A Deep Dive on End-To-End Encryption: How Public Encryption Systems Work?
We all know that data needs security, and security needs encryption. Thereupon, encryption plays a crucial role in promoting data security. Encryption is the process of converting data into a form that can only get decoded by a cryptographic key. And public encryption systems are methods of cryptography that require two separate keys. One key is private and the other one public.
Now, a cryptographic key is a random arrangement of characters that get generated for encryption. So then, the public key encrypts data while the private key decrypts it.
What are Public Encryption Systems?
Again, public encryption systems require two different keys to encrypt and decrypt data. As a result, the public key is available to everyone to encrypt data. In contrast, the private key is available to the recipient to decode data. If used appropriately, end-to-end encryption protects your data from third parties.
In the recent past, end-to-end encryption keys have become more popular. Examples of apps that use the system are Signal and Telegram.
Public key encryption also gets referred to as asymmetric encryption. It gets used to doing the following:
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
To enable Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
Also, components of public encryption systems include:
Plaintext: Readable and understandable data that is given as an input to an encryption algorithm.
Ciphertext: The output of an encryption that is encoded and impossible to understand
Private key: A secret key used for decoding encrypted data.
Public key: A key available to everyone and gets used for encrypting data.
To send an encrypted message, you can get the recipient's public key from a shared directory. First, use the key to encrypt a message before sending it. After that, the recipient would decrypt the information with their corresponding private key. In fact, organizations use encryption software to do the process and ensure data protection.
Since one does not have to share their private key, public key encryption is very secure. Furthermore, it prevents data leakage during transmission, thus preventing unauthorized access,
To manage security and identity, internet communications use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Besides, asymmetric encryption enables PKI. It also offers data protection in different communication channels.
In contrast, private key encryption uses only one key for both encryption and decryption. Private key encryption also gets referred to as symmetric encryption.
Symmetric encryption is a simple and old technique. For that reason, it uses a secret key that can either be a word, number, or a string of random letters. The sender and recipient should both know the secret key used to encrypt and decrypt messages. Examples of symmetric encryption include RC4, Blowfish, and DES.
Still, symmetric encryption has one major downfall. All parties involved must exchange the key used to encrypt data before they can decrypt it.
End-To-End Encryption Used in PGP
You should note that public key encryption uses symmetric encryption as well. Therefore, PGP is an example of a protocol that utilizes asymmetric cryptography and symmetric cryptography. Indeed, using PGP makes you aware of public key cryptography practices.
Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) is a regularly-used public key cryptography algorithm. In many cases, RSA gets used to generate key pairs for PGP encrypted emails. For instance, the public and private keys get generated and tied together. Also, they both rely on similar very large secret prime numbers.
The secret key is the representation of two vey large prime numbers. Yet, the public key consists of two very large prime numbers used to make the private key. Above all, it isn't easy to figure out which two large prime numbers created the public key.
Modern cryptography enables us to use random, gigantic prime numbers. In addition, the numbers are hard to guess for both computers and humans. Another advantage is that people can share their public keys over insecure channels. In the process, they do not reveal their private key.
How PGP Functions
The recipient has a private key, and its corresponding public key gets put on their HTTPS web page. Then, the sender downloads the recipient's public key. After that, the sender encrypts their message using the recipient's public key and sends it to them. Finally, the recipient decodes the message with the private key.
Pretty Good Privacy works by creating and using public and private keys.
As usual, keep your private key safe and protect it with a long passphrase.
What Public Encryption Systems Doesn't Do
If you exchange messages with a known dissident, you may get into trouble. In some countries, you can face imprisonment for refusing to decode encrypted messages. Moreover, masking that you are communicating with a particular person is harder. For instance, with PGP, both parties can use anonymous emails and use Tor to access them. By doing that, PGP will still be secure by keeping your emails private.
Similarly, Tor is also useful when accessing the dark web. Also known as the darknet, the dark web is a hotbed of criminal activity. An example is, stolen data gets sold in a black market within the dark web. Despite that, Tor is entirely legal to use. Besides, not all activities in the darknet are illegal.
Applications of Public Encryption Systems
Aside from digital signatures, public key cryptography gets used for other purposes. For example, it protects clients and web servers against cyberattacks. Attackers may want to intercept communication and access the content within the data. Web server security also helps in ranking websites higher on search engines. Some of the search engines are Bing and Google
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin depend on public key cryptography to carry out transactions. So then, users have a public key that is available to everyone. In turn, private keys get kept secret and later on get used in transactions.
Email encryption also utilizes public key cryptography to authenticate and encrypt a message. Following that, the message gets protected against malicious hackers. Due to encryption, even if an attacker cracks a mail server password, they view the content.
In conclusion, protect every private communication with encryption software. So, public key encryption uses a complex encryption mechanism to protect data. Along with other security defenses, information security gets assured.
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