What is Encryption in Computer Software?

Modern computers are equipped with tools to secure data which makes it unreadable to anyone without the right key. What is encryption and how does it work? This article explains how encryption protects sensitive information from snoopers.

Data encryption is the process of changing readable information into coded text that is only be deciphered using the right password by authorized users. It is a vital component of cyber-security that provides the security of data and protects sensitive data from unauthorised users.

A common type employs mathematical models that are cryptographic to transform the original information into a jumbled set of characters (also known as ciphertext). Encryption algorithms “scramble” individual bits in a randomized fashion so that even with massive computing power, it will take a very long time to try and figure out the key to convert back to plain text.

If you use AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) which is the most commonly used encryption method, on your digital files every one of the ones and 0s in the file is scrambled 10 times in a semi-random pattern. Without the right key to understand it, the computer will have to run for a long time trying to arrange them into the proper order.

Encryption also serves to prevent information leaks and ransomware attacks. Hackers who gain access to encrypted data are unable to read the data and aren’t able to blackmail the company or the person involved, with the threat to release the stolen data to the dark web. Additionally, encryption protects backup systems from hackers since they cannot access the data in its original form.


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