What is Encryption in Computer Software?

Every modern computer has a tool to encrypt data in order to make it impossible for anyone without a key. What is encryption and how does it work? This article explains how encryption safeguards sensitive information from hackers.

In simple terms, data encryption converts textual information into ciphertext that can only be deciphered by authorized users with the appropriate password. It is an essential element of cyber-security, which ensures the security of data as well as keeping sensitive information from unauthorised users.

A common type employs mathematical models that are cryptographic in order to convert the original information into a chaotic collection of characters (also called ciphertext). The encryption algorithm «scrambles» individual bits randomly to ensure that it takes a huge amount of computing power to identify the key and convert back to plaintext.

If you’re using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), the most common encryption method, on your digital files that means that each of the ones and zeros in the file is scrambled 10 times in a semi-random pattern. It would take a computer a long time to rearrange all the numbers in the proper order without a key.

Encryption can also help prevent the leak of information and attacks by ransomware. Hackers who take encrypted data are unable to read the data and cannot blackmail the company, or the person who is involved with threats to release the stolen data to the dark web. Furthermore, encryption protects backup systems from hackers as they aren’t able to access the data in its original form.

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