When you submit credit card information to make a purchase from a company’s website, the company’s server issues a key to encrypt your data while on its journey from your web browser to their server, protecting your data from thieves during transmission. The same goes for mail servers and email transmission.
An “encryption key” is a unique unit of bits created to scramble and unscramble data. It’s a code that’s virtually impossible to crack because it’s designed with algorithms that make its length and pattern unpredictable. A “bit” is the smallest unit of data storage in a computer – with a single binary value of 0 or 1. Therefore, your credit card info is transmitted to the company’s server in code that looks like 128 bits or 256 bits – that’s a lot of 0s and 1s!
Encryption is widely used on the internet to protect passwords, payment information and other personal information that should be considered private. Organizations and individuals also commonly use encryption to protect sensitive data stored on computers, servers and mobile devices like phones or tablets.
SSL/TLS has since evolved into a process that validates the party (company, organization or individual) on the server side is a legitimate entity. We will cover more about this in our next articles.