If you have been keeping up with the recent advancements in the cyber realm, you must have heard of cryptography. From popular films to ancient times, cryptography has always been discussed but gained much more significance in the recent years. Read our article and learn why!
You must have done online shopping or created an account on a web platform before. While you are completing these tasks, you share sensitive and very valuable information. Have you ever wondered how this kind of information is kept safe? How do the companies store your username and password? How online shopping sites keep your credit card information from third parties? The answer to all these questions is cryptography.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what cryptography is and how it is done.
What is cryptography?
Simply put by Bruce Schneier in his book titled Applied Cryptography, cryptography is “…the art and science of keeping messages secure.” In other words, the discipline of cryptography aims to hide sensitive information away from the peeping eyes of third parties.
The practices of cryptography may involve codes, digital devices, simple or complex rules, special decoders, software and such, but the main goal of all these is to provide encryption and decryption. In other words, cryptography encrypts information in a way that allows the intended receiver to decrypt and understand the information.
How does cryptography work?
Cryptography takes a plaintext (also known as a cleartext) and turns it into something that can only be understood by the intended receivers. Anyone else who somehow gets their hands on this piece of information shouldn’t be able to understand it.
The practice of turning a plaintext into a ciphertext, encryption practices are followed. To turn a ciphertext into a plaintext, decryption practices are followed.
There are various techniques employed in order to encrypt a plaintext: Symmetric encryption, asymmetric encryption, hashing functions, blockchain and digital signatures are some of the most prominent encryption techniques. They are often employed along with other cyber security measures.
Why is cryptography important?
As our business processes become increasingly more digitalized and web-based practices like online shopping became more mainstream, much bigger amounts of sensitive information circulate. That is why keeping personal data private has gained significant importance and nowadays, cyber security professionals are putting great emphasis on encryption and cryptography.
Few decades ago, hackers would only target big organizations but as the circulation of private information has become more common and information itself has turned into one of the biggest assets one can have, hackers have been targeting organizations of every size, even individuals. In fact, recent research shows that smaller organizations have been attracting hackers even more since most of them don’t allocate much resource and human power to their cyber security operations. In other words, they are easier to take down.
If you want to keep your business safe, you definitely need proper cryptography and encryption practices in order to keep your personnel information, customer data, business communications and such safe from the malicious attackers.