Encrypted Forms Of Communication: Can We Trust Them?

Can We Trust Them

Practically everyone is connected to some form of social media or online activity, leading us to become vulnerable to identity theft and data compromise. If we aren’t conscientious enough to watch out for our online privacy, we may find ourselves the next victims of online threats.

Fortunately for us, there are many ways to secure personal private information. One emerging technology that people use to keep private data safe and secure is encryption. Microsoft defines encryption as “a way to enhance the security of a message or file by scrambling the contents so that it can be read only by someone who has the right encryption key to unscramble it.”

Whether it’s full hard drive encryption or some other form, this is how encryption works:

  • A normal and understandable set of data is converted to a series of apparently random characters through an algorithm known as a cipher, as described in this article.
  • The seemingly incomprehensible strip of characters can only be read by users if they possess a key that can unscramble or decrypt it.

The real question for any beginner is this: Is encryption really secure? To answer this, we need to look into the different forms of encryption and the level of security that each of them carries.

Symmetric encryption

How does it work?

This follows the most rudimentary definition of encryption: scramble readable data (using an encrypter) to make it unreadable, and use a key (or decrypter) to decipher the string of characters. This requires the same key to be used for the encrypter and decrypter.

How secure is it?

The key is pretty much the lifeblood of the security for this type of encryption. If the key is stored in an unsafe location and some malicious hacker gains access to it, then your data will probably become compromised. In other words, as long as the key is safe and away from prying eyes, then your data is pretty much airtight and vaulted.

Asymmetric encryption

How does it work?

It’s practically similar to symmetric encryption, except that you will need two keys: one for the encrypter, and the other for the decrypter. The public key is used to scramble your data, while a private or secret key is used to unscramble it.

How secure is it?

This type of encryption is used extensively on the Internet such as SSL connections and SSH sessions, both of which need extreme secrecy and privacy in accessing them. In a similar fashion as symmetric encryption, you’ll be safe as long as the private key is secure.

Online security services like IdentityForce use this kind of encryption to safeguard data. Check out this IdentityForce review for more details about data and identity security.

Hashing

How does it work?

Used mainly for passwords, hashing involves encrypting a line of alphanumeric text into a complex string of data called a hash. The generated string of text is unique for the encrypted data, and cannot be reversed to view the original data.

How secure is it?

It has become a standard for password generation and protection. The database will store only the hash string and not the original text, and so you’re guaranteed of a secure password every time. Its biggest limitation is that it’s not a real encryption method but merely a way of using cryptography to convert readable text to jargon.

Each of these encryption methods have their pros and cons, and it will really depend on your system and network layout to determine which one will best serve your purpose. If you want additional security measures, several privacy tools are available in the market to keep your browsing and online access safe.

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