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The importance of encryption

Written by Itziar

Although it is a term that sounds modern and related to the digital world, encryption has been used since long before the appearance of the Internet. In the 5th century BC, the Hebrews begin to use one of the first encryption techniques in their religious texts, the Atbash. It was a method of inverted alphabetic substitution (also called reversed alphabet). It consists of substituting the first letter for the last, the second for the penultimate and so on. Almost all great civilizations have used encryption methods to protect the content of messages.

Historically, we saw the importance of encryption during the Second World War. Turing developed the Bombe, a machine to decode the Enigma (the encryption machine used by Nazi Germany)that shortened the War in Europe, saving lives.

Now, what is encryption?

Encryption is a coding process by which the information's content is altered, making it virtually impossible to read by cybercriminals. It keeps the information confidential while it goes from sender to receiver. Encryption protects the data you send, receive, and store.

Why is encryption necessary?

In today's computing world, encryption is necessary when protecting our data and the information we send or receive from privacy attacks. But how is data encrypted? The information is encrypted using mathematical or logical formulas; in this way, only the recipient of that information has the necessary codes to decrypt and read them. If anyone tried to read that information, he couldn't and would get nothing but a string of meaningless and worthless characters.

For example, we set a password to enter our mail and press send. We send that password without encryption, and someone intercepts it. If that happened, the person that intercepted that password would have access to all the information stored in our email account and could even impersonate our identity. Hence, encryption is essential if personal, business or financial data is sent.

With the advancement of technology, more and more companies store their information in cloud storage which is a risk since anyone can access it. The need to protect said data has made encryption essential in the security of these servers so that only those with the right to access that data can do so. We must consider different types of encryption when connecting to the Internet.

When should we encrypt the data?

We should encrypt the data when we are handling sensitive information that we do not want to be intercepted by third parties.

The UK GDPR requires you to place appropriate measures to ensure you process personal data securely. Encryption is a must-have for companies to safeguard their employees' sensitive and confidential information against cybercriminals.

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