You may have come across the word encryption recently in the news. It’s becoming a bit of a hot topic in the media as more and more eyes shift to covering the ever expanding world of computer crime.
Governments are focusing on it to try and gain the ability to decrypt files when necessary, and cybercriminals are using encryption to ransom your own files. While it may not be getting the best light in the press here recently, encryption plays an important role in keeping your data safe.
Encryption is an absolute necessity for online sites, as it keeps your private data (such as login info, payment info, etc) safe from prying eyes. Without it, anyone could retrieve the information going to and coming from the website.
What is encryption?
Put simply, encryption is the process of transforming a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. When encrypting files, this typically involves providing some kind of password or phrase during set up. This password will be used from that point on to reverse the encryption so that you may modify your files. Encrypting other types of information, such as emails, will work in different ways but provide the same effect.
Is encryption widely used?
Yes, encryption is gaining traction rapidly in services all over the internet. The most common usage would be on websites. If you go to a website and notice the ‘http://’ part of the URL contains an “S”, so that it becomes ‘https://’, then that signals that any traffic sent between you and that website to be encrypted, and is generally safe from any prying eyes. A lot of offices will use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, for anyone working remotely, to allow them to access internal resources. Doing this also creates an encrypted tunnel for any data between you and the office network, just like HTTPS does between you and websites.
Is it truly secure?
This answer depends on which type of encryption we’re referring to. Generally, the most common types of encryption are AES and TLS. AES is used to encrypt files on your computer, while TLS is used on places like websites with HTTPS, email, etc. So far, AES and the most recent version of TLS, TLS 1.2, have proven unbreakable by brute force.
As long as you’re using up to date encryption standards, implementing these processes in workplaces, and even personal devices can greatly increase the safety of your data, as they can prevent people from reading data in transit from the internet, and anything on your hard drives.
If you have any questions about how to implement encryption in to your workplace, feel free to contact SandStorm IT at 901-475-0275. We can help you set up a range of technologies that implement encryption, from VPNs to individual PC encryption.