What is Encryption
Encryption is the conversion of data into a secret code which is called cipher text that cannot be easily understood by any unauthorized person. It is one of the most effective ways to achieve data security. A file after passing through encryption process is called an encrypted file and to read this encrypted file, the user must have access to a secret key or password that enables the user to decrypt it. (Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood). The unencrypted data is called plain text.
Simple ciphers include the rotation of letters in the alphabets; substitution of letters for numbers in a secret manner, scrambling of voice signals etc…Complex ciphers follows complex algorithms to encrypt the data using the data bits.
There are two main types of encryption:
Asymmetric encryption (also called public-key encryption)
Encryption is used for a user’s own personal information which includes tax records, credit history, medical records, and bank records or can be discussion of a company secret between different departments of an organization. Sensitive information is mostly encrypted to prevent its misuse from unwanted users and to maintain its confidentiality. Encryption or Decryption is very important in wireless communications.
The encryption can be done by the following ways:
Private Key encryption:
It is a standard form in which both (sender and receiver) share an encryption key, and the encryption key is the same which is used to decrypt the message. Many private key encryption methods use public key encryption to transmit the private key for each data transfer session.
Public Key encryption:
Public key encryption uses two keys – one key to encrypt, and the other one to decrypt. The sender asks the receiver for the encryption key, and then encrypts the message using that key, and sends the encrypted message to the receiver. Only the receiver can then decrypt the message – even the sender cannot read the encrypted message.
There are many limitations of Encryption too. These are:
Cryptanalysis –is the process of attempting to read the encrypted message without the key. It is much easier with modern computers now than it has ever been before.
Long key makes the process of encrypting and decrypting the message slower. Key length is very important to the security of the encryption method – but the safe key length changes every time CPU manufacturers bring out a new processor.
At the end, Encryption does not make the user’s data secure but it makes it difficult for the unauthorized users to have access to that data.