Using Encryption To Secure Information

The Using Encryption to Secure Information Guided IT Pro Challenge provides experiences securing data by creating asymmetric keys, validating a web certificate, and checking genuineness using MD5 hashing. This virtual lab provides needed skills for Network Operation Specialist, Network Analyst, System Administrator, and Network Engineer roles.

45 minutes
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Learners with some familiarity with a Linux environment and executing code through the Terminal command line benefit from the hands-on encryption methods in this virtual lab. Lab challenges include creating and verifying asymmetric keys for authentication, checking on certificates through a web browser, and using MD5 hashtagging to ensure a file in one location matches what was sent or copied from another system. Learners validate their work on these challenges through specific hints, which include video instruction and screenshots. Completing this lab takes 45 minutes.

Future Network Operations Specialists or System Administrators must know how to encrypt a file, verify the authority through certificates, and know how to tell if the file sent matches the one received. Businesses have legal obligations to show secure transmission of information through the network. Without knowledge of encryption, systems and data become compromised, resulting in data breaches or huge fines from governing bodies.

Generate Asymmetric Keys for SSH Authentication:

Learners create asymmetric keys, used to transmit secure information like financial statements or personally identifiable information, without having to reenter a password. In this way, two machines establish the accessibility of network data sent. This lab provides an SSH virtual server that generates the key and a remote machine that functions as an SSH client. Learners run the ssh-keygen command, verify the results and characters that make up that key. Finally, a command copies the key from the SSH client to the SSH server. Now the server can access the client since it can unlock the other system.

View Certificates in a Web Browser:

Web browser certificates provide capabilities to access applications, different machines and to exchange secure information. Web certificates can also compromise systems. Learners open a certificate manager in a web browser and see authorities send multiple certificates, including trusted ones. Fake or unidentifiable certificates indicate that data sent over the browser has been compromised. In this virtual challenge, learners verify who issued the certificate and its end date to ensure validity.

Use MD5 to Guarantee File Integrity:

Providers and customers, such as clinicians and patients, send biometric readings and feedback over the network. In such cases, laws like HIPAA require the file remain intact without change when sent or received. Using MD5 hashtagging ensures successful transmission. Through this lab, learners generate a Message Digest of a file. Further experimentation allows users to customize MD5 hashes paired with a file. Downloading the file and the hash, when sent, show that the received file matches the original. Users check the file sent, and the file received have identical hashes through the Terminal. Learners validate that the two files transmitted over the network are indeed the same.


Learners gain hands-on experience with encryption basics through this lab. They complete the following challenges:

  • Generate and verify an asymmetric key authenticate between access between two virtual machines.
  • View Web Certificates to see their origin and active timeframe.
  • Use M5 hashtagging to ensure a file sent between two different systems remain intact and unaltered as it leaves one machine and is received by the other.

Learners who complete this virtual lab and wish to do network analysis or engineering or system administration would also benefit from the following:

    • GUIDED CHALLENGE: Identify Use Cases for Asymmetric and Symmetric Encryption and Hash Cryptography
    • ADVANCED CHALLENGE: Can You Configure Alerts and Archiving for Log Files in Linux?