Encryption – what is it and how does it work?

Encryption – what is it and how does it work?


The need for encryption is at an all-time high with an increasing number of businesses and consumers falling victim to cyber crimes. The recent introduction of GDPR has also highlighted the growing need for businesses to use encryption (and other methods) to keep their data secure.

In its most basic form, encryption is the process of encoding data, making it unintelligible and scrambled. In lots of cases, encrypted data is also paired with an encryption key, and only those that have the key will be able to open it and turn it back into readable data.

Encryption is found in most things using an internet connection, from messaging apps and personal banking apps to websites and online payment methods.

How does encryption work?

When you send a message using an encrypted service such as Whatsapp, the service wraps the message in code, scrambling it and creating an encryption key. It can then only be unlocked by the recipient of the message.

End-to-end encryption is when only the sender and recipient are able to unlock and read the information. For example, Whatsapp messages are passed through a server between the sender and recipient but the server is not able to read the messages.

Encryption should be an essential part of every organisation’s security portfolio including on mobile devices. Apple includes in-built disk encryption in macOS and in iOS.  Most new Android devices also include encryption by default.

If you need to find out more about encryption or would like us to help to make your system more secure, please get in touch.

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