The term ‘encryption’ features at the heart of conversations about data protection, and the majority of people are aware that it plays an important role in information security.
However, very few of us know how it actually works. Here’s everything you need to know about encryption in a nutshell.
What is encryption?
Encryption involves modifying information in a way that can only be interpreted by the recipient. To decrypt the data, the recipient uses a special “key,” which is usually the same or similar to the key that was used in the encryption.
What’s so great about encryption?
• It offers a high level of protection
• It allows data to be transferred between devices in a secure way
• It provides security to data storage companies
What are the downsides?
• It can take a lot of time to encrypt large amounts of data
• It can incur a loading delay
• It can make it difficult to share files or collaborate
It’s highly likely that you’re already interacting with encrypted data on a daily basis, even without knowing it.
For example, every time you make a payment using a credit card, an algorithm is executed that scrambles your information in a way that renders it impossible to read, even by the person or financial institution you are making the payment to.
The data remains scrambled until you decrypt it with the correct decryption key. Another good example is that of WhatsApp, which encrypts all messages by default.
Without a doubt, encryption plays a fundamental role in your everyday life and is increasingly important in the contemporary era of data breaches and hackers.
However, you should always remember that encryption does have its drawbacks and basic encryption solutions should never be your sole mechanism of defense.