Many people have come across the term “encryption”, but not everyone knows what exactly it means. Encryption is the encryption of information and is in use in various online services to protect user data.
This can be email, instant text messages, banking information, files stored in the cloud, and more.
What is encryption?
Encryption was not invented yesterday, or even in our digital age. Cryptography is famous since ancient Egypt. In those days, classified messages were usually in encryption form using character substitution. The famous Caesar cipher changed one letter for another with a fixed number of spaces in the alphabet.
One of the most widely recognized uses of the matrix in day-to-day life is encryption. We use it to scramble information for security purposes to encode and to decipher this information we really want networks.
There is a key that encodes and decipher information that is created by networks. Use an online matrix determinant calculator to find the determinant of the matrix.
The basic principles of encryption have remained unchanged since then. In digital encryption, readable text, also known as plain text, is taken and encrypted. This is done using encryption algorithms that have become much harder and harder to crack than the ancients with a single character replacement.
This is due to the use of variables, also known as keys. They are randomly generated and unique. In some encryption systems, keys are generated for each new encryption session. If an attacker wants to steal your credit card information, he must know the data encryption algorithm and key used.
It is not easy to get this information, thanks to which encryption protects well against the method of simple guessing (brute force, password guessing). Also, for this reason, encryption can be considered one of the best methods of protecting data on the Internet.
Types of encryption
There are two main types of encryption:
- symmetric and
The main difference between the two is the use of keys.
Symmetric encryption uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt data. Such a key must be installed on the devices of both interlocutors.
Asymmetric encryption (public-key encryption) uses two keys. One of these keys is private, the other is public. The private key is located on your device, and the device sends the public key to another device with which you will communicate.
The receiving device also requires its own private key to decode the encrypted data. That is why the word “open” should not be intimidating. No one can access information without the correct private key.
The five most common encryption algorithms and how they work.
1. AES – The Advanced Encryption
One of the most secure symmetric encryption algorithms these days. It uses a cipher with a block size of 128 bits and a key length of 128, 192, or 256 bits. Numerous organizations chose this algorithm, including the US government.
2. Triple DES
When the original Data Encryption Standard (DES) became vulnerable to attacks, it was replaced with a new version. It was named so because it uses three 56-bit keys. These are symmetric encryption algorithms, but recently they have been replaced with more reliable options, like the aforementioned AES.
Security expert Bruce Schneier created this encryption algorithm. It also appeared as a replacement for the outdated DES algorithm. This algorithm is a symmetric key block cipher and is one of the most secure. Thanks to its publicly available status, anyone can use this algorithm.
The author of this algorithm is also Bruce Schneier and this variant is more advanced than Blowfish. This encryption algorithm is symmetric and the key length can be up to 256 bits. It is not only fast and reliable but also accessible to everyone.
Asymmetric encryption algorithm, one of the oldest and most widely used encryption standards on the network. It is relatively slow, but it is very secure.
What are encryption algorithms for?
What are these sophisticated data protection technologies for? Primarily to protect information and privacy when working on the Internet. When you send an email, shop online, chat with friends, or store files in the cloud, this information needs to be safe.
You may not be aware of this, but many of the services use one or another encryption algorithm.
The popularity of end-to-end encryption has been growing in recent years and you may have heard of it. Much of the information you send over the internet, which third parties held.
For example, an email provider stores the email. Even if the information is in encryption form, encryption usually only happens in transit. When you or the recipient simply held the information, this level of protection may not be available.
This does not apply to end-to-end encryption. When using it, only the sender and the recipient can read the information. Even your ISP or email provider cannot read the contents of your correspondence.
This is a great option for those who want to keep their secrets. Of course, even he does not guarantee 100% reliability, but it is better than nothing and better than most other encryption options.
End-to-end encryption is in use in many popular messengers and email providers such as Signal, WhatsApp, ProtonMail.
If you do not want anyone to know about your Internet habits, you should use HTTPS as much as possible. This protocol is in use on the Internet and is often displays as a closed padlock in the address bar of the browser. It is necessary to ensure a secure connection using TLS (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.
HTTPS authenticates your connection by requesting a digital or public key certificate, which a trusted third party must sign. HTTPS usually protects your data while it is in transit. This reduces its privacy, but HTTPS protection is still mandatory.
To make sure you are using HTTPS, put an extension like HTTPS Everywhere in your browser (from this Google Chrome link). It is available for popular browsers Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Firefox on Android.
Cloud storage encryption
Saving photos, videos, documents, and any other files in the cloud is very popular now. Naturally, you need to protect these files. Cloud storage offers some form of encryption.
There are three types of data that cloud storage works with: data at rest, data in transit, and data in operation. These names speak for themselves. In the first case, the data simply lies on the server, in the second it transfers from one user to another, in the third one is working with files and they are difficult to encrypt.
Whether the data is in encryption form or not depends on the particular provider. Some encrypt data at rest and in transit, others only encrypt data that they consider confidential. The types of encryption are also different for different providers. End-to-end encryption in cloud storage is not yet common.
However, most popular cloud storage services provide TLS / SSL encryption for data transfer and sometimes data storage. Dropbox offers end-to-end encryption tools like Boxcryptor. They can encrypt files locally on your computer before you send them to the cloud.
To provide a higher level of protection, you can encrypt files stored on your computer. This is where disk encryption comes in. You can encrypt the contents of the entire hard drive.
There are two ways to encrypt a disk: software encryption and hardware encryption. Hardware encryption requires a self-encrypting drive. Data encryption and decryption on it occurs automatically, the user does not have to do anything himself.
It can be both hard drives and solid-state drives from popular manufacturers such as Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba. Naturally, they are more expensive than conventional media.
If this is too expensive for you, you can use software encryption of existing drives. There are many applications of this kind. Software encryption usually works in real-time, this is also what you can say as on-the-fly encryption. Data encryption and decryption are in use when loaded and saved to a disk.
Depending on the specific program, the computer speed may slow down in different ways. This can be tolerable for the sake of data security. BitLocker uses AES encryption with 128 and 256-bit keys. This makes the program a great option for protecting and maintaining data privacy.
Do you think you have nothing to hide and nothing to fear? Either way, data collection is big business. Even if you are not afraid that someone will know what sites you visit on the Internet and what you buy, you are unlikely to be happy with the theft of credit card information and personal photos. This is where encryption comes in.
Here are its main advantages:
- Confidentiality. Many personal conversations and work correspondence must be kept secret. The same can go about photographs, videos, documents. If you do not want that other to catch you, except you and the recipient, use encryption.
- Security. Due to the pandemic, the use of the Internet has become more frequent than before, and in many cases, it is required to enter personal information. It is necessary when buying something on the Internet, making an appointment at a clinic, paying taxes.
No one wants financial information or other personal data stolen from them. Encryption will not protect 100%, it has vulnerabilities, but without it, it is much easier to access your data.