Understanding Data Encryption
There are various methods and types of data encryption. The common is encryption of a single file, but we could use this security feature also for email, entire disk, partition and folder. Major operating systems offer the ability to implement strong encryptions for users. This is essential when we are dealing with sensitive and confidential information. Often, we are concerned that our private information will eventually falls into someone’s hands. Data encryption is actually an old method and it has been used Babylonians in 4000 BC. They use intaglio, which is specific letters and images that are etched into stones.
It is actually a type of mercantile code, so both customers and sellers are able to communicate quickly about what they want to sell and buy. Modern encryption is obviously much more complicated and it can be used to secure government, military or industrial secrets. There are different forms of encryptions. Some can be stronger than others, while others are easier to use for average computer users. In essence, encryption is an activity to mask information, so it appears scrambled. In order to read the information, sender will deliver key to the receiver. Many business professionals are using encrypted email messages, because any information leakage could cause investors to sell or buy stocks in very large numbers as anticipation for bad or good things that the company will face. We should be aware that any information is available in unencrypted form, so we will need to take extra steps to make them more secure.
There are specific issues related with data encryption that we need to be aware of. Many people are using free encryption tools that can be downloaded on the Internet. Many would ask whether files encrypted this way are adequately strong. The response should be yes and no. Data encryption using free tools should be quite secure, but there could be some loopholes that we need to consider. As an example, we could encrypt a Word document that contains our financial information. The file may contain social security numbers, account numbers and other identification information.
We may put the document into an encrypted folder. For the most part, we may consider that this is a safe method, because we know that proper passphrase. However, we should know that our computer is creating temporary files for the Word document. They are usually stored in Temp directory. It is needed for the recovery process if our computer suddenly crashes. It means that there’s a possibility for users to recover the file on their own.
It means that even if we use the strongest encryption tool in the planet, there could be loopholes with our operating system that hackers can exploit. Temp directory is a favourite place for hackers, if they are able to gain access to our computer. In this case, we should combine the use of encryption with proper temporary file monitoring. Any temporary files that may contain our sensitive data should be purged from our local storage.