Laboratory Exercise: Cyber Basics – Introduction to Cryptography Lab

This introductory lab has students learn how to use both symmetric and asymmetric encryption at the Linux command line. This exercise includes an encryption primer and an introduction to symmetric encryption using the Linux utility ccrpyt. It also has students use the Linux gpg utility to create a public/private key pair, as well as encrypt and decrypt a file using public-key cryptography.

Faculty Instructions

Resources required

This exercise requires a VirtualBox Kali Linux Virtual Machine running on a computer (laptop) or a Kali Linux VM running in the Virginia Cyber Range.

If you are using the Virginia Cyber Range Kali Linux VM, this lab exercise requires an account on The Range.  To sign up for an account on The Range, please visit our Sign-Up page.  Your students will also require an account on the Virginia Cyber Range; this will be explained in the setup of your course.

Virtual Environment: This exercise uses a single Kali Linux virtual machine. This exercise can also use the full four VM environment used for the Cyber Basics – Reconnaissance and Network Scanning Lab.

Cyber Basics – Introduction to Cryptography Lab Handout

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* NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework KSAs Addressed
  • K0018: Knowledge of encryption algorithms (e.g., Internet Protocol Security [IPSEC], Advanced Encryption Standard [AES], Generic Routing Encapsulation [GRE], Internet Key Exchange [IKE], Message Digest Algorithm [MD5], Secure Hash Algorithm [SHA], Triple Data Encryption Standard [3DES]).
  • K0019: Knowledge of cryptography and cryptographic key management concepts.
  • K0049: Knowledge of information technology (IT) security principles and methods (e.g., firewalls, demilitarized zones, encryption).
  • K0190: Knowledge of encryption methodologies.
  • K0277: Knowledge of current and emerging data encryption (e.g., Column and Tablespace Encryption, file and disk encryption) security features in databases, including built-in cryptographic key management features.
  • K0305: Knowledge of encryption algorithms, stenography, and other forms of data concealment.
  • K0308: Knowledge of cryptology.
  • K0326: Knowledge of cybersecurity methods, such as firewalls, demilitarized zones, and encryption.
  • K0427: Knowledge of encryption algorithms and cyber capabilities/tools (e.g., SSL, PGP).
  • K0429: Knowledge of enterprise-wide information management.
  • K0493: Knowledge of obfuscation techniques (e.g., TOR/Onion/anonymizers, VPN/VPS, encryption).
  • K0561: Knowledge of the basics of network security (e.g., encryption, firewalls, authentication, honey pots, perimeter protection).
  • S0168: Skill in applying cybersecurity methods, such as firewalls, demilitarized zones, and encryption.
  • A0005: Ability to decrypt digital data collections.
* NSA/DHS Center of Excellence (CAE) KUs Addressed
  • Intro to Cryptography
  • Data Administration

* Most courseware content maps to NIST NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NCWF) Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) and/or NSA/DHS CAE Knowledge Units (KUs). For more information on KSAs and KUs, please visit:

KSAs: http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-181.pdf

KUs: https://www.iad.gov/NIETP/documents/Requirements/CAE-CD_Knowledge_Units.pdf