Friday, 12 July 2013

FAQ Encryption

Encryption is a method or a technique used to encode a message so that it can’t be read by a normal user/person. Its an art of secret writing, It can also be defined as converting information from plain text using an algorithm or a cipher to make it unreadable, So that the converted information can only be read by the person who is having the special knowledge. The process of encoding is known as Encryption and its reverse process i.e. decoding it is known as Decryption. Encryption is very useful when it comes to protecting your confidential data from being stolen. It is helpful when data is transmitted over the network, it safe guards you data from sniffers. When data is needed to be encrypted over a network, SSL Protocol is used for encryption purpose. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.

Types of Encryptions:-

1.Symmetrical Key :-
This type of encryption is also know as Shared Key Secret. In symmetrical encryption, the key which is used in the process of encryption, that same key is also used in the process of decryption. If two parties want to exchange the encrypted data securely, both of them should have the same copy of symmetric key.

2.Asymmetrical Key : -
This type of encryption is also know as Public Key. In this type of encryption, keys are generated in pairs, public key and private key. In asymmetrical encryption key used to encipher is different from the key used to decipher. Therefore the two partners have two different keys, one is made public and other one is made private. Let’s take up an example to understand the concept in an easy way.

Suppose, John wants to send a message to Mike, he just ciphers the message with the public key and sends it to Mike. Since Mike is having the secret key, he can and decipher the message and read its content.

Why is it important?
Today, encryption is far more sophisticated, but it serves the same purpose - to pass a secret message from one place to another without anyone else being able to read it.
Encryption is extremely important for e-commerce as it allows confidential information such as your credit card details to be sent safely to the online shop you are visiting.
Web browsers are able to encrypt your purchase details using an encryption method called 'SSL' (Secure Socket Layer). You know this is switched on when a small padlock appears in the bottom right of the browser. SSL gets switched on when you visit a 'secure server' that has an address that starts with HTTPS:// (note the 'S').

How does it work?
Encryption works by scrambling the original message with a very large digital number (key). This is done using advanced mathematics. Commercial-level encryption uses 128 bit key that is very, very hard to crack. The computer receiving the message knows the digital key and so is able to work out the original message.

Why don't we use it all the time?

There are three problems:

a) It is slower than normal browsing. It takes a while for the browser to do the maths required to scramble the message and another delay on the server that has to unscramble the data.

b) Online shops have to have a digital certificate that contains part of the key. This is not free and has to be supplied by a 'certificate authority'.

c) It can be a complicated business running a secure server, so very often, ordinary online shops will hire a specialist 'Payment Gateway' such as 'WorldPay' or 'Paypal' to handle payments for them.



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