How does Encryption Work?

By | February 26, 2020

Everyday computing devices utilize some for of encryption technology. Even your smart phone, tablet, and Kindle use encryption of some sort. For this reason, you’re justified to learn how encryption works and why you really need it.

How does Encryption Work?

Encryption is a form of cryptography that gives you the chance to conceal your personal information so that no one can access it. Encryption is nothing but a complex algorithm which is programmed to convert plain text into random characters (cipher text). These random characters cannot be read by anyone unless the reader has a special key which converts them into readable characters. If you have the key, you can decrypt the random characters so that they are presented in form of plain text as opposed to random characters which can’t be understood.

There are two types of encryption techniques

These are called Public Key and Private Key encryption techniques. These techniques are similar in the sense that they allow users to hide data from others. However, they are still different from each other in how they handle the steps involved in encrypting and decrypting data.

Let’s see what happens in Public Encryption method

This encryption makes use of recipient’s public key and a matching key as well. For instance, if both Joe and Dick had a public key and a matching private key for a common box respectively, Joe would have the privilege of accessing the box and putting content therein. However, it would be impossible for him to view or retrieve anything from that box. On the other hand, Dick would open and view or remove content of the box using his matching private key. But since she doesn’t have a matching public key, it is impossible for him to add things into the box.

In the digital context, Joe can encrypt items in the box and send them to Dick who in turn can decrypt the information and convert it into plain text. Only Dick has a matching private key for this purpose.

Private Key encryption

In the case of a private key, we can encrypt the ciphertext and send it the way it is. On the other end, the user with the private key can decrypt this information into plain text again.

The difference between public and private keys is in the purpose of the keys. In this setup, we still have the 2 keys needed to communicate. And these 2 keys are essentially the same. For instance, if Joe and Dick had the box mentioned above, their keys in this case would address the same purpose. The 2 parties would be able to add or remove things from that particular box.

In terms of digital language, Joe now has the power to both encrypt and decrypt items from that particular box. The same can be said about Dick as well.

In conclusion, encryption never guarantees that information will be 100% secured. But it does everything possible to prevent hacks in our everyday digital lives. Now you don’t have to worry about your personal information getting stolen on the internet. That’s because data encryption is doing the hard security work for you, even though you’re oblivious of this fact.

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