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What is Link Encryption?

Instructor: David Gloag
Information security is only getting tougher to manage, as the need for security increases as our use of the Internet increases. In this lesson, we'll take a look at one form of security measure, link encryption, and see how it works.

The Link to Safety

Everyone spend a good deal of time on the Internet. Some of us even pretty much live there. We post personal information on websites like Twitter and YouTube, we send personal email through websites Yahoo Mail and Lycos, and we buy personal items from ecommerce websites like eBay and TigerDirect. The fact is that some of us couldn't live without it. But with this level of exposure, is it a wonder that crime isn't rampant? What is it that keeps the malicious intent to a minimum? You may not know it, but there is a number of technologies in place keeping your information safe. Enter encryption. Specifically, link encryption.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is a process that uses a key, an external piece of information, to transform information. The information starts in one form, often human-readable, and ends up in another which is usually not. The process uses a series of mathematical calculations, at times complex, to perform its work. Its main purpose is to hide and protect important information. As you might imagine, it has many uses, ranging from protecting sensitive communications like those for the military, to hiding passwords for things like your bank account. It is an unobtrusive technology, quietly going unnoticed in the background.

A link is a connection in a network. We sometimes refer to them as hops. Think about your home computer and its connection to the Internet. If you wanted to send an email message to your friends on the other side of the city, the message might go through the following links:

Link Description # of Links
Personal Computer to a Collection Hub 1
Collection Hub to Internet Service Provider (ISP) Server 1+
ISP to your Mail Server (like Yahoo Mail) 1+
Your Mail Server to your Friends Email Server 1+
Your Friends Email Server to your Friends ISP 1+
Your Friends ISP to a Collection Hub 1+
Collection Hub to your Friends Personal Computer 1

You probably didn't know this was happening, as it is not made aware to the users of the system. Also note that the number of links and the route taken from source to destination can change depending on circumstance.

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