With recent geopolitical events and growing hacking activities, the way we think about protecting our IT environments has undergone a seismic shift. Gone are the days when a simple password was enough to protect our most sensitive data. The rise of two-factor authentication (2FA) has set a new standard for digital security, requiring users to provide two separate pieces of evidence to verify their identity.
While 2FA has undoubtedly bolstered digital security, it’s time to turn our attention to an even more revolutionary concept: two-factor authorization. Proposed by Cosmian in Covercrypt, our efficient and post-quantum cryptographic algorithm, it might just be the game-changer we’ve been waiting for.

What is Two-Factor Authorization?

While the term may sound eerily familiar to 2FA, two-factor authorization takes the concept of security to a whole new level. At its core, it is about granting access based on dual permissions. Two-Factor Authorization requires users to have both the necessary software application privileges (usually a login/password combination) and the authorized decryption key access. This dual-layered security measure drastically reduces the chances of unauthorized data access, even in situations where a user’s credentials might be compromised and outside of your direct IT perimeter.


Two-Factor Authorization: a Revolution Relying on Attribute-Based Encryption

Cosmian’s Covercrypt introduces the realm of double-factor authorization thanks to its Attribute-Based Encryption (ABE) property. This means that decryption isn’t just about having a singular key; it’s about possessing attributes defined by the KMS administrator – even outside of its IT boundaries. Here’s how Covercrypt harnesses the power of ABE:

  • Dynamic Access Control: Traditional encryption methods operate on a rigid binary – either you can decrypt the entire database or not. With ABE, Covercrypt introduces fluidity into this equation. Access to data is determined by a user’s attributes, enabling dynamic access control. In organizations. This means that an individual’s role, department, or even project involvement can dictate their access level, making data sharing both flexible and secure.
  • Anonymity and Privacy: A standout feature of ABE in Covercrypt is attribute hiding. When data is encrypted for a specific set of attributes, an unauthorized user can’t even determine the intended recipient’s attributes. This cloak of anonymity ensures that encrypted data doesn’t inadvertently reveal information about its intended recipient, bolstering both security and user privacy.
  • Scalable and Modular: Cosmian’s implementation of ABE in Covercrypt is designed for real-world applications. The system can accommodate a vast array of attribute combinations, ensuring it scales with growing organizational complexity. Plus, its modular nature means that as attributes evolve or change, they can be seamlessly integrated into the existing encryption framework without overhauling the entire system.


In essence, by integrating Attribute-Based Encryption, Covercrypt amplifies the potency of 2FAUTH. It’s not just about verifying identity or ensuring the right decryption access; it’s about tailoring data access to the unique attributes of each user, adding another robust layer to the fortress of digital security.


Navigating the Three-Dimensional Attribute Landscape

Diving deeper into the versatility of Attribute-Based Encryption in Covercrypt, consider its application in a sprawling worldwide bank’s structure. The vastness and intricacies of such an organization can be likened to a three-dimensional grid, with each axis representing a different set of attributes.

  • X-Axis – Branch Locality: Spread across numerous countries, each with multiple branches, the bank operates in a web of geographically dispersed units. The x-axis represents these individual branches. An attribute here could determine access based on the branch location, ensuring that data relevant to a New York branch isn’t inadvertently accessed by someone in Tokyo unless explicitly permitted.
  • Y-Axis – Business Units: Verticalizing the organization’s structure, the y-axis signifies distinct business units such as marketing, HR, front office, back office, consultant, and more. This layer ensures that sensitive data within the HR unit, for example, remains confined to authorized personnel within that unit, preventing unintended cross-departmental access.
  • Z-Axis – Confidentiality Levels: Perhaps the most crucial, the z-axis classifies data based on its sensitivity. Here, attributes are defined by levels of confidentiality: from ‘confidential’ and ‘secret’ to the utmost ‘top secret’. Depending on an individual’s clearance level, they can access data tiers appropriate to their role, safeguarding the most sensitive information from broader access. For example, an external consultant helping the CFO with the yearly closing may have access to all divisions and countries numbers, but not “Classified – board only” documents.


By mapping attributes across these three dimensions, Covercrypt provides a holistic, multi-faceted approach to data encryption and access. In a complex organization like a global bank, this three-dimensional attribute framework ensures a meticulous, nuanced, and highly tailored encryption strategy, making data access both efficient and secure.


Two-Factor Authorization: The Road Ahead

As digital threats evolve, so must our defenses. Two-factor authorization is not just the next step in digital security; it’s a giant leap. With pioneers like Cosmian leading the charge with Covercrypt, the future of digital security looks not just safe, but impenetrable. As the tech world begins to embrace Two-Factor Authorization, it’s clear that this double-factor approach is indeed a game-changer. By ensuring that data access is doubly protected, organizations can breathe easier, knowing that their data is shielded by the best encryption and authorization methods available.


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