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What Is Encryption?

Encryption refers to a means of digital data security that involves using mathematical techniques to encode information stored or transmitted from one computer or device to another. Only an individual or device that bears the encryption key or password can decrypt the information. Leading financial institutions that seek to secure personal information use data encryption technology to meet these needs.

Deeper Definition

In a digitally connected world like ours, with large volumes of information being exchanged daily, it is essential to protect and secure private information, messages, and financial transactions. Encryption processes make this possible by translating the data using an algorithm by which the original data becomes unreadable except for authorized users who possess the right key or cipher. The algorithms could be either symmetric-key or asymmetric keys. For the former, the same key performs encryption and decryption functions, while for the latter, different keys control the two separate processes. There is an advanced encryption standard (AES), a protocol for the encryption of data created in 2001 by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology. The AES uses a 128-bit block size and key lengths of 128, 192, and 256 bits. Another means of cryptography is by using hashing, which can be verified by running them through the same hash function and verifying them as identical to the original hashed data.

Some of the ways data can be encrypted include private key encryption, by which two computers can communicate directly using codes to protect messages. Another one is the public key encryption which uses both the private and public key to aid communication between the participating devices.

Encryption Example

For each time that accesses to a website is sought, especially for permission-based ones where usernames and passwords are requested, encryptions of this information are done, and by this means, the server hosting the website and the communicating computer or mobile device then agree on the protocol for the transfer of the encrypted information.

Encryption can be detected if a padlock icon is displayed on the URL bar and if the website address contains “https://.”

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