Medical Device Security: Diagnosis Critical
Data Encryption: What It Is, How It Works, and The Crucial Role It Plays In Information Security
Many advocate the merits and importance of data encryption but few truly understand how it works. Without cryptographic processes, consumer and business data would be constantly at risk. Understanding encryption helps keep systems safe.
By knowing what encryption is, how it works, and the crucial role it plays in information security, business leaders and average consumers alike can make better decisions for their data safety.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Encryption?
Think of encryption as a lock and your keys are your passwords. This is the system that operates behind the scenes of many of our day-to-day processes, our mobile banking, and our digital storage.
Encryption is the process of securing information behind a cipher. It makes sensitive data unreadable to anyone without the necessary authorization. There are a wide variety of ways to encrypt data, but they all involve cryptographic functions that secure the plain text of data behind a code.
The security of this code depends on the complexity of the cryptographic key. The most powerful cryptographic encryptions make it all but impossible for would-be hackers to crack them.
The process of encryption is one of the most important protective measures for society as a whole. Not only does it keep private financial information safe from criminals, it serves as a check for government powers in the ability to seize and examine personal information. This helps guarantee democratic processes and protects our freedom and privacy.
But how does the average person go about understanding the complexity of cryptographic processes? And how can you make encryption work for you?
How Encryption Works?
Encryption doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem.
It all starts with an algorithm that converts the plain text data into something unreadable without the decryption key, which simply reverses that algorithm to re-translate the information back into plain text.
There are two primary ways encryption algorithms work: symmetric and asymmetric.
Symmetric encryption entails the use of a single key used for both encryption and decryption. The key converts a message into an unreadable state, then converts it back if applied by a user with the same key. This is a foundational method of ensuring data safety for all, and is common in the following processes:
- Mobile payments
- Multi-factor authentication
- Hash functions
Asymmetric encryption, on the other hand, uses two different keys. The encryption key is shared publicly, which is why this encryption method is also known as public key encryption. The other key, used for decryption, is kept private. This is the encryption technology that has made possible Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), both essential in maintaining internet security and privacy.
Asymmetric encryption methods are common in systems like:
- HTTPS internet security
- Email encryption
- Cryptocurrency transactions
The combination of both symmetric and asymmetric cryptography is also a feature of many highly secure systems, as it complicates encryption to best deter hackers. Decryption keys are mathematically linked and communicate when authorized parties apply the right processes.
But most people don’t need a highly complicated encryption system to protect their day-to-day data. Encrypting your passwords can be as simple as using strong passwords that are not easily guessed. However, a symmetrical authentication system is highly recommended.
Without these encryption methods, chaos would reign in the world of data.
The Role of Encryption in Information Security
It is estimated that there is 40 times more data stored than there are stars in the observable universe. Without the people and processes that keep this information safe, it would be a free-for-all for your most personal information. Luckily, however, we have information security analysts and database administrators acting constantly to retain the security of cryptographic functions.
These roles are vital in the ongoing efforts to secure data privacy, which is consistently under siege by both cybercriminals and governments across the world. Efforts have been made to force tech companies to insert backdoors into encrypted applications. This would allow law enforcement access without the necessary user decryption keys.
While law enforcement has the right to tap your phone under the right circumstances, backdoor and decryption remain more highly protected functions of our private information. Government actors need special permission and warrants to break into an encrypted system, providing a system of checks on our data freedoms and privacy.
Without encryption in information security, our data would be open to anyone with the knowledge and drive to access it. And who would want to live in such a world?
Data encryption is the process of securing information behind a coded algorithm. This means only the authorized user with the decryption keys—in essence, your passwords—can access the secured data. Encryption, then, acts as a line of defense for our freedoms and privacy of information in the digital world.
While there are different types of encryption—some more secure than others—average users need only to follow best practices like using multi-factor authentication systems to retain high levels of security. As a result, the world of information security can function as it should, with our data kept private and safe.
COVID-19 Vaccine Documents Stolen from its Servers by Hackers: EU Regulator
The drug authority of the European Union said Friday that COVID-19 vaccine records stolen by hackers from its servers were not only leaked to the internet but “manipulated.”
The European Medicines Agency announced that an ongoing investigation found that, as of November, hackers had stolen emails and records pertaining to the assessment of new coronavirus vaccines. As part of its vaccine approval process, the organisation, which oversees drugs and medicines across the 27-member EU, had troves of sensitive COVID-19 info.
“Prior to publication, some of the correspondence was manipulated by the perpetrators in a manner that could undermine confidence in vaccines,” the Netherlands-based organisation said.
“We have seen that some of the correspondence has not been published in its original integrity and form and, or with, the perpetrators’ comments or additions.”
The department did not clarify precisely what information was changed, but experts in cybersecurity believe such activities are indicative of government-launched misinformation operations.
“The Italian cybersecurity company Yarix said that the 33-megabyte leak was discovered on a well-known underground forum with the title “Amazing scam! Wicked Pfffizer! Falsified vaccinations! Apparently, it was first released on Dec. 30 and later appeared on other pages, including the dark web, the firm said on its website.
Yarix said “the intention of cybercriminals behind the leak is certain: to cause significant damage to EMA and Pfizer’s reputation and credibility.”
Lukasz Olejnik, a cybersecurity expert, said he thought the aim was much broader.
I am afraid that this release has a major potential to sow scepticism in the EMA mechanism, vaccines and vaccinations in general in Europe,” he said.” “While it is unclear who is behind this operation, it is obvious that someone has allocated resources to it.”
“This is an unprecedented operation aimed at the validation of pharmaceutical materials, with a potentially wide-ranging negative impact on the health of Europeans if confidence in the vaccine is undermined,” said Olejnik.
In reaction to the hack, the EMA said law enforcement officials are taking “necessary action” and a criminal investigation is pending.
It noted that, following the catastrophic toll of the pandemic, there was a “urgent need for public health to make vaccines available as soon as possible to EU citizens.” Amid this urgency, the EMA maintained that its decisions to prescribe green lighting for vaccines were focused “on the strength of scientific evidence on the safety, quality and efficacy of a vaccine, and nothing else.”
The Amsterdam-based EMA was strongly criticised in December by Germany and other EU member countries for not authorising vaccines against the virus more rapidly. The agency released its first advisory in Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines weeks after the shot was accepted.
A second vaccine, made by Moderna, was approved by the EMA for use earlier this month. The agency is now considering a third shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford.
Canadian Data Security Startup Qohash Announced it Raised CAD 8 million in Series A funding
This week, Canadian data protection company Qohash revealed it had raised CAD 8 million in Series A funding (approximately USD $6.3 million). FINTOP Capital led the funding.
The Quebec-based company was founded in 2018 and provides clients with applications focusing on data exploration and classification, helping businesses track data through their ecosystems. In addition, it provides security of transparency to help secure data and business processes.
Qohash sells the Qostodian SAAS platform to keep track of data flows and real-time detection of high-risk circumstances for organisations. The organisation also includes the on-site Qohash Recon platform, which aims to identify and categorise confidential data on network drives and servers.
The data protection firm says it is looking to extend its activities across North America.
Customers want the security of knowledge that will change and address new demands. The technologies from Qohash are quick to implement and protect both on-premise and cloud-based outlets. Qohash has helped them accomplish their targets quicker and with greater versatility, partnering with security-conscious, industry-leading companies,” Qohash CEO Jean Le Bouthillier said in a statement.
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