What does encryption actually mean?


What does encryption actually mean?

What happens to your encrypted email before the recipient reads it?

Encryption dates back to the ancient Spartans who used leather straps wrapped around wooden rods. When unwrapped they were meaningless but when wrapped on the correct sized rod they would reveal the secret message.

The Caesar cipher is another form of encryption named after Julius Caesar. He would use the cipher, (below) to create an encrypted message. Then he would send two messengers, one with the encrypted message and one with the encryption key to the recipient. The encryption key is the amount of times you turn the inner disc so, for example on the image below the encryption key is 13.

This would make it difficult to decipher the message without capturing both messengers and having a copy of the cipher itself.

Encryption today

Today’s encryption is much more complicated. You write an email, once you press send your computer will obscure the message using an algorithm that is so complex and complicated that even our developer Toby couldn’t understand (and Toby is real smart!) Once encrypted its unreadable by anybody and that is how it travels through the internet. Once the email hits the recipient’s server the algorithm (which is the key or password) unscrambles the message and displays in plain text as though nothing has ever happened!

If you see the padlock in the address bar on the top of a webpage – you know that website is safe and any information you enter onto that website will be encrypted and totally safe.

Only the smartest of the smart can write the algorithms for encryption

If your message is intercepted by a hacker they simply will not be able to understand it, or even crack the code to figure it out.

Only the world’s smartest of the smart can write the algorithms for encryption, and only the people smarter than them can test them for durability.

Encryption is an age-old method of secrecy and it’s only getting stronger and stronger with new technologies and knowledge.

Crack this encryption

We wanted to set you an encryption challenge but cracking encryption today is impossible so, instead, can you crack this code using a Caesar cipher?

If you do email Sophie.Parden@fullcircle-its.co.uk with the secret message:

svefg crefba gb svther guvf bhg jvaf n shyy pvepyr zht shyy bs tbbqvrf!

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