In cryptography, encryption is the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called a cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information (in cryptography, referred to as ciphertext). In many contexts, the word encryption also implicitly refers to the reverse process, decryption (e.g. “software for encryption” can typically also perform decryption), to make the encrypted information readable again (i.e. to make it unencrypted).
Encryption has long been used by militaries and governments to facilitate secret communication. Encryption is now commonly used in protecting information within many kinds of civilian systems. For example, the Computer Security Institute reported that in 2007, 71% of companies surveyed utilized encryption for some of their data in transit, and 53% utilized encryption for some of their data in storage. Encryption can be used to protect data "at rest", such as files on computers and storage devices (e.g. USB flash drives). In recent years there have been numerous reports of confidential data such as customers' personal records being exposed through loss or theft of laptops or backup drives. Encrypting such files at rest helps protect them should physical security measures fail. Digital rights management systems which prevent unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted material and protect software against reverse engineering (see also copy protection) are another somewhat different example of using encryption on data at rest.
Encryption is also used to protect data in transit, for example data being transferred via networks (e.g. the Internet, e-commerce), mobile telephones, wireless microphones, wireless intercom systems, Bluetooth devices and bank automatic teller machines. There have been numerous reports of data in transit being intercepted in recent years. Encrypting data in transit also helps to secure it as it is often difficult to physically secure all access to networks.
Encryption, by itself, can protect the confidentiality of messages, but other techniques are still needed to protect the integrity and authenticity of a message; for example, verification of a message authentication code (MAC) or a digital signature. Standards and cryptographic software and hardware to perform encryption are widely available, but successfully using encryption to ensure security may be a challenging problem. A single slip-up in system design or execution can allow successful attacks. Sometimes an adversary can obtain unencrypted information without directly undoing the encryption. See, e.g., traffic analysis, TEMPEST, or Trojan horse.
Digital signature and encryption must be applied at message creation time (i.e. on the same device it has been composed) to avoid tampering. Otherwise any node between the sender and the encryption agent could potentially tamper it.
- ^ Robert Richardson, 2008 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey at 19. Online at i.cmpnet.com
- ^ Fiber Optic Networks Vulnerable to Attack, Information Security Magazine, November 15, 2006, Sandra Kay Miller
- ^ "Symantec buys encryption specialist PGP for $300M". Computerworld. 2010-04-29. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9176121/Symantec_buys_encryption_specialist_PGP_for_300M. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- Helen Fouché Gaines, “Cryptanalysis”, 1939, Dover. ISBN 0-486-20097-3
- David Kahn, The Codebreakers - The Story of Secret Writing (ISBN 0-684-83130-9) (1967)
- Abraham Sinkov, Elementary Cryptanalysis: A Mathematical Approach, Mathematical Association of America, 1966. ISBN 0-88385-622-0
Cryptography Solid-state drives Key terminology Flash manufacturers Controllers Independent Captive SSD ManufacturersList of solid-state drive manufacturers Interfaces Related organizations
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
encryption — n. the process of converting messages in ordinary language, or other information into a secret coded form that cannot be interpreted without knowing the secret method for interpretation, called the key. Note: Encryption is used commonly to allow… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
encryption — n. The practice of converting information into code that can only be deciphered with a key. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008. encryption … Law dictionary
Encryption — [dt. »Verschlüsselung«], Datenverschlüsselung … Universal-Lexikon
encryption — encrypt en‧crypt [ɪnˈkrɪpt] verb [transitive] COMPUTING to write information in the form of code, especially to prevent certain people from being able to use it: • The program encrypts your password when you use the software for the first time.… … Financial and business terms
encryption — The process of encoding information in an attempt to make it secure from unauthorized access, particularly during transmission. There verse of this process is known as decryption. Two main encryption schemes are in common use: • Private… … Dictionary of networking
encryption — The encoding of electronic data so that it can be transmitted without interception. With the growing use of the Internet for commercial purposes, there has been an ongoing need for secure encryption methods, notably in the transmission of credit… … Accounting dictionary
encryption — The encoding of electronic data so that it can be transmitted without interception. With the growing use of the Internet for commercial purposes, there has been an ongoing need for secure encryption methods, notably in the transmission of credit… … Big dictionary of business and management
encryption — šifravimas statusas T sritis automatika atitikmenys: angl. ciphering; enciphering; encryption; scrambling vok. Verschlüsselung, f rus. шифрование, n pranc. chiffrage, m; codage, m … Automatikos terminų žodynas
encryption — užšifravimas statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis Specialus informacijos kodavimo būdas siekiant ją įslaptinti. Užšifruota informacija gali būti iššifruojama tik žinant ↑raktą (3). ↑Neskelbtina informacija arba ↑slaptoji informacija… … Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas
encryption — encrypt ► VERB ▪ convert into code. DERIVATIVES encryption noun. ORIGIN from Greek kruptos hidden … English terms dictionary