Modern computers have tools to secure data and make it unreadable for anyone who does not have the correct key. But what is encryption exactly, and how does it work? This article provides the fundamentals of encryption and how it helps secure sensitive information from hackers.
Data encryption is the process of changing readable information into a coded form that can only be deciphered with the authentic passwords of authorized users. It is a crucial element of cyber-security, which ensures data security and keeps sensitive information from non-authorized users.
A common form of encryption employs cryptographic mathematical models to transform the original data into a fragmented set of characters that aren’t readable (known as ciphertext). The encryption algorithms “scramble” individual bits in a randomized fashion so that even with massive computing power, it will take a very long time to discover the key that will convert back to plain text.
If you use AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) which is the most commonly used encryption method, for your digital files, then each of the ones and 0s in the file is scrambled 10 times in a semi random pattern. Without the correct key to decipher it, the computer will have to run for a very long time in order to organize them all to the correct order.
The encryption process also helps prevent the leak of information and attacks by ransomware. If hackers steal encrypted data, they won’t be able to read it, and they will be in a position to not blackmail the business or the individuals involved in the threat of sharing the stolen information to the dark web. The encryption also safeguards backup systems from hackers, since they cannot access the data in its original format.