Encryption is the method of scrambling or encoding pieces of information so that they cannot be deciphered by anyone other than the intended receiver. When it comes to doing this with information on or being transferred through the internet, encryption relates to software, which encodes information in order to protect it from unauthorized access. Encryption is used in many ways on the web today.
Consumer’s Financial Data – Protection of consumer’s credit card and banking information when they are purchasing items online is one of the most common uses of encryption on the web. The encryption allows the information to be safely transferred and used by the retailer for the purchase transaction. The same kind of software that encrypts the information during input is used to decipher it on the receiving end.
Email privacy – Encryption is used to keep email messages private. Individuals needing their information to be secure, such as missionaries working in dangerous areas, and government entities, use email encryption regularly.
Online Banking – No one would use online banking if they felt they were risking access to their bank accounts by outsiders. Online banking sites use very strong encryption software.
Paypal transactions – Paypal has become one of the most used and trusted sources for transferring funds on the internet. To keep its users protected, Paypal keeps its data encrypted.
Online accounting – Several accounting programs for small businesses now offer online accounting options. Well maintained encryption is a key ingredient in keeping the business information safe and secure from hackers.
Online backup services – If you use an online backup service, the information you backup to their servers is being encrypted to keep it safe from theft and viewing by unauthorized users.
VPN’s – Virtual Private Networks relate to the ability to privately access a small network from a remote location. In order to allow only authorized users into the network, powerful encryption and security tools are used.
File sharing/transfers – Transfer of computer files has become quite common. Encryption is part of the process that keeps your data safe as it is being moved from server to another.
Remote logins – There are services on the internet that allow you to remotely login to your home or work computer from another location. These remote login services must be protected from intruders with encryption software.
Government security – Governments are the other big users of encryption on the internet. Keeping their information and communications secure from capture is a matter of national security; they take this very seriously.
Most of the software you use involves encryption of data in some way, even if you are not aware of it. Unfortunately, human beings can’t be trusted. Therefore, it behooves us to protect our critical information through encryption.