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What is Encryption in Computer Software?

Every modern computer has tools to encrypt data in order to make it unreadable to anyone without a key. What is encryption and how does it work? This article will explain the basics of encryption and how it can be used to secure sensitive information from hackers.

In simple terms, data encryption transforms textual information into ciphertext that can only be deciphered only by authorized users with the correct password. It is a critical component of cyber security which guarantees data privacy and keeps sensitive data out of the hands of unauthorised users.

The most common type of encryption uses mathematical models that are cryptographic, which convert the original information into a jumbled collection of characters (also called ciphertext). The encryption algorithms “scramble” bits of information in a random way, meaning that even with huge computing power, it would take a lot of time to try and determine the key needed to convert back to plain text.

If you are using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), the most common encryption method for your digital files that means that each of the ones and 0s in the file is scrambled 10 times in a semi-random pattern. It would take computers an extended time to reorder all the numbers into the right order without a key.

Encryption can also help prevent ransomware attacks and leaks of information. Hackers who steal encrypted data can’t read the information, and aren’t able to blackmail the company or the person who is involved by threatening to release the stolen information onto the dark web. Furthermore, encryption protects backup systems from hackers as they can’t access the information in its original format.