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What Is Encryption, And Why Should You Use It?

What is Encryption?

Encryption is a set of techniques designed to protect information so that only the sender and receiver can understand it. The encryption protocol can be more or less elaborate; techniques like these have been around since antiquity, with the first known encryption system emerging in Egypt around 1,900 BC.

Encryption has a unique appeal for matters related to war. Still, merchants and rulers can also see encryption as a way to prevent unauthorized people from discovering information about their strategies, for example. The basic idea is that this system of techniques encrypts the info that authorized people will only decipher without undue access on the way.

And understanding how encryption works are simple: the sender of the message uses some protocol that will protect it, then it is transmitted to the recipient, who has a key capable of “solving” the encryption problem and accessing its content.

Techniques may vary. One of the best-known encryption systems was the so-called “Caesar Cipher,” used by the Roman Empire to deceive its enemies. It consisted of writing sentences with the standard alphabet but always using three letters. It lasted for some time but lost its usefulness after being “broken.”

With the emergence of digital media such as radio, telephone, and later the internet, encryption methods needed to become more advanced to be more effective. The foundation of modern cryptography keys will use to encrypt and decrypt the content.

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Keys And Protocols

Keys can be symmetrical (when the same private key is used at both ends of the transmission — sending and receiving) or asymmetric (when the encryption and decryption keys are different, one is public and the other private). They will generate algorithms that create a specific string for each process. In addition, keys can be of different sizes; the larger they are, the more secure they become.

There are numerous protection protocols uses today. They serve us all the time, such as when you enter a username and password to access a web service, visit the bank’s website, or make an internet purchase. Protocols such as 3DES, RC AES, TLS, and SSL are some of the most common today.

Why Should I Use Encryption?

You already understand what encryption is and what its purpose is, but maybe you still can’t think of a reason to use this type of protection; after all, you are neither a ruler nor a military man, and you don’t have financial operations or deal with any sensitive information in considerable measure. Scale. Check out some encryption utilities:

Protect Data Stored In The Clouds

Nowadays, it is widespread to store files on web storage services. Names like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and iCloud are prevalent in many people’s lives. At various times, platforms like these are more practical for storing and transporting files than a flash drive.

However, the issue of security is also latent here. It is not uncommon to find cases of files that will leake from cloud storage services — such as the recent leak of intimate photos of actor Stênio Garcia or the large leak of private pictures of celebrities in 2014.

In short, protecting sensitive files stored in this type of place also becomes a vital issue to avoid further problems. Or you can turn to services that encrypt data, like SpiderOak, TeamDrive, Tresorit, and Mega.

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Protect Files From Unauthorized Access

When your computer or smartphone is lost/stolen, you probably start to worry that some stranger will have access to all your files. Of course, you can still remotely erase all this data on a portable gadget with Android, iOS, or Windows Phone, but this is not always possible on a computer.

In this case, it will restrict the damage of losing your computer to the piece and content left; at least, no one will have access to your data. Furthermore, protecting sensitive data in this way prevents unauthorized people (hackers or otherwise) from accessing the content stored on your PC, regardless of loss or theft.

Protect Browsing Data

Your browsing may monitor when you access a public internet network (such as a mall or library Wi-Fi, for example). It can happen if your browser uses a security protocol (HTTPS). The best way out in these cases is to resort to encrypted browsing.

Is Encryption A Guarantee Of Security?

Not always. Of course, different levels of encryption provide security, but remember, keys can break. So choosing to protect your data this way may not protect you from the snooping of hackers or some government, for example. Still, it is an effective way to prevent unauthorized people from accessing this information.

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