Definition & Meaning:

Masking is a technique used in various contexts to hide or alter information so that the original data remains private or is seen in a different form.

This method is widely applied in digital communications, data processing, and online transactions to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or exposure.

For example, when you enter your password on a website, the characters are typically replaced with asterisks or dots.

This is a form of masking to prevent others from seeing your password.
In the context of data privacy, masking can be used to anonymize personal information before it’s shared or analyzed.

Names, social security numbers, or credit card details can be altered in a way that the data remains useful for analysis but doesn’t expose actual personal details.

For instance, a credit card number might be displayed only by the last four digits, with the rest being masked as XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-1234.

Masking is also relevant in web development and online marketing.

Websites might mask URLs to make them more user-friendly or hide complex addresses that could confuse users or affect the site’s aesthetics.

Similarly, email masking involves hiding email addresses on web pages to prevent them from being harvested by spammers.

Another application of masking is in online advertising, where advertisers might mask the destination URL of an ad to redirect users through a tracking system before reaching the final page.

This helps in monitoring the effectiveness of ads without revealing the tracking mechanisms to users.