Encryption. What Is It?

Last updated: September 17, 2016

Encryption. What Is It?Lots of people use encryption being unsuspicious of that. A satellite TV service, https:// websites, .zip files with a password, such OS as Android Marshmallow or Nougat use full disc encryption, all these are examples of encryption we use every day.

Let’s clear up the question. So, encryption is transformation of a plain data into unreadable one by means of different mechanisms. Any encryption is based on key and those people who have the ‘key’ can unlock and read the data.

Maybe you will be surprised but the first prototype of today’s encryption was used by Julius Caesar to send notes to Cicero. But this kind of encryption wasn’t reliable, it was based on alphabet and had only 26 variants, so it was pretty easy to find the right key to the encrypted data and there were some combinations, for example frequently used letters, that gave an addition possibility to unlock the content of such message.

The encryption of the digital age is much more complicated than it used to be before. In today’s encryption we use computers to create the keys. There are several important reasons for that fact:

  • First of all, computers are faster than any other mechanism in operating;
  • Secondly, computers can be programmed to perform the most complex and various variant of encryption;
  • Thirdly, computers deal with numbers but not only with letters.

The encryption performance has changed a lot with the change into binary system. This resulted in so-called ‘cryptographic algorithms’.

If speaking about digital encryption at large, there can be segmented two main ways of encryption:

  • Stream cipher — the data is passed through the encryption patterns by bite. The weakness of such ciphering is that some combinations are possible to guess, that means that some adversaries can estimate the number combination and bring to life their sinister intentions.
  • Block cipher — the ciphering process is based on dividing the data into more blocks, like 64-bits, and after that each separate pert is processed. After that each block is divided into two parts. One of those parts remains untouched the other one is encrypted through usage of round function. The

function means taking the unchanged part and the key and the result of the round function then added to the encrypted part with the help of XOR. This DES has sixteen rounds functioning on 64-bit blocks. The problem is that by 90s of the 20th century the 64-bit encryption has become unreliable.

In such a way, new encryption standards have been created. 3DES is based on new key size 168-bits.

At the beginning of 2001the US NIST proposed an Advanced Encryption Standard. As well as DES it uses bit blocks and rounds but the order of the bits in any round is changed and then combined with the help of XOR. The standard uses 128, 192, 256 bit keys.

So, encryption is used everywhere today, because digital world circles us. We use up-to-date devices to connect to the Internet, probably the most suitable area for encryption operating. Moreover, many people have decided to provide their personal data with additional security and subscribed to VPN services. VPN services are the network that directly depends on encryption. The stronger encryption is used by the service, the more protective way of networking is guaranteed to one’s confidential information.