Dance Like No One's Watching. Encrypt Like Everyone is!
By Kamal Jacob
Sensitive information such as credit card transactions, internet banking, and corporate communications is done via the Internet. Thanks to encryption, transactions, communication, and confidential data are secure and transmitted from one device to another device without being compromised. Strong encryption protects data against malicious attacks.
Intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and passwords are a good way of protecting the data, but encryption takes it to the next level by converting the data to ciphertext so that it is unreadable by unauthorized entities.
Importance of encryption in the online world
Encryption allows you to secure data and protect from unauthorized access. Companies use it to protect customers’ data, governments use it to protect secret information, and individuals use it for protection against things like identity theft.
Data warehouses take a backup of vast amounts of data which they can’t afford to lose. To protect their data and backup they secure files through encryption. Email encryption is also widely used by companies to convert their emails to ciphertext and protect their emails from being leaked.
Types of Encryption Schemes
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Symmetric Key Encryption:
In Symmetric encryption, keys used for encrypting the data into ciphertext and decrypting the data to retrieve the original message are the same. This makes the data unreadable and unusable for entities who doesn’t have the shared key. However, if the shared key is stolen by someone, then one can easily decrypt the data and look into it.
Asymmetric Key Encryption:
Asymmetric encryption uses two different keys: a private key and a public key. The sender of the message uses Public key to encrypt the data. The receiver of the message needs to use the public key of the sender and own private key to successfully decrypt the message. Asymmetric encryption is highly secure.
Advanced Encryption Standard:
It is a symmetric encryption algorithm. It is widely used by software and hardware such as wireless routers. It uses a block cipher to encrypt one fixed-size block at a time. The length of the block can be 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit. Larger block size results in more rounds of encryption. For example, there are 10 rounds for 128-bit block and 14 rounds for a 256-bit block.
It uses asymmetric key encryption to secure data over an insecure network. RSA factors large integers which are the product of two large prime numbers. Besides, the key size used by RSA is quite large, which further enhances security. Most RSA keys are 1024-bits and 2048-bits long. Due to these factors, RSA is considered as one of the most secure encryption algorithms. However, as the key size is much larger than many other algorithms, it impacts performance, and it takes longer time to encrypt and decrypt the message.
How companies use encryption to fight cybercrime
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ProtonMail is an open-source end-to-end encrypted email service protected by Swiss privacy law. It helps individuals and organizations to send encrypted emails. Tutanota is a Germany based company providing similar services to individuals and corporate organizations.
2 years ago, IBM launched the next generation of the world’s most powerful transaction system called IBM Z. It brought significant advances in cryptography technology. It is capable of processing 12 billion+ encrypted transactions per day. It encrypts data associated with any apps, clouds, or database.
How to encrypt sensitive information?
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There are various online and offline tools which allow you to encrypt text and files. If you want to learn more about how each encryption technique work and formula behind these techniques, you can click here.
If you want to do a practical demo of how encryption tools work then, you can check Cryptii online tool which allows you to encrypt and decrypt text using various encryption techniques. If you want to practice encryption offline, you can use an offline tool called CrypTool 2. It has multiple crypt analytical tools to analyze classical and modern ciphers.
How Encryption is vital to cybersecurity?
Because of hackers and cybercriminals present across the globe, cybersecurity professionals who take proper training will continue to be valued by entities who deal with sensitive data. Financial and banking firms, government agencies, and private companies need cybersecurity professionals to keep their networks and data secure.
However, Encryption is not sufficient alone to guarantee the security of sensitive data throughout its lifetime. We hope this article helped you to learn encryption, it’s types and importance of encryption. If you liked this article, feel free to share with people who will benefit from it.
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