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End-to-end Encryption

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    16th Dec, 2022

Context

Recently, Apple has announced, that it will be increasing the number of data points protected by End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) on iCloud from 14 to 23 categories.

What is end-to-end encryption?

  • End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a secure communication process that prevents third parties from accessing data transferred from one endpoint to another.
  • The communication cannot be read or altered while in transit by an internet service provider (ISP), an application service provider, a hacker, or any other person, group, or service.
  • Only the intended recipient can decrypt the data in an E2EE transaction since it is encrypted on the sending system or device.
  • Data encryption is the process of using an algorithm that transforms standard text characters into an unreadable format.

Usage of end-to-end encryption

  • Secure communications: Messaging apps like Signal WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google messages use end-to-end encryption to keep conversations between their users private.
  • Password management: Password managing service providers use E2EE to protect a user's passwords.
  • Data storage: Storage devices often provide E2EE at rest. However, service providers can also offer E2EE in transit in a cloud storage setting, safeguarding users' data from anyone, including the cloud service provider.

Mechanism:

  • The cryptographic keys used to encrypt and decrypt the messages are stored on the endpoints.
  • The process of end-to-end encryption uses an algorithm that transforms standard text into an unreadable format.
  • This format can only be unscrambled and read by those with the decryption keys, which are only stored on endpoints and not with any third parties including companies providing the service.

Benefits of End-to-End Encryption

Disadvantages of E2EE

  • Security in Transit
  • Tamper-Proof
  • Industries are bound by regulatory compliance laws that require encryption-level data security.
  • Safety from Third Parties
  • Law Enforcement and Surveillance Concerns
  • No Protection to Metadata
  • Complexity in Defining the Endpoints
  • Not future-proof
  • Ledger is Still Available
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