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Every modern computer includes tools for encryption of data, making it impossible for anyone without the proper key. What exactly is encryption and how does it work? This article explains the basics of encryption and the ways it can help secure sensitive information from hackers.

In simple words, data encryption converts readable information into coded encrypted ciphertext that can only be deciphered by authorized individuals with the appropriate password. It is an essential element of cyber-security, which ensures the security of data and protects sensitive information away from any unauthorised users.

The most common type of encryption uses mathematical models that are cryptographic in order to convert the original data into a chaotic collection of characters (also known as ciphertext). Encryption algorithms “scramble” individual bits in a random manner, so that even with huge computing power, it will take a very long time to try and figure out the key to convert back to plain text.

For example, if you employ the most popular type of encryption, known as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) for your digital files, every one of the ones and zeros that make up it is scrambled ten times to form an uni-random pattern. Without the correct key to read it, computers would have to run for a very long time trying to rearrange them all to the correct order.

Encryption can also help prevent the leak of information and attacks by ransomware. If hackers steal encrypted data, they can’t read it and are in a position to not blackmail the business or individuals involved with the threat of sharing the stolen information to the dark web. Furthermore, encryption protects backup systems from hackers since they can’t access the information in its original form.