What is data encryption?

What is data encryption?

November 23, 2021

Data encryption is there to protect sensitive and private data. Data encryption improves the security between apps and servers. Unauthorized people will not be able to read your data when you use encryption technology. Data is vulnerable because of the way it's stored and transmitted, so protecting digital confidentiality is very important.

What is data encryption? A definition

Data encryption technology is one of the most common technologies in cybersecurity. It is the most effective cybersecurity technology at the moment. It protects sensitive information from unauthorized people, together with effective key management.

data encryption

Only people with access to the private key (also called a decryption key) can decrypt and read encoded data. Encrypted data or ciphertext is unreadable to people without access to the private key. Unencrypted data is called plaintext and encrypted data is called ciphertext. This also protects your sensitive data from theft, modification, or disclosure. Encrypting or encoding is a technique that converts data from one form to another using a key. The best example of encoding is the process of squashing graphics into bytes.

Functions of data encryption

Data is passed through a cipher to encrypt it. This cipher is an algorithm that encodes your data according to a key. Only people with access to the key can decrypt your encrypted data.

private key

The cipher is the engine of the encryption and the key is what shows the cipher how to encode your data. When hackers can’t find your key, your data is impenetrable in every possible scenario.There are three different sizes of keys; 128, 192, and 256-bit keys. The longest key is the hardest to crack. Even when you use the smallest key and the best computer, it would still take 25 years to brute force that key.

An example

Encryption is a very broad term, it works differently depending on what you’re encrypting. An example of data encryption technology is encrypted online connections. When you check out clothing from a retailer, your browser uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) to encrypt your online connection. When you checkout, your computer sends a packet of data to the server it wants to connect with.Your computer is asking the server to verify its identity with this packet of data. Next, the server sends back a digital certificate. This certificate is a piece of code that contains a public key and an encrypted signature. Now that the computer has the public key, you can send encrypted messages to the server. You can’t decrypt these messages with the public key, to decrypt them you need the private key. Only the server has the private key. What we described now, is an example of asymmetric encryption.

Symmetric encryption vs Asymmetric encryption

There are 2 different kinds of data encryption: symmetric encryption vs asymmetric encryption.

Symmetric encryption

Symmetric encryption uses symmetric key algorithms. This means that the same private key encrypts and decrypts all the data. Symmetric encryption is efficient, fast, and easy for large amounts of data because it only needs one key. But it’s harder to keep the private key a secret with symmetric encryption. The sender of the data has to exchange the encryption key with the recipient before he can decrypt it. Because companies need to distribute and manage huge quantities of keys, this process can go wrong very easily. That’s why a lot of companies have adapted to asymmetric encryption.

Asymmetric encryption

Asymmetric encryption uses asymmetric key algorithms to encrypt data. Asymmetric encryption uses two linked keys, a public key and a private key. With the public key, you can encrypt the data and with the private key, you can decrypt the data. Asymmetric encryption is the most secure version of encryption. Only those with a private key can decrypt the encoded data. Users never need to reveal their private keys, so it's harder for cybercriminals to discover a user’s key during transmission.

E-mail encryption

Employees are a risk for companies. They want to protect their data and prevent data loss. But employees use web applications, removable media, and external devices on a daily basis. This is a risk for the sensitive data of the company.A critical component of data loss prevention is e-mail control and encryption. Good data loss prevention software allows your employees to continue working, while sensitive data in e-mails are encrypted.Data encryption may seem complicated. But with a good data loss prevention solution, you can rest assured that your data is safe.

Cryptographic attacks

Data encryption technology protects your sensitive data against a lot of cryptographic attacks.

Brute-force attack

brute force attack

A hacker could use a brute-force attack. This is an attack where hackers can decrypt data if they are given the required time to do so. They try to guess passwords by making a bunch of combinations as fast as possible. This can take a very long time. A brute-force attack is the only attack that can be used against data encryption. But because this attack takes a very long time, it’s practically useless.

Cryptographic attack

Another possibility is a cryptographic attack. This is a method that circumvents the security of a cryptographic system by finding a weakness. This can be a weakness in the code, the cipher or the key management scheme, or the cryptographic protocol. It's also called “cryptoanalysis”.

Man-in-the-Middle attack

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack is another type of attack. During this attack, a hacker inserts themselves in between a communication channel between two people. The hacker tries to intercept the messages the people send to each other and tries to decrypt them.

Replay attack

We also have the replay attack. During this attack, the hacker copies an earlier interaction. For example, someone buying a bike. By replaying the same actions as the buyer, the hacker can cause some serious damage concerning the person’s bank account.

Side-channel attack

The Side-channel attack is another sort of cryptographic attack. This is an attack that uses the side effects of cryptographic operations to get information in order to get to the data. This attack uses the time it takes to perform these operations to determine the secret key and the electrical power of a computer while performing encryption or decryption.

Power analysis attack

Power analysis attacks use the amount of power used and how long the power of a computer is used. This reveals information about the data that is processed by the cryptographic algorithm on your computer.

Timing attack

Timing attacks exploit the cryptographic algorithm which may take different amounts of time to run plaintexts or secret keys.

Jimber Solution

All Jimber solutions use data encryption technology. Browser Isolation uses it to secure browsers. Web application isolation uses it to secure corporate applications. The Digital Vault is an excellent example of data encryption in web application isolation.

The Digital Vault

The Digital Vault uses an application so you can share and save documents in a safe way. Our application uses data encryption technology to encrypt all data so that documents are only visible to users and unreadable to others. Log in easily and securely to the digital vault with our application. Only the owner of the phone can access and edit the documents. Using a private key, only you can manage your files.

digital vault

Our Digital Vault application uses a private key which makes encryption possible. Data encryption prevents data loss because even when data is stolen it can’t be read by unauthorized people. Even if a hacker would gain physical access to the server the files are hosted on, they still would not be able to decrypt the files. So your sensitive information is always protected.

Our encryption technology

The Digital Vault is an excellent example of asymmetric encryption. Per account two keys are created, a public key and a private key. These keys are used to encrypt and decrypt the data in the Digital Vault. The public and private keys are only accessible during the time you are logged in to your Digital Vault. The keys can be used to send encrypted data and decrypt received data. The keys can also be used for digital signatures, so the other person can make sure it’s your document. This process makes it harder for hackers to discover a user’s key.

The Digital Vault and cyber attacks

The Digital Vault is excellent protection against cryptographic attacks. When data encryption can result in fewer cyberattacks if it's implemented in the correct way and updated frequently. Our data encryption technology can basically mitigate all cryptographic attacks, except brute-force attacks. Although brute-force attacks are still possible, they are basically useless because they take so long till they are successful.The Digital Vault has great usability and scalability, thanks to data encryption. The Digital Vault is convenient for employees to use and also scalable to accommodate an organization’s growth and changing cybersecurity needs.Check out our Digital Vault here to securely share files and passwords:https://jimber.io/digital-vault-secure-files-password/Read more about the myths of data encryption:https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/05/9-biggest-data-encryption-myths-busted-2/

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Kristof Van Stappen en Jonas Delrue van Jimber
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