Cryptography in everyday life
What is cryptography?
Cryptography isthe study and practice of techniques used to secure information transfer. It is one of the cornerstones of our modern society and is about access to data and controlling who can see and use it. It provides the tools needed to make processing and communicating private data secure.Cryptography is used in everyday life, allowing secure but accessible communication. If people buy something online, completea banking transaction or use email, cryptography is active in the background.
Cryptography deals withsecure communication procedures so that only the recipient and sender of a message can read what it says. The wordstems from the Greek word kryptos, which means hidden or secret. It is closely related to encryption, which uses algorithms to muddle text into cipher text and then makes it clear on arrival.
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History of cryptography
One of the first known forms of cryptography was used by JuliusCaesarabout 2,000 years ago and is still known as the Caesar cipher. If he was writing something confidential, he wrote it in cipher. He replaced letters with other letters a fixed number of positions away. For example, using a three shift, he replaced A with D, B with E, and so on.
Cryptographers developed the public key system, which is used for email security. Users will have a public and a private key. Senders ask for the public key, encrypt the message and send it. The recipient will use their private key to decode it.
Organizations can use file encryption methods to secure emails containing sensitive information.
They can encrypt other sensitive data, such as intellectual property, so only designated staff can access that information. This will keep specific files and folders from being accessed by outsiders.
Encryption is the process of taking a message and scrambling its contents. Symmetric encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption, whereas asymmetricencryption uses two different keys. It can also be used for authentication and ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data.
Cyberattacks on databases are widespread, and cryptography is used to secure sensitive information. This can secure customer details and ensure compliance with data protection laws. Businesses use HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) for websites and phone apps to secure communication over networks. Cryptographers developed the Secure Socket Layer to make HHTPS very safe. If a website address begins with HTTP, it is not secure, whereas HTTPS indicates it is a secure platform.
In 2022, research showed that there are4.74 billion people using social media worldwide. It has become a priority for social media platforms to offer data security to their customers. This has resulted in an upsurge in encrypted social networks to mitigate privacy concerns and lack of protections.
Companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, iMessage and WhatsApp use E2EE (end-to-end encryption) for exchanges such as text messages, video chat, voice calls and sending emojis. They will only be comprehensible to the sender and the recipient. If hackers access the exchange, they will see an unintelligible data scramble.
E2EE is much stronger than other, more basic encryption because other entities cannot decrypt the data. It uses public key encryption to store public and private cryptographic keys only in the endpoints of the exchange. Public key encryption is more secure than private because only half of the encryption key is sent over the internet.
The use of strong encryption procedures makes users more confident that third parties will not access their data, and this,in turn,attracts more customers.
ATMs and banking
An ATM (automatic teller machine) is a cash dispenser and a computer device that can process large amounts of data. Due to the advanced technology fraudsters use, banks mustoffer their customers robust protection.
An ATM allows customers to withdraw money and perform other transactions. Machine pin verification uses an encryption technique. Each action is authorized by a bank through a secure communications network that encodes data so thatonly the sender and the recipient can read it.
Bank cards have a magnetic strip that contains data such as the card number and expiry date. ATMs use encryption to protect this data. Most ATMs use a triple data encryption standard. This is a computerized cryptography method that uses block cipher algorithms three times.
Cryptography plays a significant role in assisting banks in keeping data transactions secure. It makes a message unreadable to anyone but legitimate users. It can also ensure the message is from an authentic source and has not been accessed fraudulently while being transmitted.
When a browser searches for a website, it asks the site to identify itself. The website will send the browser its certificate with a private key. The browser has the public key for the certificate, and if it can be deciphered, the website is genuine. The browser will encrypt the data using the authenticated public key when bank card details are entered to make the purchase.
With online shopping,an asymmetric key algorithm is used where the sender uses a public key to encrypt a message, and the recipient uses a private key to decrypt it. This makes the data more secure as only the recipient has the private key. Bank card details are encrypted using a public key, so only the retailer has the private key to decrypt those details and put the sale through. Keys are often changed to keep systems secure, and the website will decipher the information using its private key.
Cryptography secures the international information infrastructure by encrypting data and protecting it from outside forces. These days, cryptography is essential to securing data that is moving or at rest, protecting personal information and communications, and ensuring the safety of online purchases.