significant difference between the two. The contrast between the two things are as follows:

  • Key Escrow

Key escrow is referred to as the act of storing the cryptographic key in the hands of a third party. It is used when the third party is granted access into the encrypted protocol.

  • Recovery Agent

A recovery agent is someone who is allowed entry into the cryptographic protocol. He is allowed to encrypt the data upon an emergency. A recovery agent has to be a trusted person in the company.

Ending words

Many controversies are revolving around key escrow. However, this method has been known to be pretty useful. It is considered to be a reliable and trusting network for maintaining privacy. Furthermore, it is very efficient.

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