Data encryption: types of solutions and algorithms

Can data encryption fail?

Of course it can fail, in fact it is not a 100% secure method. To know what happens when data encryption fails, it is necessary to go into details of how the process works:

The vast majority of data encryption methods are based on the use of keys, which are long strings of numbers that allow the algorithm to do its work. Usually the keys come in pairs, one for the sender of the encrypted information and one for the receiver (both keys are needed for the algorithm to work correctly).

Hackers can guess keys

Despite not having the keys, hackers can easily decrypt data and steal it. This requires a process called «brute force attack«.

These hackers make use of a powerful computer to guess all the numbers or letters of the key. Clearly, the longer the key the more complicated it will be to use «brute force«, but on the contrary, if the key is small, at least 4 digits, it would be easier to find.

Curious fact

Today’s keys are strong and extensive and an example of this is a 128-bit key (standard in the encryption world), which has more than 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations.

Basic types of encryption solutions

1.Encryption of immobile data: refers to your saved files.

2.Encryption of data in transit: it has to do with communications, i.e., e-mails, internal messages, among others.

Who needs data encryption? Almost everyone, in fact, we are sure you will want to keep your data confidential and secure.

Data encryption algorithms

1.Public key or asymmetric encryption: in this case, the sender uses a known public key to encrypt the data. The receiver has a private key that forms the other half of the public/private pair (using the private key in combination with the public key, the receiver can decrypt the data).

2.Private key or symmetric encryption: Both the sender and the receiver have the same private key and there is a lot of organization involved in storing and transmitting secret keys.

According to the article «Data Encryption: A Guide For Good Security Practices,» these are some current encryption algorithms:

1.Triple DES (3DES): A modernization of the older but highly influential Digital Encryption Standard, or DES. 3DES takes the 56-bit key of DES and increases it to 168 bits, making it difficult to crack but far more computationally intensive.

2.Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): A symmetric cipher based on the Rijndael block cipher algorithm. It is used by the U.S. federal government, as well as in consumer products, such as Apple computers.

3.Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC): A very powerful but not yet well understood form of encryption. It is faster than other algorithms, which is why it has gained the preference of government agencies such as the NSA.

In short

Data encryption is a very important and necessary element for cybersecurity. For any organization, data encryption must be one of the most important measures due to the constant digital transformation, as it means a great avalanche of sensitive information of various kinds that must be protected.

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