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Today’s post is an introduction to Data Encryption. Data Encryption in its most basic definition is making data difficult to access by those without the authority to view said data…sounds like spy stuff doesn’t it. In truth it’s more like math genius or programmer stuff.
Do you remember the James Bond movies?
“Q” is the character who outfit bond with all of those wonderful gadgets that come in handy during a sky diving, motorcycle riding, waterskiing, car chase scenes. Data encryption is really the work of “Q” like folks who keep data out of the wrong hands…if they are the good guys. If there are the bad guys, well these people usually try to get data and put it in the hands of those who shouldn’t have it…those weasels!!
Encryption has been in use for a very long time, even before the advent of the computer age. The use of encryption is truly as old as the art of communication. During times of war, a cipher can be employed to keep the enemy from obtaining the contents of transmissions. Often code and cipher are used, incorrectly I might add, interchangeably in this context. Code refers to signals used in transmissions to send signals. They are not disguised, and are simply meant to be understood through that signal. Whereas a cipher cannot be understood without the decryption key, and is only to be understood by those with the authority to access the data/message.
To achieve this feat you can use different techniques, programs, software, etc… In the end what you end up doing is converting the data using a cipher, which results in a ciphertext. The ciphertext locks down the data, making it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t know the cipher/data key/decryption. The “Key” is just that, the mechanism that unlocks the lock (encryption algorithm) so you can then easily recover the contents of an encrypted data. The key is itself an algorithm that undoes the work of the encryption algorithm. Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into Plain text, its original form, so it can then be accessed and understood.
That is, in a nut shell, data encryption/decryption. C’mon back again (said with a southern drawl & as one word) to learn more about encryption; how it’s done, when to use it, etc…
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