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Unlocking the Code: Beginner’s Guide to Encryption

In today’s digital era, ensuring data security has become a top priority for individuals and businesses. Encryption plays a crucial role in transforming data into an unreadable form, effectively safeguarding it from unauthorised access.

In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the basics of encryption and how it works.

What is Encryption?

By employing encryption, plain text data undergoes a transformation into an unreadable format known as ciphertext. Only individuals possessing the decryption key can decipher this encoded information. Encryption is a formidable shield against unauthorized access, theft, and data tampering. Moreover, it serves as a crucial mechanism to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information, including financial records, personal data, and business-related details.

How Does Encryption Work?

The encryption mechanism involves using an algorithm that transforms plain text data into ciphertext. This process relies on a key to encode the information, and decoding it requires the exact same key. Essentially, the key serves as a password to decrypt the data. Encryption encompasses two primary types: symmetric and asymmetric encryption, each serving distinct purposes in data security.

Symmetric Encryption

Symmetric or shared secret encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption. Therefore, the sender and the recipient must have the same key to communicate securely. As a result, symmetric encryption is faster and more efficient than asymmetric encryption. Still, it has a significant flaw: the key must be shared between the sender and the recipient, which creates an opportunity for interception or theft.

Asymmetric Encryption

In the realm of encryption, asymmetric encryption, commonly called public-key encryption, operates based on two distinct keys for encryption and decryption. When utilising this method, the sender employs the recipient’s public key to encrypt the data, while the recipient relies on their private key to decrypt it. Although asymmetric encryption may be slower than symmetric encryption, it offers enhanced security because the private key remains exclusive to the recipient and is not shared with any other entity.

Common Encryption Algorithms

There are many encryption algorithms, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common encryption algorithms:

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

AES is a symmetric encryption algorithm widely used to protect sensitive data. It is the current standard encryption algorithm used by the U.S. government. AES uses a variable key length of 128, 192, or 256 bits, which makes it difficult to crack.


RSA is an asymmetric encryption algorithm named after its inventors, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. RSA is widely used for digital signatures and secure data transmission. RSA uses a key length of 1024, 2048, or 4096 bits, depending on the level of security required.


Blowfish is a symmetric encryption algorithm known for its speed and simplicity. It uses a key length of up to 448 bits and is widely used for secure file transfer.

Applications of Encryption

Encryption is used in various applications to protect data from unauthorised access and theft. Here are some of the standard applications of encryption:

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SSL is a security protocol that uses encryption to protect data transmitted over the internet. Websites like online banking, e-commerce, and email use SSL to secure online transactions.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN is a network that uses encryption to secure data transmitted over the internet. A VPN is used to connect remote users to a corporate network securely.

File Encryption

File encryption is encrypting files to protect them from unauthorised access. File encryption is widely used for secure file transfer and storage.


Encryption is vital in safeguarding data against unauthorised access and theft. Employing algorithms and keys transforms plain text data into an incomprehensible form known as ciphertext. Two primary forms of encryption exist symmetric encryption, which employs a single key for encryption and decryption and asymmetric encryption, which utilizes distinct keys. Encryption finds its application in diverse contexts, including SSL, VPN, and file encryption, playing a crucial role in upholding the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information.

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Dewapost Team

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Creator and Administrator of Dewapost. Love tech, creative and e-business of any kind :)

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