The Basics of Encryption

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Mar 13th, 2015


There is no denying the fact that encryption is one of the most important and technical subject of study. Encryption of data that is to be transmitted to others over internet is always subjected to some encryption technique. The email services like, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail all have some sort of encryption method to apply over each and every email. Encryption is one of the most important topics of Cryptography.

History: Encryption is not new to this world. It is thousands years old. Researchers have found the evidences of presence of encryption in prehistoric period too. Written history suggests that Julius Cesar, a famous Roman emperor was used to send encrypted messages. A lot of other famous rules have also used it to make their messages secure. But today, it is necessary for all organization to use encryption to make their data secure.

Terminology: There are certain important terminologies associated with the science of encryption. Following are some of the important terminologies related to encryption,

  • Plaintext: It is a normal human message that is to be sent to someone who is somewhere else. For example, if Bob want to send a message to Alice, so this message would be called as plain text in encryption terminology. The message could be, “I want to meet you.”
  • Encryption Standard: Encryption standard is a technique that is applied to a plaintext message to make is ineligible for others except the intended sender. We will discuss about it in the next part “Kinds”.
  • Cipher Text: when we apply an encryption technique to a plaintext, we get a cipher text in result. For example, if Bob want to meet Alice but want to keep his meeting with Alice secret because he doubt someone may read his message during the process of communication. So after applying an encryption technique he would get a cipher text.
  • Key: As its name suggests, key is a code that is required to decipher a cipher text. The person who encrypts a message sets a key that is needed to decipher that text. This key is also shared with the receiver of the message through some other way.

Kinds: There are many kinds of encryption techniques that are employed by different organizations to make sure their data is free from any theft. Following are some important types of encryption,

  • Symmetric Key Cryptography: It is the type of Cryptography in which sender and receiver share the same key. Sometimes the key of sender and receiver are different. Data Encryption Standard (DES) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) are two important encryption standards.
  • Public Key Cryptography: In this kind of Cryptography, only one key is used to encrypt and decrypt a message.

Uses: Encryption is used to make data secure and free from theft. All organizations whose data is sensitive use encryption to secure their information from theft.

  • Message Verification: Encryption is used to secure the information from theft. In addition to cryptography, there are other techniques that are needed to make information even more secure and protect the integrity of the information. So to do this, the verification of Message Authentication Code (MAC) and Digital Signature of message must be checked.

At the end we can conclude that encryption is a very important component of all communication over internet and other places. The risk of theft makes encryption necessary for all organizations, especially the organizations that are transmitting secret information over a public network, like internet. Encryption is not new to this world. It is thousands years old. Researchers have found the evidences of presence of encryption in prehistoric period too. Written history suggests that Julius Cesar, a famous Roman emperor was used to send encrypted messages.

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