DATA ENCRYPTION AND SURVEILLANCE
Data encryption defined in Data Protection 101, our series on the fundamentals of data security.
Data encryption translates data into some other form or code so that only people with access to a secret key (formally called a decryption key) or password can read it. Encrypted data is commonly referred to as ciphertext while unencrypted data is referred to as plaintext. Encryption is currently one of the most popular and effective data security methods used by organizations. There are two main types of data encryption: asymmetric encryption, also known as public key encryption, and symmetric encryption.
The purpose of data encryption is to protect the confidentiality of digital data as it is stored on computer systems and transmitted over the Internet or other computer networks. The outdated data encryption standard (DES) has been replaced by modern encryption algorithms that play a vital role in the security of IT systems and communications.
These algorithms provide confidentiality and drive important security initiatives, including authentication, integrity and non-repudiation. Authentication allows verification of the origin of a message, and integrity provides proof that the content of a message has not changed since it was sent. In addition, non-repudiation ensures that a sender of a message cannot deny the sending of the message.
Method Data, or plain text, is encrypted with an encryption algorithm and an encryption key. The process results in ciphertext, which can only be viewed in its original form if it is decrypted with the correct key. Symmetric key codes use the same secret key to encrypt and decrypt a message or file. While symmetric encryption is much faster than asymmetric encryption, the sender must exchange the encryption key with the recipient before decrypting it. Because companies need to securely distribute and manage large amounts of keys, most data encryption services have adapted and use an asymmetric algorithm to exchange the secret key after using a symmetric algorithm to encrypt data.
On the other hand, asymmetric cryptography, also called public-key cryptography, uses two different keys, one public and one private. The public key, as it is called, can be shared with anyone, but the private key must be protected. The Rivest-Sharmir-Adleman (RSA) algorithm is a public key encryption cryptosystem widely used to protect sensitive data, especially when it is sent over an insecure network such as the Internet. The popularity of the RSA algorithm stems from the fact that both the public and private keys can encrypt a message to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation of electronic communications and data through the use of digital signatures.
The most basic attack on encryption these days is brute force, or trying random keys until the right one is found. The length of the key, of course, determines the possible number of keys and affects the plausibility of this type of attack. It’s important to keep in mind that encryption strength is directly proportional to key size, but as the key grows, so does the number of resources needed to perform the computation.
Alternative methods to break a cipher include side-channel attacks and cryptanalysis. Side channel attacks occur after the implementation of the grade, rather than the actual grade itself. These attacks tend to succeed if there is a flaw in the design or implementation of the system. Likewise, cryptanalysis means finding a weakness in the cipher and exploiting it. Cryptanalysis is more likely when there is an error in the cipher itself.
Data security solutions for data encryption can provide encryption of devices, email and data. In many cases, these encryption features also come complete with device, email, and data management features. Companies and organizations face the challenge of protecting data and preventing data loss, as employees are more likely to use external devices, removable media and web applications as part of their day-to-day business processes. Sensitive data can no longer be subject to corporate control and protection as employees copy the data to removable devices or upload it to the cloud. As a result, the best data loss prevention solution prevents data theft and the introduction of removable and malware from external devices as well as web and cloud applications. To do this, they also need to ensure that devices and applications are used properly and that data is protected by automatic encryption even after leaving the organization.
As we said, email management and encryption are another important part of the data loss prevention solution. Secure, encrypted email is the only solution for regulatory compliance, remote workers, BYOD and project outsourcing. With powerful solutions to prevent data loss, your employees can continue to work and collaborate via email, while software and tools continuously tag, classify and encrypt sensitive data in emails and attachments. The best data loss prevention solutions automatically alert, block, and encrypt sensitive information based on message content and context, such as user, data class, and recipient.
While data encryption may seem like a difficult, complex process, data loss prevention software reliably handles it every day. Data encryption tries to fix its organization itself. Choose a top data loss prevention software that provides data encryption with device, email and application management and you can rest assured that your data is safe.
[i] https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-data-encryption, last accessed on 14th March, 2021