Understanding Data Encryption and Its Importance in Cybersecurity

In these modern times, where technology is endlessly innovating, data protection is given with high importance more than ever. There are various stories and widespread news of data breach, hacking, phishing, and other forms of a cybersecurity attack, causing a tremendous amount of money loss. Not only that, but personal data breaches are also prevalent, which alarms the public of possible identity theft.

 

All of these are just one of the few downsides of having and engaging with technology. But it doesn’t mean that technology is all bad for every person or business. Just like with money, money is never the root cause of evil; it’s human greed. And it goes the same in using technology. Technology, when misused, can be harmful. However, it has many benefits when used for good.

 

And one of its benefits is data protection imposed by using data encryption. You may have already heard this term as this is prominent in the internet search, but how well do you know data encryption? What does it have to do with cybersecurity?

What Is Data Encryption?

According to Kaspersky, a popular multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, data encryption is converting data from its readable format into an encoded format (popularly called ciphertext). This encoded format can only be read through decrypting it, which is an opposite process of encryption.

 

In the computing world, encryption is the basic or fundamental building block of cybersecurity. It’s the simplest yet one of the most crucial factors in data protection. Data encryption ensures that there’s no easy way to extract, store, and use sensitive information for nefarious reasons.

 

Data encryption is highly utilized by small to large corporations that even in creating data software and applications, data encryption is present. Providing secured data software is a top-notched service by many companies that develop software and applications, such as Slingshot. To these companies, developing software is not all about the features and promotes that personal data and information should be protected.

Different Data Encryption Method

There are two types of data encryption methods: Symmetric (Primary Key Encryption) and Asymmetric (Public Key Encryption). The third one that’s getting traction is Blockchain cryptography, but it wasn’t used as widely as the two first mentioned.

Symmetric (Primary Key Encryption)

It’s simple to understand symmetric data encryption as the method is simple as well. Data encryption is processed by using one private key. This private key is used to cipher and decipher the exchanged information. This might be the oldest encryption method out there, yet many applications and data software still use it.

 

A perfect example of this is payment applications. Symmetric encryption is used to protect data gathering, and theft from fraudulent transactions made online. Another example is BitLocker, a data encryption software. BitLocker uses an AES is a symmetric-key algorithm, as its primary data protection feature.

Asymmetric (Public Key Encryption)

Unlike symmetric data encryption, asymmetric encryption uses two different keys to cipher and decipher data or information- a secret key and a public key. The secret key is used to decipher the encrypted message, while the public key is used to encrypt the message. Asymmetric encryption is often used in daily communication channels, internet chats, emails, and various services on the internet.

 

The best example where Asymmetric encryption is used for emails, such as Gmail. Gmail uses a TLS (Transport Layer Security), which utilizes asymmetric encryption. Furthermore, SSL certificates on the internet also use asymmetric encryption.

Why Is It Important?

If you’re still questioning the importance of data encryption in the computing world, you might have missed something essential when it comes to considering privacy. But let’s dive deeper into that subject and understand why data encryption is essential.

 

Data Protection

Security threats are widespread, and it’s not surprising that huge companies and corporations invest in technology that can highly protect their data. Many can be a victim of hacking, even the most secured facilities in the world.

 

For example, various hacking attacks alarmed the Pentagon. The symbol of U.S. military defense faced many data breaches through DDOS attacks, malware injection, phishing campaigns, database invasions, and other unauthorized access.

 

If the Pentagon has simultaneously attacked hackers, what makes you think that your data is safe if you won’t establish a protection system to avoid such a case? Think of it this way, there are various ways to access your sensitive data (if the hackers are persistent), but taking simple methods, like data encryption, helps make their job a little complicated and could save your business.

 

Ensure Compliance

Legal compliance is also essential, so the FIPS, FISMA, HIPAA, PCI/DSS, or Gramm-Leach Bliley are on their toes in looking out for who’s not complying with the law. Many IT departments and developer companies are incredibly aware of following the regulations and the security compliance imposed by these regulating bodies.

 

But it’s not all about compliance. These regulating bodies are present to ensure that all developed software is made to be essential for every business, including making sure that data is safe both in handling and transferring. Encryption provides such a security feature, and every business should be concerned and fully comply with the restrictions and the guidelines provided.

 

Secured Network

Encryption, like SSL (Secure Socket Layer), works primarily as a security certification for websites. The SSL ensures that the site is safe and secure, especially when it requires you to input sensitive information such as personal data, credit card information, and other pertinent details. Most genuine websites are SSL certified, and it can be proven with a green-padded lock icon beside the URL.

 

If SSL certification is present, it means you can safely browse the website without the fear of having your data accessed by hackers. Also, always make sure to use URLs starting with “HTTPS,” not “HTTP” as the S stands for secure.

 

Takeaway

Cyberattacks and cybersecurity always go hand in hand. Stringent cybersecurity measures are in place due to extreme cyberattacks. No wonder why technology is rapidly increasing and innovating all because of these two.

 

One side is attacking while the other side is defending, and this is very true in the world of computing. This is why it’s imperative to emphasize that it poses serious damages when technology is used to hurt others. But it’s also technology that can prevent it from happening. Once again, it all boils down to how a person uses it to their advantage. Will you attack, or will you defend?

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