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What are the emerging standards for file transfers (including online transactions)? How about for file integrity checks?

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In what context? The answer may be domain-specific. The security requirements for file transfer in, say, health care or military systems are pretty different from those for, say, ad campaigns. –  D.W. May 1 '12 at 15:42
    
This has been a solved problem since sometime in the mid 70's, so there really are not "emerging standards". –  tylerl May 2 '12 at 7:47

3 Answers 3

There is secure messaging standard for real-time electronic exchange of securities transactions called FIX. It is used mainly in financial domain.

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I can't think of anything "emerging." The algorithms have changed over time, but the principles have been the same for decades:

  • Just because any discussion of error checking would be remiss without knowing and understanding this, I'm throwing in the parity bit. Rarely used in any practical capacity that isn't low-level hardware type stuff such as RAID or bits on a wire.
  • Simple accidental bit transmission errors: checksums. See CRC32. Very computationally inexpensive, but not useful against an attack scenario.
  • Strong check for correctness: cryptographic checksums. See MD5, SHA1, SHA2. SHA2 is the current vanguard. For some purposes, MD5 and SHA1 are now considered weakened.
  • Verifying hash authenticity: cryptographic checksum signed by private keypair. See signing in PGP, OpenSSL, anything referencing RSA, etc.

There are also error-correcting codes that "oversend" information. See the implementation of Reed-Solomon ECC in QR codes

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There's not much more to it than "use SSL for file transfers, use digital signatures (e.g. PGP) for file authenticity".

The recommended ciphers are AES for a symmetric cipher and RSA for an asymmetric cipher. Any SHA2 family hash should be safe as a hash function.

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