When you browse the web, use social media, or shop online, you probably don’t think about how your personal information is being safeguarded. However, with so many cyberattacks hitting the news on a frequent basis, this is something that should concern you. You see, hackers can gain access to your personal information if it isn’t properly encrypted and safeguarded.
Thankfully, cryptography is here to save the day. Cryptography is the science of securing communications through the use of codes and coding techniques.
The same principles that keep spies from cracking spy codes also help you stay safe from cybercriminals when browsing the web or using social media. If you want to learn more about cryptography and how it protects your sensitive information online, read on for an insider look at this exciting field of study.
What Is Cryptography?
Cryptography is the science of securing communications through the use of codes and coding techniques. The earliest known example of cryptography dates back to 1900 BC when the Egyptian King Ramses II hid a message within the folds of a Pharaoh’s robe.
Modern cryptography, however, can largely be traced back to communications during World War II. The need for secure communications arose when the Allied Forces discovered that the Axis Powers had broken their codes. The Allies developed new and stronger codes that could not be broken, and cryptography has been used ever since to secure sensitive communications.
In the modern day, cryptography is used to secure a wide range of communications like email online transactions, and messages sent via social media. When you send someone an email, shop online, or interact on social media, your communications are encrypted to keep them safe from wandering eyes.
How Does Cryptography Work?
Cryptography works by transforming your sensitive information into a code that can only be read by the intended recipient. When it’s done correctly, no one else can understand this coded message, not even someone with access to the most sophisticated computers in the world.
These sorts of codes are known as ciphers, and they come in a variety of different forms. One of the most used ciphers is the substitution cipher, in which a character or series of characters is replaced by another character or series of characters. For example, if you wanted to send a coded message to a friend, you might replace the letter “a” in your message with the letter “q.” The intended receiver would know that “q” stands for “a,” and they could decipher your message.
In order for cryptography to work, a code must be used to replace the original content. When properly implemented, only the person who holds the code can unscramble the message and understand what it says. When someone else tries to read the message, it remains completely unintelligible.
Cryptography is used for three major purposes:
- Privacy: Cryptography is used to protect the privacy of information by keeping it hidden from anyone who shouldn’t see it. This can include eavesdroppers on unsecured networks or government agencies that want to see the contents of your communications while they’re in transit.
- Integrity: Cryptography can also be used to guarantee the integrity of a message by preventing anyone from altering it while it’s in transit. If a hacker were to hijack or intercept a message meant for you, they wouldn’t be able to change it without your knowledge, thanks to cryptography.
- Authentication: Cryptography can also be used to authenticate messages and identify the sender. This can be helpful for scenarios where you need to confirm that a message came from a particular person.
Types of Encryption (aka Modern-day Cryptography)
Encryption—the process of converting information into a code that can only be read or deciphered (or read) by the receiver—is the cornerstone of modern cryptography.
There are several different types of encryption that can be used to secure the content of digital communications. Below are three of the most widespread forms of encryption in use today:
- Symmetric Encryption: This type of encryption is used in almost every type of cryptography. The two parties involved in communication both use the same key to encrypt and decrypt the information. Hence the name “symmetric.” This is the most popular form of cryptography, and it’s been used for centuries. The most common examples of symmetric encryption are the Caesar Cipher, the Vigenere Cipher, and the substitution cipher.
- Asymmetric Encryption: This type of cryptography is more recent than symmetric encryption, having been invented in the 1970s. It uses two keys with different functions: a public key and a private key. The public key encrypts information, and the private key can be used to decrypt it. This allows for authentication since the recipient of the message can confirm that it was encrypted with their public key.
- Hybrid Encryption: This is a combination of centralized and decentralized encryption. The message is first encrypted using centralized encryption, and then the resulting ciphertext is distributed to decentralized locations (such as individual computers).
How to Stay Safe With Encryption
If you want to keep yourself and your files safe from hackers and cybercriminals, you should make encryption a standard part of your daily life.
This can include using secure networks when logging into websites and social media, using a virtual private network to protect your data while it’s in transit, and making sure that you visit only legitimate websites.
There are even some great encryption and file transfer apps that you can install on your phone. This means that your communications are encrypted no matter what app you use to communicate with others.
Finally, many websites offer encryption services. This means that your communications with the website are encrypted, protecting your data from eavesdropping. Be sure to check that the website you’re visiting offers encryption. You can check a website’s security with the WOT. More Info WOT will let you know if a website uses encryption.
Cryptography in the Real World
Cryptography has tons of applications in the real world today. Two industries that rely the most on cryptography are the banking and cloud computing industries.
Banking and financial institutions use cryptography on a daily basis. When you log into your banking app or online banking account, the website retrieves your financial information using encryption. This keeps others from being able to access your account and steal your money.
Cloud computing means that your sensitive personal data is stored on computers that are located in various locations. While this makes it easier for the data to be accessed and used, it also has the potential to increase the risk of a data breach. To combat this risk, cloud computing providers use cryptography to protect your data. This ensures that, even if a hacker or cybercriminal is able to access your data, they won’t be able to access it in a readable format.
Cryptography in a Nutshell
Cryptography is one of the most important fields of study in the computer and information technology fields. It is the art and science of keeping information hidden from those who should not see it.
Cryptography is vital to the functioning of the internet, as it enables people to send sensitive information over the internet, such as credit card details, without worrying that someone else will be able to see it.
Secure cloud storage providers also love to implement cryptography and encryption, none more so than Internxt.
Cryptography is one of the ways how Internxt vigorously protects user data
Remember, cryptography is constantly (and rapidly) evolving and changing, so these concepts and methods might be outdated in the near future. With that in mind, it’s important to stay up to date with advancements in the field and learn about the latest developments in cryptography.