What is data encryption?
Encryption scrambles up existing data so that only authorized people can understand it. Encryption is actually a form of steganography, a fancy word for hiding secret data in plain sight. Think about using invisible ink to write a secret message to a spy, for example, or using a code to translate a message only specific parties can understand. Encryption is a valuable tool of cybersecurity; in fact, there’s an entire profession devoted to it! Cryptographers are cybersecurity professionals who create the algorithms and ciphers needed to encrypt data.
Data encryption is the process of converting plaintext data into a form that is unreadable to anyone without the proper decryption key. Encryption is used to protect the confidentiality of data, ensuring that only authorized parties can access it.
There are two main types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric. With symmetric encryption, the same key is used to both encrypt and decrypt the data. This means that the key must be kept secret, as anyone with access to it would be able to decrypt the encrypted data. Asymmetric encryption, on the other hand, uses two different keys: a public key that is used to encrypt the data, and a private key that is used to decrypt it. This allows for secure communication even if the public key is widely known, as only the owner of the private key is able to decrypt the data.
Encryption is an important tool for protecting the confidentiality of sensitive data, such as financial transactions, personal information, and government secrets. It is used in a variety of contexts, including online communication, storage of data in the cloud, and secure transmission of data over networks.