Definition:

Encryption is a necessary component of electronic security. So long as any information is transferred via the internet or other electronic sources there shall be a demand for this information to be hidden from unauthorized viewers. This is not a new idea though it takes on increasingly complex forms as time goes by. Basically, encryption puts information into a code that is very difficult for other sources to decipher without a key. When an encrypted message arrives at its destination, it is decrypted, that is, converted back to its original format.

Pre-Cursor to Modern Data-Encryption:

The device pictured below was used by the German military during World War II to send encoded messages back and forth. The Enigma Machine was used to encrypt and decrypt strategic information to be relayed back and forth in the hopes that the allies would not figure out how to crack the code. Unfortunately for the Germans, they underestimated the resolve and ingenuity of the Allied countries and the cipher was broken which allowed a large number of "secret" messages to be cracked.
450px-Nsa-enigma.jpg

Applications:

As an increasing number of individuals are changing over to wireless connections to get on the internet there are more and more unprotected credit card numbers and sensitive documents floating around unprotected.
Data encryption helps in the act of having a secure server. Since the server is transferring information back and forth with a client, data encryption helps to keep this information away from hackers in an unreadable form. This is necessary for services that require the exchange of confidential information and are essential for doing business over the Internet.
The most common way to encrypt your internet activity is by enabling encryption for your wireless router. This keeps other wireless users from being able to see what your activity is over the internet and access your personal information. It keeps a level of security in that it would be difficult for a hacker to take information when he can't access your internet resources directly.
hacker.jpg

Types Of Data Encryption:


Data encryption algorithms have evolved over the past 30 years or so, the initial algorithm being DES (Data Encryption Standard) developed in the 70's, followed by Triple-DES, which is merely data encryption using the DES algorithm three times over, and RSA encryption which is still used today and is still believed to be secure. All of these encryption algorithms utilize complicated mathematic equations. Data sumbitted for encryption goes in as plaintext, then an encryption key is hashed together with the plaintext, and processed through the algorithm, and then emerges an indecipherable text.

Why this is important:

Especially on campus, because the internet is not encrypted it is important that we are aware of the ways to protect the information we send out and view. It is important that the information and data we provide is protected so that it doesn't get intercepted by others who don't have our best interest in mind. Instead of it helping us, without encryption it could potentially harm us.

This diagram shows how partner 1 types in the message and partner 2 has to have the encryption key to receive that message. If partner 2 doesnt have the key then the message will look like the one shown below.

external image crypto.gif

Links:

www.truecrypt.org/
www.freebyte/security/
www.pointsec.com
www.safeboot.com
www.winmagic.com
www.pgp.com
www.safeguardeasy.com
https://register.acns.fsu.edu/bluesocket/index.html << link to IPsec tool for use on FSU's wireless network