What Is Encrpytion and Why is it Necessary to Use the Internet Safely for Computer Science Beginners
Securiy and privacy is an imporant concept that is always talked about when it comes to communication through the internet. However, how is this data sent without worries of it being intercepted and interrupted by others? Through encryption; Encryption is the process of converting data from one form into antoher, therefore only the intended recipeint can understand the information.
Most forms of encryption provide the following three capabilities:
- Authentication — The origin of the message can be verified by the recipient.
- Integrity — Proof that the message hasnt been changed since it was sent
- Non-repudiation — The sender cannot deny sending the message
Similarly, encrypting is a three step process; First is that containg the data you wish to encrypt unencrypted. Second is getting an encryption key that wil be used to encrypt the message. Third is getting the encryption algorithm you wish to use and this is the mathematical function which will encrypt the data with the encryption key and produce an encrypted form of your original message.
The best encryption algorithims are the ones where the mathematical caclulations are open to the public. Any encryption whicih relies on secrey is suspicious and often bad encryption. The best algorithms have withstood extended periods of scrunity by the best mathemiticians and still hold strong to their purpose.
One of the earliest and easiest to understand encryption algorithims is the Caesar Cipher named after Julius Caesar. Lets say your message only consists of alphabetical letters and you’re sending this message over to a friend in the same country as you. You would have your original message and then shift all the letters by any number you want, to keep it simple lets say a shift of two. Then in person or in a descrete matter you will let them know the key which is two and he will be able to decrypt the message.
Unencrypted: "This is my message"
Caesar Shift of 2 Using English Alphabet (0-26)
Encrypred: "Vjku ku oa oguucig"
In conclusion encryption is a key function in our internet safety and privacy, and although this is a very basic and flawed encryption method it holds truth to the main idea of encryption.
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