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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.