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What Does Encrypted Mean and Is My Data Secure?

You’ll have heard the term “encrypted” used a lot, but what is data encryption, and what does it do to your information?


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Almost all websites and apps advertise that they use some type of encryption. In fact, offering stronger encryption is often a reason to brag.

But what does encryption mean? And does it help keep your files secure?

What Is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of encoding data following a specific methodology or algorithm. The result of successful encryption is jumbled and distorted data that amounts to nothing.

There are two types of encryption used in modern tech: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. With symmetric encryption, the same key to encrypt the data can be used to decrypt it. This makes for quick and secure encryption.

Asymmetric encryption, on the other hand, uses two keys related mathematically. The encryption key is a public key, while the second key, used to decrypt the data must remain private.

Because data is basically useless while it’s encrypted, encryption keeps it secure even if the data was available for anyone to access. The only way to view the contents of an encrypted file is to decrypt it.

Decryption is either done using the proper key assigned to the encryption or by guessing the algorithm that was used in the encryption process and breaking it.

What Is Data Encryption Used For?

A lock on a keyboard

Due to the undeniable security and privacy benefits that encryption offers, it’s used in a lot of services and devices to ensure your security.

Encrypted Disks

Encrypted disks are electronic memory storage units that protect the files stored on them by scrambling them, ensuring they’re not accessed by unauthorized people.

Encrypted disks can be anything from encrypted internal and external hard drives and memory cards to USB sticks and even CDs and DVDs.

Encrypted Connections

Connection encryption is the act of securing data during transfer between devices and servers over the internet and similar communication paths. It ensures that your data remains secure, even if someone manages to intercept the signal.

You can find encrypted communication in everyday tools such as messaging apps, email providers, internet connection, and Bluetooth.

Encrypted Phones

By locking your phone—using a password or biometrics—you encrypt all of the data and files stored on it.

Encrypted phones are great for privacy and security. It makes sure no one can access the files on your phone without your permission.

Become an Encryption Master

To make the most of encryption, it’s important to understand how it works along with the accompanying terminology.

Because encryption is a highly important and versatile tool. It’s also growing in popularity because people are storing more and more of their important files digitally, meaning you likely use it every single day.


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