Encryption Guide – How to Encrypt with Public or Private Keys

Encryption is essential since it allows one to protect the data that they do not want anyone else to have access to. 

Businesses make use of encryption to protect their corporate secrets, the government uses it to secure their information that is classified, and most individuals use it to protect their personal information to prevent cybercrimes, like identity theft. 

In this article, we are going to cover public and private keys, what they are, and the main differences between them. 

What is Encryption?

Encryption is the method by which sets of information are converted to a confidential code that hides the meaning of the information entirely. This makes it completely undetectable, and the study and science of encryption and decryption is known as cryptography.

In the world of computing, data that is not encrypted is known as plaintext, while data that is encrypted is known as ciphertext. The formulas that encode and decode messages and information are known as encryption algorithms, also called ciphers

In order to be useful, ciphers make use of variables as part of their algorithms, usually one variable per algorithm. The variable is known as the key and is the element that makes the output of a cipher unique. 

When an entity discovers a message that is encrypted without authorization, the intruder will have to guess which cipher the sender has used to encrypt the information, and which keys were used as variables. 

The difficulty and time-consuming nature of this task is what makes encryption such an effective tool for information security

Encryption has been used to keep sensitive information private and protected for years. It was historically used by the government and military, and in modern times, it is used to protect data that is stored on storage devices and computers, and the transit of data over networks as well.

Check out this link for an in-depth guide to encryption.

Why Encryption is Important

Encryption plays a vital role in the security of a number of various information technologies and assets. 

It offers authentication to verify a message’s origin, confidentiality by encoding the content of a message, non-repudiation by preventing senders from denying that a message was sent, and integrity by proving that the contents of a message have not changed since it was first sent. 

Encryption is most frequently used to protect data that is intended to be transmitted, as well as data not scheduled to be moved. Each time you use an ATM or make an online purchase using your phone, encryption is being used to secure your information. 

Businesses are becoming more and more reliant on encryption to protect their sensitive information and applications that could damage their reputation if there was ever a breach in their security. Scary!

Any encryption consists of three primary components, namely the data, the encryption engine, and the key management. In laptop encryption, each of these components is stored or running in the same place on the laptop. 

However, in the case of application architectures, the three components are generally stored and run in separate places. This is done to reduce the chance that one compromised component would result in the other two components becoming compromised

How to Encrypt With Public and Private Keys

Public encryption keys are, as you may have guessed, public. They are available to the public and are accessible via a directory or a repository. On the contrary, private keys are required to remain a secret for their owner.

Since this key pair (public and private) is related mathematically, data that is encrypted using a public key can only be decrypted with the private key that it corresponds with, and vice versa. 

For example, if you were to send confidential information to your friend and ensure that your friend is the only person that would be able to view it, you would encrypt the data using your friend’s public key.

Then, only your friend would have access to the related private key, and would subsequently be the only person on the planet able to decrypt the encrypted data to its original form. And, since your friend is the only person with the private key, they can decrypt the encrypted data.

Even if a third party were to gain access to the encrypted data, it would remain confidential as long as they do not have your friend’s public key.

Here’s a very detailed guide on the nature of public and private keys.

Summary

Encryption is the best way to secure your data in today’s world. It is guaranteed to keep your sensitive information secure from cybercriminals and those who wish to siphon your personal information.