How Encryption Keeps Data Safe?

How Encryption Keeps Data Safe?
How Encryption Keeps Data Safe?

What is encryption?

Encryption is a way to scramble text so that only the person who knows the secret code, or decryption key, can read it. It helps protect sensitive information like data.

Personal information is managed and stored online, either in the cloud or on servers that are always connected to the web. Your personal information will almost always end up in a company's networked computer system if you do business with them. This is why it's important to know how to help keep that information private.

How does encryption work?

Encryption changes sensitive, personal data into text or computer code that can't be read. Those who are allowed to see the information can do so with a special encryption key that uses an algorithm to turn the unreadable code back into its original, readable form.

Secure encryption methods turn data into text that is so random that it should be impossible to "decrypt" or open the data without the authorization key. Data can be encrypted when it is being sent to a third party or when it is being stored (in transit encryption).

How encryption protects data?

Encryption keeps information secret at its most basic level. But it also does other things to make sure you can trust data that has been encrypted and decrypted.

  • Confidentiality: Codes the message and hides it.
  • Authentication: Checks where the message came from.
  • Integrity: Shows that the message hasn't been changed since it was sent.
  • Non-repudiation:  Assures a message sender can't claim they didn't send the message

Information is encrypted with formulas called encryption algorithms, or ciphers to keep it private. A variable called a key must be used in one part of the algorithm. This makes the output of the algorithm unique, which turns your data into code that can't be read.

If an unauthorized user gets a hold of your encrypted information, they have to either guess the encryption algorithm or the keys that were used as variables. This is a hard problem to solve, which is why encryption is such a good security tool.

What are the two main types of encryption systems?

A key to encrypting and decrypting data is a string of numbers. Algorithms are used to make encryption keys. Each key is unique and chosen at random.

Symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption are the two main types of encryption systems. Here are the differences.

  • Symmetric encryption lets you encrypt and decrypt data with the same password.
  • For both encryption and decryption, asymmetric encryption needs two keys. The data is encrypted with a public key that is shared among users. The data can only be read by a private key that is not shared.

How does encryption keep the Internet secure?

Most websites that are safe to use are a type of encryption called "secure sockets layer" (SSL) to protect the information that is sent to and from the site. This makes it hard for attackers to get to the data while it is being sent.

Want to know if a website uses this technology? Look for the lock icon and the "s" in "https://" in the URL bar. If you see these things, you'll know that your online transactions are safe and encrypted.

When you store or send sensitive information online, it's best to use sites that use SSL. If you use the Internet to do things like file your taxes, buy things, renew your driver's license, or take care of other personal business, it's a good idea to visit sites that use SSL.

What are the benefits of encrypting data?

Even though encryption isn't required yet, it has several important benefits:

  • It's a very effective way to make the data you process and control more secure.
  • If the hard drive of a company device is encrypted and the device is stolen or lost, the data on the device will still be safe.
  • It's one way to show regulators and your customers and clients that you care about data privacy.
  • When data is encrypted, only the person who is supposed to read it can read it. This keeps the privacy of the people whose data is being used.
  • If the data was properly encrypted, you may not have to tell the affected person about a data breach in certain situations. You will still have to tell the ICO, but if you don't have to tell clients or customers that their data has been breached, the damage to your reputation may be much less.

What are the risks of encryption?

Encryption is not a sure thing. Data can still be read by someone who is not authorized to do so in some situations. For instance, when a person who is allowed to use encrypted information leaves a device open and unattended while the information is not encrypted.

  • The device that stores the encrypted data gets a virus or other malicious software.
  • When a vulnerable application on a device is hacked, any data that application can access is made public.
  • Effective data protection training can help deal with many of the risks that come with the insecurity of encrypted data.

Best practices for computer encryption

It's a big step for your business to use encryption techniques across the board. You need to make sure that:

  • Get the right encryption product
  • Audit your data
  • Keep keys secure
  • Have a sound encryption strategy
  • Carry out random checks on your systems
  • Review your encryption policies regularly

Can scammers use encryption to commit cybercrimes?

Encryption is meant to keep your information safe, but it can also be used to hurt you. Targeted ransomware is a type of cybercrime that can affect businesses and government offices of all sizes. Ransomware can also go after specific people who use computers. How do attacks with ransomware happen? Attackers use ransomware to encrypt the devices of their victims, like their computers and servers. Before giving the key to decrypt the encrypted data, the attackers often want to be paid a ransom. The goal is to get people to pay so they can get back to their important files, data, video, and pictures.

Ransomware attacks on government agencies can shut down services, making it hard to get a permit, get a marriage license, or pay a tax bill, for example. Most of the news about ransomware attacks is about attacks on big companies and government agencies. But you could also be hit by ransomware.

How can you protect yourself against ransomware?

Here are some tips to help you keep your devices safe from ransomware attacks and the risk that your data will be encrypted and you won't be able to get to it.

  • Install and use trusted security software on all of your devices, including your cell phone. Update your security software regularly. It can help keep hackers from getting into your devices.
  • Your operating system and other software should be up-to-date. This can be used to fix security holes.
  • Don't automatically open email attachments. Why? Email is one of the most common ways for ransomware to spread.
  • Be wary of email attachments that say you need to turn on macros to see what's inside. If you enable macros, macro malware can infect multiple files.
  • Use an external hard drive to make a copy of your files. If you get hit by ransomware, it's likely that you'll be able to get your files back once the malware is gone.
  • You might want to use cloud services. This can help if you get ransomware because many cloud services keep old versions of files, so you can "roll back" to the version that wasn't encrypted.
  • Don't give the money. You could pay a ransom to get your files back, but there's a chance you won't. There's no guarantee that the hacker will give you back your information.
  • To keep your sensitive personal information safe, encryption is a must. But when ransomware is used against you, it can be used against you. It's smart to take steps to get the good things and avoid the bad things.

What is the strongest encryption method?

There are a few different approaches of encryption that are believed to be reliable. However, the Advanced Encryption Standard, more often referred to as AES, is a popular option among individuals who want to safeguard both their data and their communications. Since 2002, this kind of encryption has been considered to be the standard by the United States government. AES is used on a global scale.

Everyday examples of data encryption

 Some examples of common uses of encryption are:

  • ATMs: When you use an ATM, the information you give is encrypted to keep it safe.
  • Online payments:  Your payment details are protected by encryption.
  • Web traffic:  By default, many websites encrypt your web use. When you use a site that starts with "https" (the "s" stands for "secure"), your information is encrypted.
  • Messaging Apps: End-to-end encryption is now possible with messaging apps like WhatsApp. If hackers get into WhatsApp, they won't be able to read your messages because they are encrypted.
  • Digital rights management systems: It keeps content from being used or copied without permission and protect software from being reverse-engineered.
  • Data "at rest": Reliable businesses always encrypt the data they store.