The Visual Computer

, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 1749–1759 | Cite as

Direct visualization of cryptographic keys for enhanced security

  • Oleg LobachevEmail author
Original Article


PGP public keys are relatively small binary data. Their hashes are used and also visualized for comparison and validation purposes. We pursue a direct, but previously unused approach. We produce colorful images of public keys and other binary data by generating drawing primitives from binary input. Optionally, we also include the hashes in the visualization. The visualization of raw data together with its hash provides a further security benefit. With it we can visually detect hash collisions. The primary focus of this paper is a direct visualization of public keys. We tune the transparency heuristics for better results. Our method visually detects key spoofing on real SHA1 collision data.


Visualization Cryptography Public key Hash Collision PGP SHA1 SHA2 



The author thanks Dr. Andreas Kokott for the discussion of possible online banking improvements with the presented visualization.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visual ComputingUniversity BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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