End-to-End Encryption Software

Instructor: David Gloag
Information needs to be protected for various reasons these days. In this lesson, we'll take a look at one of the methods we can use, encryption, and a specific variant, end-to-end.

The Need for Security

We often hear about information being compromised in the news. The Heartland Payment Systems breach where credit card information was captured by spyware, the Epsilon data breach where names and emails were exposed, and the RSA cyber-attack where employee records were stolen, all come to mind. The RSA cyber-attack is particularly troubling because RSA is a security company! So if companies that specialize in this area aren't safe, how can anyone else be? Well, the truth is that maybe they can't, not completely. Regardless, steps must be taken to improve the odds as much as possible. One technology that can help is encryption.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is a process that changes the nature of information so it can't easily be employed by a third party. It uses a mathematical transformation, and a key (an external piece of information), to perform the intended change. This introduces a random element that increases its ability to resist attacks. Sometimes, the calculations transforming the information are complex, at others, they are not. It is also reversible, meaning that it can be undone. Encryption is an integral part of many operations including, banking transactions, Internet purchases, and password protection. Most of the time, you won't even know it is there.

What is End-to-End Encryption?

End-to-end encryption is a class of encryption techniques, rather than a specific form or type of encryption, used in the transmission of information from one place to another. Types in the class share a common characteristic, only the sender and receiver can read the information. This means it is not decrypted at any point during transmission (unlike other forms like Link encryption). It is commonly in situations like military communications, sensitive political correspondence, and business messaging that involves intellectual property.

What are Some Examples of End-to-End Encryption Software?

End-to-end encryption software falls into two distinct categories; software that only performs end-to-end encryption, and software that contains end-to-end encryption as a feature. Software packages that only perform end-to-end encryption include:

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