Encrypting messages and breaking codes are activities that we associate mainly with detective stories full of action. We don’t realize how many aspects of our internet activity are encrypted. Not only the military or the government uses data encryption, but also companies from the e-commerce and finance industries. Our data is also encrypted daily in mobile devices and ATMs. Much of the encryption relies on the secure transfer of data and information over the internet. What is data encryption, and why is it such an important element of cybersecurity?


What is data encryption?

Data encryption is the process of encoding a message into an alternate version called a ciphertext. It is created by an algorithm and is impossible to read without a key. Cracking the code is not a simple task, as the sequence is usually created randomly by an algorithm. We can distinguish many types of codes that are constantly being improved due to the risk of deciphering them. Some algorithms allow you to change the encryption every few hours or with each new information sent. This makes them more difficult for hackers to break. The encryption protects sensitive data and systems, and the algorithms are constantly improved to guarantee an appropriate level of security.


Encryption sounds like a serious and complicated process. Indeed, in many ways, it is, but by learning more about it, we can understand how important it is. If you want to expand your encryption knowledge or learn more, you can do it here.


History of ciphers

The first ciphers were created in ancient Egypt. They were based on simple symbols replacing letters, and it was possible to read messages with the key. Later, message encoding became the basis of information transmission in ancient Rome and Greece. The most popular code, the Caesar Cipher, was used to classify important military information. The development of encryption meant that the codes created were based on several alphabets or using various works of culture (like texts of songs or literary works). How did modern scientists find a way to learn the keys to these codes? There are several options for cracking the codes. One of them is frequency analysis, which checks the frequency of the letters in the message. With time, it ceased to be effective, and finally, it made a great comeback thanks to the development of computers. By teaching the algorithms of this method, it was possible to decode complex combinations in minutes. It has become important to develop as many encryption methods as possible to make them difficult for humans and machines to guess.


Encryption methods

There are two main ways to encrypt your data. The first is done with symmetric keys and the second with asymmetric keys. The first method is mainly used in closed systems and by individual users. The recipient needs the key provided by the sender to read the message. Despite the certain risk, data encryption with this method is recommended and can reduce the risk of attacks. The second method is more complicated and relies on private and public keys. These keys differ but are paired with each other. The private key belongs to the owner, and the public key is available to authorized users or shared with a larger group of people. Both encryption methods can be combined for greater security, and compliance with regulations allows you to obtain certificates confirming a high level of security. Examples include SSL or TLS certificates, which are standard protocols for data encryption on the Internet.


Why is the domain address as important as checking the encryption on the website?

When mentioning data encryption, the most important issue – website encryption – cannot be ignored. Currently, almost 96% of the network is encrypted. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can adapt to security standards and use encryption on their own fake sites. When inattentive users enter such a page, they are looking for a padlock – to certify an encrypted and secure connection – but do not pay attention to the domain address. Hackers use optical illusion to trick our brains into proving that we are on the right and safe site (changing letters i and l or other micro differences). That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the domain first and then to the encryption on the page. You can check the safety of a domain here. Even though website encryption is one of the foundations of cybersecurity, we cannot lose our caution in the network. Cybercriminals’ attacks are often frauds of opportunity, and the people behind them are hard to get rid of. All kinds of security make it easier for us to navigate the Internet, and our attention and caution can help us avoid complications and problems.


How do hackers try to crack the encryption?

There are several ways hackers can crack the encryption and gain access to sensitive data. They can take advantage of the least subtle way – a brute-force attack. It involves trying every possible combination to be able to find the key to decrypt the message. Modern systems are virtually immune to such attacks, but you have to be careful about them in closed systems. The attacker can use ‘cipher-only’ methods, in which they know a certain part of the encrypted message and try to break the key. ‘Known-plaintext’ attacks are very popular and effective against simple ciphers. The attacker knows part of the text and part of the code and tries reverse engineering to guess how the algorithm works. In addition, hackers use the methods of linear cryptanalysis (the probability of finding the key by sending a large number of messages), attacks through side channels (apart from mathematical analysis, observing energy consumption or data processing time), or replay attacks (intercepting information and sending it back to the recipient in order to obtain unauthorized access).


Why is data encryption important to our online security?

With such a wide range of hacking and key stealing opportunities, many questions arise about the effectiveness and importance of data encryption. Why is data encryption so important? Above all, data integrity is preserved. Hackers not only steal data, but they can also modify it to commit a crime. Thanks to encryption, such changes can be detected. Encryption helps many companies comply with various regulations regarding the use and storage of user data. Encryption helps to protect data that is transferred from device to device as well as data that does not migrate. Security is particularly important for such data, as it is most vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals due to its high value. 


Data encryption in identity verification

Data encryption is one of the basic cybersecurity requirements. Poor encryption or failure to implement it may result in cyberattacks by identity thieves. In Fully-Verified, verifications are based on encryption, which guarantees total security of user data. The procedure meets all safety standards and the requirements of the strictest regulations. Identity verification is an additional factor that helps increase the security of companies and their customers.


Encryption is part of a larger cybersecurity system and a very important element of it. Without encryption, we could compare the internet to a place without rules and with the dangers lurking at every step. If you are concerned about the safety of your company, do not be afraid to ask for help and trust professionals on this matter. At Fully – Verified, we will help you solve your problems related to the implementation of the KYC policy and identity verification.

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Fully-Verified was created as answer to its founders collectively losing over $150 000 to various types of fraud in their eCommerce businesses.