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What is Encryption?

Encryption is the method of changing plaintext that humans can read into human-unreadable scrambled letters, numbers, and symbols. Encrypting and decrypting data is called cryptography.

Think of plaintext as an open window. Anyone can look in and see what is in the room. Encrypting the text is like closing the blinds. Only someone with access to the cord can open the blinds.

Opening the blinds is decrypting the data.

Why is Encryption Important?

Encryption protects information so only people who should have access to it can do so. It is used both for data stored on computers and storage devices and for sending data across networks. The networks can be an internal company network, a home network, or the internet.

How Does Encryption Work?

Encryption uses an algorithm called a cipher to convert plaintext into scrambled characters known as ciphertext. This complex algorithm generates a key that only an authorized person can use to decrypt the data.

There are several different algorithms available to perform encyrption. We'll save that explanation for a deeper dive.

As you explore encryption more, you will hear the phrases private keys and public keys. They both lock and unlock data but in different ways. To keep this simple, a key in this illustration can be either public or private.

Keep Learning

What is End-to-End Encryption?
What is Data at Rest?

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