What is encryption and why is it important?

Encryption

When you use your laptop, tablet, or smart phone you are not just surfing the internet. You may use these devices to access your bank account information or make a purchase that involves you entering your name, address, and credit card information.

 

For these reasons, encryption today is important. Encryption protects all your personal information, including passwords to sites you frequently visit too. In addition to what you can do to protect passwords, such as not staying logged in and using different passwords for each account, encryption adds protection.

 

Data encryption translates data into another form or code, so that only those with access to a secret key or passcode can read the data. When data is encrypted, it is referred to as “ciphertext”. When it is unencrypted, it is referred to as “plaintext”.

 

The main purpose of encrypting data is to protect digital data as it is stored on computer systems and transmitted through other computer networks and the internet. Modern algorithms play a critical role in today’s security of IT systems and communications.

 

On a larger scale, secure web servers are used. This is where a digital certificate comes in to play. A digital certificate is a piece of code or large number that says that the web server is trusted by a certificate authority, the “middle man” trusted by both computers. It provides the public keys of each computer to the other.

 

A secure sockets layer, or SSL, is very common today. It is part of an overall security protocol. You can tell when you are using a secure protocol when you notice the “http” in the address bar is replaced with “https” and when there is a small padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window. This is one way you will know that your information will be transmitted securely.

 

Most iPads and iPhones today are set up with encryption by default. Android phones and tablets still require you to set up encryption manually. On your laptops, for both operating systems, you can also make sure your files are encrypted. This protects your files in case your laptop is stolen. As you can see, with our virtual world today, we are constantly putting our personal information out there. Encryption is so important as technology keeps evolving to make our lives more convenient.

 

The Tech Zen is an IT Company serving south east Florida and operating out of West Palm Beach. We have certified technicians and provide IT solutions for both Residential and Business clients. The articles we share are items of interest and related to some questions we have answered in the past. If you have a question or would like to schedule an appointment please contact us at 888-333-9757.

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