What Is Data Encryption: How Does It Works and How To Use It?

Do you ever get a text saying that your chats with others are protected by encryption? Maybe you need to pay more attention or care about its meaning.

However, this security system is essential so that your data cannot be read by irresponsible third parties.

In this article, we will explain what encryption is all about, from its definition and use to the types that are useful for everyday activities on the internet.

Intro to Encryption

Encrypt, or encryption, is a way of scrambling data so that the information can only be read by people who have access to it. Technically, encryption is converting human-readable plain text into incomprehensible text.

The encrypted data or text is generally referred to as ciphertext. So, the purpose of the encryption process is to prevent third parties from knowing what is being shared or discussed. When a third party attempts to hack, they see random, incomprehensible text.

To be able to read it, a cryptographic key is needed. The cryptographic key is the character used in the encryption algorithm to randomize text into a random display. It can also convert it back into plaintext.

Although it looks very random, a particular logical system actually governs randomization. Good encryption is complex so that it is not easily broken by anyone.

Data Encryption

Data Encryption is a process where “plaintext,” or the primary form of data, is changed to “ciphertext,” or data that has been given a code so that the data cannot be read. The process is shorter and called “Encryption.”

This process can be done in many ways and with varying success.

There are some of the best data encryption that can last years, while there are those that can be broken in just minutes or seconds. Of course, nowadays, Data Encryption is necessary to protect our important data.

The “plaintext” or readable data is changed in the Data Encryption process so that the data can only be read by someone with the key. A straightforward way of Data Encryption is changing the letters. The trick is to replace the letters in the word with other letters.

As an example:

I have the word “Computer.” With the Data Encryption process, the letter “K” is changed to “Z,” the letter “M” is changed to “Y,” the letter “T” is changed to “L,” and so on.

Of course, only a person with a key like this can open the data. However, this method is straightforward for most people to guess. With a more complicated process, our data can be secured.

Data Encryption Types

As previously explained, Data Encryption can be done by substituting letters. But that’s too simple. At first, 64-bit encryption was relatively strong, but that turned out to be wrong after 128-bit encryption became public.

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is the newest standard because it is protected by 256-bit encryption methods.

Data Encryption actually consists of 2 categories, namely symmetric and asymmetric.

1. Symmetric

AES, DES, and Blowfish are Data Encryption methods that use symmetric algorithms. Each system uses a key where the key belongs to the owner of the data and also the Data Encryption program. This key can encrypt and decrypt data.

2. Asymetric

While asymmetric is used in the RSA method, a pair of keys will be generated, namely the private and public keys. The public key can be known by everyone and serves to encrypt data that will be sent to the owner. After the message is encrypted, it can only be decrypted by the data owner, because he has the private key.

How Does It Works?

Before encryption is done, you must first know what cipher or password will be used to hide the original meaning of a text. Then, also determine the variable used as the key.

If an encryption uses only one key, it is called a symmetric cipher. Meanwhile, if an encryption uses two corresponding keys, it is called an asymmetric cipher.

For further explanation, check the description below.

1. Symmetric cipher (symmetric cipher)

Symmetric cipher in encryption is a type that uses a single key. This type of cipher is sometimes referred to as secret key encryption or shared secret.

For this type, the sender or computer system that performs the encryption process must share the secret key with all authorized parties to decode or decrypt the message.

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the most commonly used symmetric cipher type. In fact, this cipher is also used by the US government to protect essential state secret information.

2. Asymmetric cipher (asymmetric cipher)

As previously mentioned, encryption using two corresponding keys is an asymmetric cipher. Another name for this type of encryption is public key encryption.

Typically, these keys use prime numbers because they provide more robust protection for the protected data. The type of algorithm most often used for this encryption is Rivets-Shamir-Andleman (RSA).

The Use of Encryption

Because cybersecurity is critical, encryption is undoubtedly very much needed.

So, according to the Learning Hub, there are several uses for encryption that we often encounter daily, namely:

1. Data encryption

Data encryption is a method of protecting information for databases, data warehouses, and backup servers.

For large amounts of data, such as data warehouses, security engineers and other IT professionals are needed to ensure security using encryption technology.

2. File encryption

Encryption can also be used for files. There is special software to help keep files and folders secure on your computer or in a cloud system. That way, hackers will find it difficult to access your essential data.

3. Encryption messaging

Messenger applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and others usually use this cybersecurity technology. This is because the information shared is often prone to hacking. Therefore, encryption is essential when choosing a messenger application, especially for work.

4. Endpoint encryption

Endpoint encryption protects the system from keylogger attacks or corrupted boot files that can access data without permission. This is often needed for laptops, servers, tablets, etc.

You understand, right, about encryption and how important it is for the security of your data? This technology was created for a positive purpose.

However, sometimes there are indeed difficulties or challenges that occur due to the complexity of the description, especially in certain situations.

For example, as the data decryption becomes more complex, backing up data when needed can be more difficult and time-consuming.

In fact, in some cases, the data owner cannot access it because of specific errors.

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