What is End-to-End Encryption and How Does it Work?

End-to-End Encryption

How Does End-to-End Encryption Keep You Safe?

End-to-end encryption is a secure method of communication that protects the user’s information and data while it’s transferred from one device to another. In EE2E, the data is encrypted on your end and only the recipient can decrypt the sent message.  But, a lot of things can happen along the way that users aren’t aware of. That’s why in this week’s Zlog, we’re going to talk about End-to-end encryption and take a look at how it works.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of encoding a piece of information in a specific way so that only authorized parties can access and decipher it. Modern-day technology encryption is virtually impossible to break. Plus, even if someone manages to access your information, they won’t be able to read it unless they have the key. To fully understand how End-to-end encryption works, let’s take a look at the types of encryption.

Types of End-to-end Encryption

End-to-end encryption is extremely efficient in safeguarding your information. Without it, your information and data would be encrypted when they reach the mid-point server. This means that your ISP might see your messages if it’s monitoring your activity. With that in mind, End-to-end encryption is of vital importance to keeping your personal and financial information safe. There are two types of End-to-end encryption:

Symmetric Encryption

Symmetric encryption is the basic type of encryption where both the sender and receiver have the same private key that they use to decrypt and decrypt data. While this type of encryption is still safe to use, the main disadvantage of it is that a hacker can intercept the information if a secure tunnel isn’t established.

Encryption types

Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption is a more advanced tool compared to the previous one. In Asymmetric encryption, two keys encrypt the data, a public and a private key. The public key is the same for both parties, while the private key differs for both the sender and the receiver. This means that only the user who has both the private and public keys can open the message. If a hacker intercepts one key, he still won’t be able to access the information.

How does End-to-end encryption Work?

End-to-end encryption works on its own, meaning that you don’t actually have to put any work into making it work. For example, every time you use an app or browser that’s equipped with End-to-end encryption tools, they automatically get to work when you engage in any activity that requires securing your sensitive information.

In the same breath, you can also implement End-to-end encryption on your own if you want to, but this is a very complicated procedure. We don’t advise you to try to set up End-to-end encryption on your own. However, if an app doesn’t have an active End-to-end encryption feature, but does allow you to activate it, this is something you should use to do whenever you can.

Possible Weakpoints of End-to-end encryption

Despite the fact that it is one of the most reliable tools you can use to ensure your privacy and security, End-to-end encryption has its weaknesses, just like any other tool out there. While there aren’t many of them, some of the most significant possible threats include:

  • End-to-end encryption doesn’t protect the endpoints themselves, so if there’s a successful breach on one side, the key can become compromised
  • Not all apps and browsers use End-to-end encryption. One of the most notable examples of this is WhatsApp. While it does encrypt its messages, it doesn’t encrypt the backup messages it stores on Google servers. This means that Google can access its users’ backup logs.
  • Hackers can still intercept your data by employing Trojan viruses or malware. This allows them to bypass the encryption and access your personal information.

With all of this said, we would still recommend you to use E2EE apps and browsers whenever you can. Of course, this tool is just one of many common practices you should keep in mind to ensure you’re as safe and private as you can be when online. This means avoiding suspicious sites, downloads and emails and also using reliable antivirus software and a trustworthy VPN service.