Definition & Meaning:

Encryption is the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access.

This means that the data is scrambled in such a way that only someone with the correct key can decode it, making it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have permission to view it.

It is an important element in the security of data, especially in the digital world where information can be easily intercepted. For example, when you send a message through an encrypted messaging app, the app encrypts your message on your device.

Then, only the recipient’s device has the key to decrypt the message, allowing them to read it. This ensures that even if someone intercepts the message while it’s being transmitted, they cannot read its contents.

Encryption is used in various forms and for multiple purposes.

Two main types are symmetric encryption, where the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt data, and asymmetric encryption, which uses a pair of keys (public and private keys) for encryption and decryption.

Asymmetric encryption is widely used in internet communications, such as SSL/TLS protocols that secure websites. You might also encounter encryption in everyday activities without realizing it.

For instance, when you use a credit card on an e-commerce site, your payment information is encrypted to protect it from potential theft.

Likewise, encrypted passwords ensure that even if a database is compromised, the attackers cannot easily access users’ accounts. Furthermore, encryption plays an important role in compliance with data protection regulations.

Laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States often require the encryption of sensitive personal data to protect it from breaches.