The internet is a global network of computers, where any data or message passes from one computer (the source) to another computer (the destination) by travelling through many intermediary internet servers on the way. At any of these intermediary internet servers which form the route of the data or message, if there is a hacker or malicious person, then your data or message can be stored, seen or altered. To prevent this from happening, we use end to end encryption.
Encryption means changing the data into some form of scrambled code, so that only the genuine recipient at the destination who has the “key” to unscramble the data can view it, and no one else can either view or alter it along the way. For encryption to take place, the sending user, who has an encryption key can encode or scramble the data and then send it. No one else on the way who does not have the key can access it. Only the genuine recipient has another key to unscramble and access it. This is called end to end encryption. It results in security and privacy – your data is a very valuable secret belonging to you or your organization. You want only the valid user to whom it was sent to access it, so that the privacy and secrecy of your data is preserved.
How does It Work
There are two basic types of encryption systems – single key systems and dual key (or public key or PKI) systems.
In a single key system, there is only one common key with both the sender and the recipient. Any message can be scrambled (encrypted) or unscrambled (decrypted) with the same key. However, the problem here is how to send the key from the sender to the recipient? It cannot be sent through the internet, otherwise any hacker on the way may gain possession of it and then he can access the data and encryption will be useless. So in a single key system, the key must be private, and must be only with the sender and the recipient, so it must be sent on something like a CD, and not through the internet. This is a major hurdle due to which this system cannot be used on the internet.
In the dual key or PKI system, there are two separate keys, a public key, which can be widely distributed to anyone, and which is used for encrypting the message. This is used by the sender. The other key is the private key, which only the recipient has, does not give to anyone else, and is used to decrypt the message. Therefore, anyone can encrypt a message with the recipient’s public key and send it to the recipient. It cannot be decrypted with the public key, so although everyone has the public key, they cannot decipher the message. Since only the recipient has his private key, so only he can decrypt the message. He never needs to send his private key to anyone. But he can easily send his public key to anyone on the internet, and there is no harm if a hacker gets the public key. It cannot be used to access the data.
Since there are two parties in the communication let us say user A and B, both sending and receiving data to / from each other, so they will follow the following steps
- Both will get their own pairs of public and private keys from a public key or PKI server. The key pairs of both will be different for both users. One cannot use the key pair of the other.
- They will first send their public keys to each other through the internet. So A has B’s public key and B has A’s public key.
- Then User A will encrypt and send data with user B’s public key.
- User B will encrypt and send data with user A’s public key.
- Then they will use their own private keys to receive and decrypt data.
This way both can communicate and send several messages to each other. Their data can be text, audio messages, phone or video calls, files, pictures of anything else that the communication app can send or receive. The privacy of all of the above is protected
All of this process is automatically carried out behind the scene through the programming of the communication apps which have end to end encryption. The user just types and sends his message. The app takes care of the entire process of keys, encryption and decryption, so that the recipient sees the decrypted message, but no one else on the way can access it.
Why we need End to End Encryption
In recent years, communication messaging apps were hacked by hackers or third parties. Data was not secured and these hackers could have access to it while the data was transferred from one device to another. There are many private files, which cannot be shared with any user. Companies have very valuable trade secrets which cannot be known by third parties. These secrets are so valuable that hackers are paid a large amount to hack and access these secrets. Privacy is essential because the right to privacy is given to every human and every corporation. But if the data is encrypted, then it cannot be accessed. Privacy rights mean that any third person can’t take your data without your knowledge and use it for any purpose.
Importance of End to End Encryption
End-to-end encryption is important because it provides its users and recipients security for their data in any form whether email, messages, or files from the moment the data is created by the user until the moment it is received by the recipient. It provides users with an end-to-end encrypted platform for data sharing, no third party can read the exchanged messages, files or data. End to End Encryption provides us with a sense of security and it is very convenient to use, especially since all encryption and decryption is done automatically by the software, and the user does not need to do anything to use it. Now, most of the communication apps are using Encryption, as it is one of the important needs of the time, and all users demand it.
What are the advantages of End to End Encryption
The advantages of End to End Encryption can be elaborated as follows:
Keeps data secure
End to End Encryption allows you to keep your data secure and private. The conversations, files or data are secured till the endpoint. There is no chance of any alteration in the user’s data. End-to-end encryption ensures the privacy of your communication.
Prevents data from being accessed by hackers
End to End Encryption makes sure that no third party or hacker can steal your private content or is allowed to interfere in your privacy. It has a high security level that is unbreakable by hackers.
End to End Encryption is very cost-effective, its service is provided in the communication apps or other messaging apps. Many paid and free communication apps provide End to End Encryption server. There is no additional cost for encryption as it is built into the software.
End to End Encryption is easily manageable because a user has to do nothing special for its working. A user can enable end to end encryption mode just by following very simple steps. It does not interfere with your application or device setting.
End to End Encryption is accessible to a wide range of devices. End to End Encryption can be used on as many devices such as phones, laptop and desktop computers, Windows, Mac etc. It does not slowdown the application or device and does not cause any error to the system. This is because computers are so fast these days that the extra time taken to encrypt and decrypt data is milli-seconds and is not noticeable.
How End to End Encryption is to be protected
Protection of End to End Encryption depends on the user and the device’s privacy on which End to End Encryption is enabled. Note that the private key is on the user’s device – phone or laptop. If the user’s device is physically stolen by the hacker, then that hacker can access all data sent to that device. Thus, protection of end-to-end encryption requires the protection of devices and application access.
End to End Encryption ensures no third party or hacker can access any messages, calls, files or data sent by one user to another. It confirms that no one can decrypt encrypted messages other than the real recipient. Communication is highly secured, it protects user privacy. It protects the critical and highly valuable trade secrets and data of an organization. It is the most secure way to share personal data without any fear of the involvement of third parties. End to End Encryption is a powerful tool that enables a user to maintain privacy. Many communication services are switching towards it every day.