Encryption is the process of scrambling data in such a way that only legitimate users can read it.
This is what plaintext i.e. unencrypted data looks like
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
and this is what ciphertext i.e. the encrypted version might look like
Encryption works by scrambling the original data using an encryption algorithm.
The encryption algorithm is a set of mathematical steps applied to the original text to change it into cyphertext. Each standard algorithm has a name, such as the AES-256 algorithm.
The algorithm uses a very large digital number (key) to do the conversion. It is extremely difficult for a normal computer to work out what is the correct key in a reasonable amount of time.
Encryption can also be applied to 'real-time' streaming data for copy protection purposes.
For example only paid-up subscribers are able to access encrypted commercial entertainment streams or satellite broadcast channels.
This section will describe two types of technologies
- Symmetric key encryption
- Assymetric key encryption