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Ganesh
Technology , Education
Asked a question last year

What's encryption and why do we use it ?

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Ganesh
Technology , Education

The word encryptionncryption means a conceal process where one can make illegible information without prior knowledge or any kind of securities. It's mainly applied in electronic devices, messages and in some documents. Encryption is encoded with cipher text i.e, converted digital data , it doesn't allow any unauthorised reader to read it or even try to unlock any bit information. In simple words it allows only certain parties to read it even though if anyone accessed to read. Encryption algorithm is a need to convert a plain text into a cipher text. In a meantime the use of encryption/decryption has become highly old part of communication

 

Types of cipher

 

SIMPLE CIPHER     : This includes replacement of letters for number , clambered voice signals etc

 

COMPLEX CIPHER : This includes computer algorithms which is trained to code in digital signals. The more complex the algorithm the more it becomes tougher to unlock it / becomes highly securable

 

TYPES OF ENCRYPTION

 

SYMMETRIC KEY ENCRYPTION

 

                                  As the name suggests , the encryption and decryption have same keys . Eg : If two of them having same keys then there will be great and secured connection. Here each device will have a secure code , that code should be encrypted before it's send to the destination , because there is a chance of hacking will the process of transferring the data. Once the data is transferred the data must be decoded , because only when it's in readable form one can read without any queries

 

PUBLIC KEY ENCRYPTION

 

                                Almost same as symmetric key encryption but the difference is the key is published to anyone who wanted to encrypt the message , decryption also done in same way. Symmetric key encryption has an disadvantage that only two users can be accessed at a time. If a third person attempt to communicate there will be loss of security so there comes public key encryption also called as assymetric key encryption. Since the key is public. It makes pair based on prime numbers such as 2,3,5,7,11,13 etc , this makes the system extremely secure . Pretty Good Privacy is the best and popular public key program. The middleman between source and destination computer is digital certificate , where it trust both the computers with the help of the fact then provides the secure outcome

 

Why do we use it ?

 

The important purpose of encryption is to provide protection of digital data which is transferred , either stored or anything. The encryption can be protected by the following elements

 

                     1) Authentication

                     2) Non repudiation

                     3) Integrity

 

For long-term encryption is widely used for government and military purposes but now with the help of internet it's used everywhere commonly. Day to day online frauds are increasing . Many of us need a safe and secure encryption. Secure sockets layer (SSL), transport layer security ( TLS) are the encryptions where the websites believe. Other places we need a secure information is credit card information, social security numbers , private correspondence, personal details, sensitive company information , bank account information.

 

All the computer encryption become phenomenon only in 1990s , human beings have been using rudimentary encryption since ancient times

 

     * In 600 B.C Spartan used scytale to send secret messages during battles

     

     * In 60 B.C Julius Caesar invented substitution cipher that shifted characters by three places

     

     * In 1917 An American Edward hebren invented electro mechanical machine in which key was embedded in a rotating disc. It encoded a substitution table that changed every type and characters

     

     * In 1945 Claude E. Shannon published an article called mathematical theory of cryptography. This was the starting of modern cryptography

 

     * In the early 1970s IBM company formed a crypto group that designed block site to protect customers data

 

     * In 1976 Whitfield Diffie , Martin Hellman developed a easy method to secure messages over insecure channels with the advent of internet technology called public key cryptography which is now used across the world

 

     

How encryption works in WhatsApp ?

 

When one chat online with their friends , relatives or any person normally anyone can intercept and read messages especially hackers but now the messages are encrypted by default . when one send messages to a friend in the updated version of WhatsApp message . Only the sender and receiver can read the messages which is due to WhatsApp new encrypted feature. Outsiders like hackers, government , spy or anyone cannot read the message . This is called end to end encryption which works on single protocol.

 

Every phone has two unique keys that encrypt and decrypt messages. These are called public and private keys. Public key is shared with other people and it's used as a part of encryption protocol, private key is only on the device and it's never shared. When two people want to securely chat they use a combination of public and private keys to create a temporary shared key. Two person sends a message which simultaneously causes an exchange of public key. Both of them uses other persons public key combined with their own private key to create temporary shared key. They then use shared key to encrypt messages to each other and their public keys are used to confirm that those shared keys are authentic. The shared keys are being erased and regenerated constantly which ensure both of the conversation cannot be decrypted in future. An eavesdropper could see that both of them exchanged messages but because that eavesdropper doesn't have their shared key these messages cannot be decrypted.

 

Some people believe that tech and telecom companies should provide what's called backdoor access to these encrypted messages. There are two types of backdoor. The first type is the list of private keys that allow the company to access the encrypted messages. So they could deliver these messages to an agency such as FBI. There are two problems with this method. One, if this list is hacked or compromised every person's private key is up for . Two, if the system is abused the user would have no idea that someone is accessing their data.

The second type of backdoor is for tech companies to deliberately build a weakness or flaw into the encryption formula that allow law enforcement to access the messages on a case  by case basis. The problem with this method is hackers might eventually find a way to exploit those weaknesses. At the core of this whole debate the very thorny issue of personal privacy verses national security. It's one that society tech companies and the government are still trying to decrypt