Home Crypto for Advanced What is meant by encryption and decryption?

What is meant by encryption and decryption?

Encryption is a term that refers to technical methods that secure data and systems, making it harder for hackers to obtain illegal access to information or interfere with networks and transactions. In modern cryptography, encryption requires using an encryption algorithm or cipher to convert readable plaintext into ciphertext (encrypted data that is unreadable). The ciphertext can only be decoded back into plaintext by those who have been granted access to the data.

Plaintext refers to any information that humans or machines can readily read or decode, such as text on websites, programs, or audio files. Account passwords, for example, which may be accessible — and ripe for theft — in plaintext if processed via the internet, require an extra layer of security to remain private. This is when cryptography comes into play. Using an encryption method or cipher, encryption converts plaintext into ciphertext, or unreadable encrypted data. Only authorized individuals have access to the information and can decode the ciphertext into plaintext.

Encryption methods and keys are typically used in this process of converting plaintext to ciphertext and back to plaintext. Encryption algorithms are mathematical formulas that convert plaintext (the input) to cipher text (the output). The key, which is generated by the algorithm, serves to restore the original readable form of the ciphertext (and vice versa). Any system's security is dependent on a powerful encryption technique that is difficult to crack, as well as keeping the key concealed from possible intruders. A key is a sequence of data or bits – or, to put it another way, a series of numbers or letters – that is entered into the encryption method. Keys are in general randomly generated, and are different from passwords for example, because they are not intended to be memorized by a user.

Asymmetric and symmetric encryption are commonly used in modern cryptographic systems (also known as public-key cryptography). The same key is used to encrypt and decode data in symmetric key systems. The encryption key is publicly available in asymmetric or public key systems, but only the authorized holder of the private decryption key has access to the decoded plaintext. Cryptocurrencies are safe because they use current asymmetric encryption technologies and the secure nature of blockchain transactions. Private keys are used by cryptocurrency owners to prove that they are the rightful owners of their coin. Hashing and blockchain encryption techniques are used to safeguard transactions.

Encryption and decryption are nowadays the most used in:

-        Cryptocurrency

-        Wireless security

-        Mobile apps encryptions (WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.)

-        Majority of VPNs (Virtual Private Network)

-        SSL/TLS protocol (website security)

-        File encryption

Check out other levels