“Encryption provides enormous benefits to society by enabling secure communications, data storage, and online transactions. “
- William Barr
Big companies often invest a lot of money for data security. It is important to secure data to prevent secrets getting in the wrong hands. Hacking, phishing and other cyber attacks have increased a lot.
In order to prevent such issues it is important to adopt secure measures that will help in protection of not only the data but the companies as well. Companies should educate the personnel to adopt such measures and learn to be aware of the possible threats.
Leaking important and sensitive information about the company is a crime and can defame the company and people associated with it. Thus, the concept of data encryption came into picture.
In this blog you will learn about Data Encryption and how it helps in securing data.
Also Read | All about Cybersecurity Threats
Concept of Data Encryption
If we define encryption it means securing data using mathematical techniques. Often a password or a key is generated that helps in decrypting the encrypted data. An encryption process is done in which the information is converted into unreadable format using algorithms.
In short, encryption is converting “plain text” into “cipher text”, it is not so complex as it sounds because it is done using data encryption tools. When a user wants to read the cipher text, he can use a key and convert the text into readable form again. It is a binary key that converts ciphertext back to plain text.
“Without strong encryption, you will be spied on systematically by lots of people.”
- Whitfield Diffie
Encryption is important for companies and executives to protect their sensitive information from getting hacked or stolen. Data theft is very common nowadays. Let us take a simple example- Websites that take information of credit cards or bank account details must use encryption to protect such sensitive information.
In order to prevent frauds and data theft encryption layers should be used. Mathematical term of encryption is “ Cryptography”.
The strength or power of encryption depends on the length of the key. You must have heard of a 40-bit encryption or 56-bit encryption, but it is also prone to hacking.
So the developers later on came up with a higher form i.e. 128-bit encryption. This high level encryption became the standard length for the web browser.
Also Read | Cryptanalysis in Cryptography
Why is Data Encryption Necessary?
Data encryption is a very useful tool. It can encrypt data at two different stages: at rest and in transit. It means you can encrypt data at rest and even when it is moving i.e. being transferred somewhere else.
There are multiple advantages of using Data Encryption like:
Also Read | Big Data Analytics in Cybersecurity
Examples of Data Encryption
Given below are examples of Data Encryption softwares that individuals and companies can use within their budget.
Released in - 2001
It relies on the AES algorithm that was released by the National Institute of Standard and Technology. Here the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt data.
It involves three different authentication mechanisms namely: transparent operation, user authentication and USB key mode.
Released in - 2013
It can be easily downloaded and it charges no extra cost. It cannot encode individual files but the entire partition. If we use it on Microsoft devices then we can encrypt complete storage devices.
In this 5 key ciphers are used: AES, Serpent, Camellia, Kuznyechik and Twofish.
Released in- 1999
It supports 256-bit encryption and also relies on the AES encryption algorithm. It can also be a traditional file manager. Its features are: option to run, CPU threading etc. The main purpose of using 7-zip is to create archives. The extensions include: .zip, .wim, .xz.
Released in- 2001
It also runs on 256-bit encryption and is a very popular alternative. It also provides various other options such as password manager, apps. It is one of the best subscription based options in the market. You also get awareness about cloud storage like dropbox, google drive etc.
Also Read | Cryptographic Key Management
Types of Data Encryption
There are two types of Data Encryption:
Symmetric and Asymmetric. These two types are based on the type of key that is used for encryption and decryption of data.
Types of Data Encryption
Symmetric Data Encryption
As the name is suggesting, Symmetric Data Encryption has similar keys for encryption and decryption. It is an easier way of encrypting data because a similar key is given to the user and recipient.
This ease is also a critical factor because of security concerns. Examples of symmetric encryption include- Blowfish, AES, DES. Both sender and recipient have to keep their keys secret.
The key can be some random letters, numbers or even a string. It is one of the oldest methods of encryption. The person sending information has to know the key for encrypting and decrypting.
The biggest disadvantage of using a symmetric method is that everyone has to know the key.
Asymmetric Data Encryption
As the name implies, Asymmetric Data Encryption contains a pair of keys. There is one key for encrypting the data and another key for decrypting it. The keys are called “private key” and “public key”.
Private key is kept secret by the owner whereas the public key is shared amongst different people for encrypting or decrypting the information. The information that you decrypt with a public key can only be encrypted using a private key and vice versa.
One of the best parts of Asymmetric Data Encryption is that data transfer takes place without any risk of unauthorized access or hacking.
Also Read | Information Security
In today’s time Data Encryption is used by Governments, military people, banks and even companies to protect the sensitive information.