Encryption as part of IT Security
What is encryption?
Encryption is the method of converting information into secret code that hides the information’s true meaning. The science of encrypting and decrypting information is called cryptography.
Unencrypted data is known as plaintext, and encrypted data is called ciphertext. The formulas used to encode and decode messages are called encryption algorithms, or cyphers. We know it sounds like a lot of complex term words but it’s quite an important part of your day to day internet activities! To be effective, a cypher includes a variable as part of the algorithm. The variable, which is called a key, is what makes a cypher’s output unique. When an encrypted message is intercepted by an unauthorized entity, the intruder has to guess which cipher the sender used to encrypt the message, as well as what keys were used as variables. Since guessing the information would be very time consuming and difficult to do, which makes it a very valuable IT security tool.
Only a party that has received the encrypted data and is in possession of the key to decipher it, can access it and turn it back into plaintext. It means a third-party person should not be able to read the information or guess it.
What is a key in cryptography?
It’s like a physical key, it locks (encrypts) data so that only someone with the right key can unlock (decrypt) it.
What are the different types of encryption?
Key: Random string of bits created specifically for scrambling and unscrambling data. These are used to encrypt and/or decrypt data. Each key is unique and created via an algorithm to make sure it is unpredictable. Longer keys are harder to crack. Common key lengths are 128 bits for symmetric key algorithms and 20 48 bits for public-key algorithms.
- Private Key: This means that the encryption and decryption keys are the same. The two parties must have the same key before they can achieve secure communication.
- Public Key: This means that the encryption key is published and available for anyone to use. Only the receiving party has access to the decryption key that enables them to read the message.
ACS Technologies can help you implement simple but effective encryption technology whether you want to protect your email, some mobile devices or your whole network. We work closely with ESET on a day to day basis and can recommend what system protection would be best for your business.