Using Encryption to Secure Your Computer

With hackers becoming more versatile, their technology and resources more advanced, and the amount of information stored on networks and online more sensitive and potentially useful to obtain for monetary means, the need for IT security as at an all-time high. Spyware detection programs and software, along with a good anti-virus program, can do a lot to help catch possible viruses and worms, but there are ways that information can be stolen from a company or private network that can easily bypass first level defences.

Encryption is another added precaution that private users and businesses can utilize to help keep their files and information safe from a possible cyber-attack. There are several different kinds and levels of encryption, from basic folder and file protection to more advanced methods used by IT security techs and white caps, or legally hired hackers that work to protect companies against malicious hackers, to encrypt private, legally restricted and sensitive information that is stored in network systems or online.

What is Encryption?:

Encryption is a method of using coded data to hide the details of a folder or file, or...on a larger scale, network information and computer information. Encryption keys are needed to "read" the details of encrypted information, and must be specifically shared with another network or user.

Encryption Keys come in different types; public keys are shared between companies or users when they want to send encrypted information over the Internet or on a portable USB drive. This allows them to read exchanged files safely.

Private encryption keys are specific to the network or user, and typically the network administrator or IT tech will be the only person to have the private key information.

What Does Encryption Do To Prevent Hacking?:

When a hacker tries to steal encrypted information, the only way to read that information will be by having the proper encryption key. Without this key, it is very difficult to break the code and get the information stored in coded data. Because of this, encryption can be a very practical and relatively simple method of added another level of protection even beyond that of spyware and anti-virus programs.

Simple encryption can be as simple as right clicking on a file or folder and selecting advanced attribute settings. From there, there will usually be options to compress and encrypt the data. Any files stored within an encrypted folder will also be encrypted, and a prompt to back up the encryption key usually follows.

For larger networks, online information and corporate computer systems, IT specialists use much more advanced techniques and software to encrypt files from serious hacking attempts. Most online retailers that customers can purchase goods from using credit card, bank or other monetary fund information will have encrypted websites that help protect against the customer information being stolen.

There is a variety of encryption software and walk through guides available online for anyone wishing to learn more about levels and methods that can be used to protect files and networks.