Understanding Encryption

  • Encryption is a method of scrambling data to prevent unauthorised access.
  • The process of encryption involves translating plain text data into something that appears to be random and meaningless, known as cipher text.
  • A special key, or set of algorithms, is used for encryption and decryption process.
  • The key is known only to the sender and recipient and is what makes the encrypted data secure.
  • Encryption is a critical part of modern-day data security and is used in a variety of applications, including secure email, web browsing, and online banking.

Types of Encryption

  • Symmetric encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption. It is faster and more efficient but less secure as anyone with the key can decrypt the message.
  • Asymmetric encryption uses two different keys: a public key to encrypt the data and a private key to decrypt it. It is more secure but slower due to the complexity of the keys.

Encoding vs Encryption

  • Both encoding and encryption are used to convert data from one form to another, but they serve different purposes.
  • Encoding is used to protect the integrity of data as it is transferred across networks or stored. It does not provide any security because there is no key to hide the meaning of the data.
  • Encryption, on the other hand, is used to securely protect data from being accessed by unintended users.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a set of roles, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption.
  • The purpose of a PKI is to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of information for a range of network activities such as e-commerce, internet banking, and confidential email.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)

  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and its successor Transport Layer Security (TLS) are cryptographic protocols designed to provide communications security over a computer network.
  • They use encryption to protect the data being transferred, ensure it cannot be modified or corrupted during transmission without detection, and authenticate the parties at either end of the transmission.