Data Encryption: Definition, Methods and Software Techniques

Data encryption is an operation with some data structures (e.g. files, folders or databases) turning it into an unreadable form. Any who knows an encryption algorithm and holds a password for the particular encrypted dataset (so-called a “key”) can restore these data to an original form.

Handy Backup is a perfect encryption backup software, using the 128-bit BlowFish for protecting any data. To encrypt your information, just select an encryption option for a task and enter a password.


Definition of Data Encryption Algorithm

Data encryption is an implementation of some data-processing algorithm scrambling the clear, structured data array into a mesh of unreadable, seemingly random flow of symbols or digits. A reversed algorithm, using some key data sequence, can restore data from this mesh.

Despite these processes can be performed manually (as used in pre-computer era), using a computer for the encryption or decryption can drastically increase the effectiveness and complexity of encrypting algorithms. Today, the computer encryption is a main data-keeping method.

Methods of Encryption

The main strategy assumes using the randomly generated key sequence in some uniform, reversible data processing action. “Reversible” action assumes that the next implementation of the same key sequence will restore the dataset to an original format.

Details of such an implementation are differ from one algorithm to another. Among the many publicly known algorithms, these are DES (somewhat too old to continue its implementation…), a newer AES, IDEA and the popular BlowFish encryption method.

Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Keys

This is the basic parameter defining the encryption method. Symmetrical key algorithm assumes the both sides exchanging the encrypted datasets know the same key. Asymmetrical methods allow using different keys for encryption and decryption.

The Length of the Key

Another parameter providing the stability and security is a length of the key sequence. Too short key can be cracked with much less effort than longer keys, although the long keys require too much time for processing. Nowadays, a 32-bit to 128-bit keys are most common for general purposes.

Resisting Cryptanalysis

The last parameter for estimating the encryption efficiency is its capability to resist cracking. The BlowFish and AES methods are both champions for this parameter, as well as derivates of these methods implemented sometimes in AES and BlowFish encryption software.

Software Implementations for Data Encryption

Besides the “true” encryption and decryption software, designed for securing data exchange, these are other areas of implementation for encryption algorithms. It is password keeping, content protection and backup. In the latest case, encryption is especially valuable for online backups.

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