In our previous post we discussed about data and the role it is playing in this digital era. If you haven't read the post already, you can read it here.
We understood how important data is for a person and for an organization. Without data, it is not possible to run a business. This high importance possess a threat for the data to be stolen. Hence it is the responsibility of the owner to protect their data and make sure that it is not landing in malicious hand.
Data security is becoming an inevitable phenomenon to consider in this evolving world. Multiple security measures are being imposed such as firewalls, proxy servers, anti Viruses to protect the data. However, hackers are also developing their skills to break them and have their hands on our data. Data Encryption is one of the efficient methods that is widely being used by people to protect their data. With the help of encryption, we can be confident that even if source of the data is stolen, the underlying information will still be protected. So let's know more about this encryption.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is one of practices used in Cryptography. It is the process of converting original information into the form which cannot be read by an unauthorized person. Only the sender and the recipient can interpret the message. Let’s understand how encryption works with the help of below example.
Alice and Sarah are high school students who have the habit of passing messages in paper during class hours. One day they were caught by the teacher when Alice passed the paper to Sarah. Their teacher appreciated both after reading the paper. All other students had no clue about this. But Alice and Sarah knew. Below is the message written in the paper.
What do you think? Are they really practicing mathematics that we misunderstood? Of course not. They are really passing messages. The message hidden behind this math problem is “Shall We Leave”. Wonder how?.
Alice and Sarah have their own way of communicating messages which cannot be read by a third person. Only they can decode the message. Below are the steps to decode this message.
Replace the number with equivalent alphabet and remove the +. At this step, the message will look like below.
Letters within brackets belongs to same word and * indicate space. Hence after removing brackets and replacing * with space, the original message will be “Shall We Leave”. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
This is a simple example to demonstrate how encryption and decryption works. This kind of encryption was used in earlier days to communicate messages during war times and also for military communications. The sender will share the decrypting steps only with trusted parties. With the invention of computers, encryption becomes more trustable and it is still evolving.
Let’s understand some basic terminologies related to data encryption.
Plain Text: The original information that really conveys the message. In above scenario “Shall we Leave” is a plain text.
CipherText: Encrypted message which cannot be read by an unauthorized person.
Cipher: The steps involved in converting plain text into ciphertext.
Key: Key which should be used to decrypt the message.
Data Encryption can only prevent data from being read by the attacker and it won't really prevent the data from being stolen. Encryption is the last step in protecting our data. Hence it is our duty to follow all the best practices to avoid cyber attacks and being more vigilant.
Will see more about encryption in upcoming blogs. Thank you for reading!!!