Optiv Cybersecurity Dictionary

What is Encryption?

Encryption is a method in which plaintext or other data is converted from readable form to an encoded version that can only be decrypted with a decryption key.


It is the most effective way to achieve data security for the end-to-end protection of sensitive data transmitted across networks (data in motion) as well as sensitive data held in various systems and devices (data at rest). A popular internet security protocol that uses public key encryption is the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), along with its successor, Transport Layer Security (TLS). These protocols are commonly used by browsers and internet servers when transmitting confidential data such as financial details for e-Commerce transactions. Today's most widely used encryption algorithms fall into two categories: symmetric (single key, faster but requires sender to share the key with the recipient) and asymmetric (public key cryptography, uses two linked keys one public and one private). Many regulatory organizations and standards bodies (such as PCI-DSS) require encryption.


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