Learn about data security, encryption, hashing and encoding in our knowledge base.
Encryption is the process of converting plaintext (unencrypted data) into ciphertext (encrypted data) using a secret key. The key is used to transform the data in a way that makes it unreadable to anyone who does not have access to the key. When the recipient receives the encrypted data, they can decrypt it using the same key to retrieve the original plaintext message.
Encryption is used to protect the confidentiality of communications and data by ensuring that only the intended recipient can read the message. It is an important tool for protecting sensitive information, such as financial data, personal information, and intellectual property.
There are two main types of encryption: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.
Symmetric encryption, also known as secret-key encryption, uses the same key for both encryption and decryption. This means that the same key must be shared between the sender and the recipient in order for the message to be encrypted and decrypted. Examples of symmetric encryption algorithms include the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the Blowfish cipher.
Asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, uses a pair of keys for encryption and decryption. One key, known as the public key, is used to encrypt the message, while the other key, known as the private key, is used to decrypt it. This means that the public key can be shared with anyone, while the private key must be kept secret. Examples of asymmetric encryption algorithms include the RSA algorithm and the Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) algorithm.
It is important to note that while encryption can be effective at protecting the confidentiality of communications and data, it is not foolproof and can be vulnerable to various types of attacks. It is always important to use strong, unique keys and to regularly update them to maintain the security of encrypted data.