What is Encryption - GoTechTalk


Sunday, December 16, 2018

What is Encryption

When we visit a website that feature that little padlock in the corner of our browser we're trusting it to keep our data safe and whether it's our credit card numbers sensitive, work documents or those photos that you told your friend not to take. Various types of encryption standards ensure that they are kept out of the praying hands of intruders, while they zip around on the Internet but aside from the reassuring little icon on your computer screen what's actually going on what is encryption??

All right so while today's blog focuses on encryption on the web specifically and the procedures used for encrypting data can be massively complex the fundamental idea behind all encryption is really quite simple whenever you transfer encrypted information your computer turns that data into an unintelligible mess or cipher-text that can only be put back into a readable form by unlocking it with a key of some sort that tells the receiving computer how to decode the incoming message this basic concept has actually been used to send secret messages since long before the invention of computers.

Ciphers are various kinds have been used for thousands of years and machines that could encode and decode messages were in use before the modern PC ever came along, Thomas Jefferson invented a wheel cipher that was nothing more than wooden disks around an axle and then the Germans famously used a typewriter like device called the Enigma machine to encrypt military messages during World War II, although the Allies were able to crack that code.

Now back to the web era modern electronics often use a widespread encryption scheme called public key encryption, suppose you want to send an email when you click send the receiving computer will provide your computer with what's called a public key a public key is generated by the computer just randomly choosing a very large number and running it through some mathematical functions, once your computer receives this public key it uses the key to lock the email using a special algorithm then sends it on its way, now since anyone can request a public key from a computer the public key can't be used to unlock a message otherwise anyway could intercept and read your encrypted emails and would defeat the purpose, instead the recipients computer unlocks the message with a private key that is stored on that system alone making it mercifully impossible for anyone else to view the terrible poetry you sent to your girlfriend that has her rethinking things.

Public key encryption isn't just used for email it's actually the basis of tons of websites that require you to sign in securely if you've ever clicked on that little padlock and saw a mention of SSL or TLS these are two implementations of public key encryption that are widely used by Google Facebook Microsoft and many more to make sure that only you can access your data or change your settings, now once the sensitive data actually arrives at its destination there are a number of other encryption methods use to make sure it can sit on the computer or server safely for example you probably have a password and credit card number and stored with Amazon for example, how do they keep those things safe often web servers will hash your passwords meaning that they're converted into encrypted strings of text through a process that is extremely difficult to reverse and can't be unlocked with a key now with all that said it is important to remember that no system of encryption is perfect and experts in the field are constantly searching for weaknesses and encryption algorithms and devising new ones to outsmart hacker.

Alright, guys, that's the end of the blog, thanks for reading the whole way through if you enjoyed this blog please share it with someone who would be interested and leave a comment, Thanks for reading guys.

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