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Every second, a ton of information gets transmitted over the internet, from personal messages you send to your friends, to sensitive information like your credit card number or your health records. According to research conducted by Statista, by 2021, global IP data traffic is predicted to amount to 278,108 petabytes per month. Thanks to data encryption, the transmission of confidential data among different networks is possible without compromise.
Data Encryption is a process where any piece of information gets encoded and is readable only to a person authorized with the encryption or decryption key, based on the data encryption method used. The data, also commonly referred to as ciphertext, appears scrambled, or contain gibberish characters when accessed by anyone who does not hold permission.
What Is Data Encryption?
Passwords, security questions, OTP verification, firewalls are all means of securing data in the world of internet. However, encryption is the most adequate and widely used method; it converts messages, emails, images, basically any form of data into scrambled, unreadable ciphertext.
How Is Data Encrypted?
Data Encryption is a process to convert data or digital information into an unreadable set of complex codes using various algorithms. These algorithms protect digital data by providing confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation. Only a system or an individual who possesses the key can decrypt the information correctly. Decryption is the exact opposite process of encryption; it's used to convert the encrypted form of data back to its original form.
Types of Data Encryption
Encryption generally is applied in two primary forms - symmetric key encryption & asymmetric key encryption. Blockchain cryptography is also making waves in the field of data encryption.
Symmetric (Primary Key Encryption)
It is the most straightforward form of encryption; it involves only one private key to cipher-decipher the data or information. Private Key technique is the oldest form of encryption method. It mainly uses numbers or strings of characters blended along with the data impacting the information in a way that it becomes complicated and unreadable.
The most significant disadvantage of symmetric key encryption is that the sender and receiver require an exchange of keys before the data is encoded.
Asymmetric (Public Key Encryption)
Also known as Public-key cryptography, it's a relatively new inclusion in the process of data encryption; it uses a set of two keys to encode the information, a secret key, and a public key. The public key is made available to anyone who wishes to communicate with you. The secret key is kept private to the source computer/device. To decrypt any data that uses this mode of cryptography, both the keys are required, the public key and the source device's private key.
Asymmetric encryption gets used in daily life communication channels, emails, internet chats, mostly any such services over the internet.
Why Is Encryption Necessary for Cyber Security?
Attacks and security threats are the primary reason why encryption is so important in the cyber world. Many attacks are possible over an ongoing or different network whenever a connection gets established.
These are attacks that impede the user's system and cause loss of confidential data. It includes activities like DOS attacks, malware injection, database invasions, and unauthorized internet access.
Execution of these kinds of attacks happens during the traversal of data through communication channels. Confidential data gets stolen from these channels, and various data extraction techniques, like brute force, are applied to the stolen data to decrypt the original information.
Uncertified Services & Applications
Installation and usages of unauthorized applications and services lead to security breaches and intrusions. Use only certified applications and services to avoid such scenarios.
Unauthorized intrusions within the network can cause data record leaks and loss of confidential information. Proper user authentication methods can avoid these situations. Use certified resources to identify user's identity, and perform timely maintenance checks.
Whenever networks and resources get attacked by suspicious malware, viruses, or Trojan Horses, the security of the system or network of business is in danger. It could lead to substantial data loss, compromising information that could compromise the fortunes for businesses, or personal data.
Securing Networks via SSL
Secure Socket Layer is a way of encryption, it is a security certification for websites that ensures if the site is safe and secure for sensitive data transmission. Whenever a website sends or receives data, SSL help protects from attackers accessing the data during its transit.
Most genuine websites have SSL certification. A green-padded lock on the left of the URL represents SSL security, and you could also double-check by confirming if there's an 'S' in 'HTTPS://' to make sure you're completing a secure transaction online.
Why Is SSL Important?
If you perform any transactions that involve the transmission of personal information, like updating your driver’s license, paying bills, or making online purchases, then using appropriate sites with SSL is a wise thought.
According to statements released by Google, if the website does not contain SSL certification, Google will flag your site 'Not Secure', affecting your website's SEO and search engine rankings adversely.
Hacking is business, and legit multinational outfits perform large scale data breaches to fill their pockets. They're no longer angry kids with computers, they're motivated groups that steal information and perform security breaches.
Health care-related sites, websites observing social causes, and online retailers must abide by regulation to implement security features that protect any private information stored on their databases. These regulations can be found under laws and acts like the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Fair Credit Practices Act (FCPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The fascinating world of internet for sure opens us up to a sea of information, but it also makes our devices, systems, and networks vulnerable to attacks and phishing, causing loss of data and private information leaks. Data encryption can protect this sensitive and valuable information through various techniques we discussed - Cryptography, firewalls, watermarking, etcetera, assuring and safeguarding our classified information.
About the Author:
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing Blog. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.
Twitter at https://twitter.com/rightmixmktg
- Hakin9 is a monthly magazine dedicated to hacking and cybersecurity. In every edition, we try to focus on different approaches to show various techniques - defensive and offensive. This knowledge will help you understand how most popular attacks are performed and how to protect your data from them. Our tutorials, case studies and online courses will prepare you for the upcoming, potential threats in the cyber security world. We collaborate with many individuals and universities and public institutions, but also with companies such as Xento Systems, CATO Networks, EY, CIPHER Intelligence LAB, redBorder, TSG, and others.
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