When we first hear about the word ‘Encryption’ we all wonder what exactly it is?
Let’s talk about what exactly encryption is.
Before we start, I am sure everyone has heard the word ‘Encryption’ but how many of you’ll know what this really means?
As the 21st-century approaches, encryption is presenting a global security dilemma. While the use of strong encryption for computerized data is essential in protecting our nation widespread.
Everyone should be well aware of what ‘Encryption ‘ is.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is a process that encodes a message or file so it can be read by only certain people. Encryption uses an algorithm to scramble, or encrypt, data and then uses a key for the receiving party to unscramble or decrypt the information. The message contained in an encrypted message is referred to as plain text. On its encrypted/unreadable form it is referred to as ciphertext.
Basic forms of encryption may be as simple as arranging letters and advanced encryption may be as difficult as forming new ones. As cryptography advanced, cryptographers added more steps, and decryption became more difficult. Wheels and gears would be combined to create complex encryption systems. Computer algorithms have now replaced mechanical encryption.
Now you’ll wonder when was ‘Encryption’ invented
First, I’ll tell that Encryption is a method used in ‘Cryptography’.
The first known evidence of the use of cryptography (in some form) was found in an inscription carved around 1900BC, in the main chamber of the tomb of the nobleman Khnumhotep II, in Egypt. The scribe used some unusual hieroglyphic symbols here and there in place of more ordinary ones. the purpose was not to hide the message but perhaps to change its form in a way that would make it appear dignified. Though the inscription was not a form of secret writing but incorporated some sort of transformation of the original text, and is the oldest known to do so. Evidence of some use of cryptography has been seen in the most major early civilizations.
Fast-forwarding to around 100 BC, Julius Caesar was known to use a form of encryption to convey secret messages to his army generals posted in the war front. This substitution cipher, known as Caesar cipher which is perhaps the most mentioned historic cipher in academic literature (A cipher is an algorithm used for encryption or decryption). In a substitution cipher, each character of the plain text (plain text is a message which is to be encrypted) is substituted by another character to form the ciphertext (ciphertext is the encrypted message). The variant used by Caesar was a shift by 3 ciphers. Each character was shifted by 3 places, so the character ‘A’ was replaced by ‘D’, ‘B’ was replaced by ‘E’, and so on. The characters would wrap around at the end, so ‘X’ would be replaced by ‘A’
How does Encryption work?
Private and Public keys are usually generated with random number generators or computer algorithms that mimic random number generators. A more complex way that computers can create keys is by using user mouse movement to create unique seeds. Modern systems that have forward secrecy involve generating a fresh key for every session, to add another layer of security.
Terms used in Encryption
Key: Random string of bits created specifically for scrambling and unscrambling the data. These are used to encrypt are used to encrypt and /or decrypt data. Each key is unique and created via an algorithm to make sure it is unpredictable. “Longer the keys harder to crack”.Common key lengths are 128 bits for symmetric key algorithms and 2048 bits for public-key algorithms.
- Private Key (or Symmetric key): This means that the encryption and decryption keys are the same. The two parties must have the same key before they can achieve secure communication.
- Public Key: This means that the encryption keys are published and available for anyone to use. Only the receiving party has access to the decryption key that enables them to read the message.
Cipher: An algorithm used for encryption or decryption. It is a set of steps that are followed as a procedure to encrypt information. There are two main types of ciphers and stream ciphers.
Algorithm: An algorithm is a procedure that the encryption process follows. The specific algorithm is called the cipher or code. There are many types of encryption algorithms. The encryption’s goal and level of security determine the most effective solution. Triple DES(Data Encryption Standard), RSA(Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), and Blowfish are some examples of encryption algorithms ciphers.
Decryption: The process of switching unreadable ciphertext to a readable format.
Cryptanalysis: The study of ciphers and cryptosystem to find weaknesses in them that would allow access to the information without knowing the key or algorithm.
Frequency Analysis: A technique used to crack a cipher. Those trying to decrypt a message will study the frequency of letters or groups of letters in a ciphertext. Because some letters occur more often than others, the frequency of letters can reveal parts of the encrypted message. While this method was effective in cracking old encryption methods, it is ineffective against modern encryption.
Why do we need ‘Encryption’ in today’s day?
While encryption doesn't magically convey the security, it can still be used to protect a user’s identity and privacy. If we are ever being watched, inadvertently or not, we can hide our data by using properly implemented cryptosystems. According to cryptographic and security privacy specialist Bruce Schneier- “Encryption works best if it is ubiquitous and automatic. It should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you only turn on when you’re doing something you consider worth protecting”
Technology is supposed to make our daily lives easier and more efficient. Of course, if you fail to understand modern technology or realize the importance of data security, you and your company will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Companies aren’t immune to security breaches, but implementation data encryption is the safest way to protect confidential information and your organization’s reputation with current and future clients. Two important reasons why you must encrypt your data are the reasons why you must encrypt your data are because of how easy and how important it is. Encryption and data security are becoming easier for IT pros, as more and more organizations implement it. Knowing its importance will only improve it further, with data security now the highest priority.
Nowadays with modern-style encryption, data is transmitted and scrambled in such a way that it can only be decrypted by someone possessing the actual encryption key. It makes your life easier, and more importantly, makes it as hard as possible for whoever is trying to hack into your stuff.
The benefits of encryption are not only restricted to internet use. You can also encrypt data on your computer, hard drives, USB, mobile devices, etc. This will prevent misuse of the data f the device has been hacked, lost or stolen. The importance of encryption is all in the numbers. Statics have shown that cybercrime is rising drastically. All you need to do is watch the news to know all of this means that the need for encryption to keep your data secure is imperative. Encryption keeps your confidential data secret and gives your your customers some comfort in knowing that their data doesn’t up in the wrong hands. You really can’t put a price on “PEACE OF MIND”, can you?
So think on it and start using the IoT devices, apps services you use, that provide “ENCRYPTION”