23 Mar End-To-End Encryption: Everything You Need To Know
In the past years, many online chatting platforms from Facebook, Zoom to WhatsApp have executed end-to-end encryption format in their services. It basically maintains the secrecy of the message communicated between the sender and receiver, by using codes.
Key examples of E2EE
- Telegram is regarded as the most protected online messaging app.
- Facebook, Apple, and WhatsApp are the major services to provide E2EE.
- Almost all online chatting apps have an in-built feature of encryption.
- Talking about the giant webmail providers, Outlook is the one with appropriate encryption.
WHAT IS END-TO-END ENCRYPTION?
End-to-end encryption is the process of protecting the line of transmission of messages from one end to another in a way that only the allotted device can decode the message. The message is communicated from the sender to the recipient in a coded form and the decryption key is only known to the recipient. Therefore, the data transferred is being secured and no third-party can read it.
E2EE is different from standard encryption, as, in the latter, messages are not encrypted in the transmission flow. Although the messaging applications provide initial encryption of messages, still the data during transmission is not secured. Internet service providers and telecom organizations can easily examine these messages. However, encrypting the message from both ends makes sure that only the permitted parties can read the message.
Further, the concept of one key to decode all messages is bygone. Now, there is a different key at each point of communication that allows to send and receive messages in different code formats. Therefore, the encryption key and decryption will vary from person to person even for the same message.
TYPES OF ENCRYPTION
The types of encryption are based on the types of keys being used. Mainly it is of two types:
- Asymmetric Encryption
Here, two kinds of keys are used one is the private key and the other is the public key. Both the end-users of message communication have both the keys. The Public keys are present with both the sender and receiver and they both can share them before the communication begins. The sender uses the recipient’s public key to encode the messages to be sent. Further, the recipient uses both its private and public keys for decoding the messages. However, the private key to the recipient is only available with the recipient himself and no one else.
- Symmetric Encryption
Here, the same key is used both by the sender and recipient to encode and decode the message. Since the transfer of key from one end to another is required, thus there are chances of the key getting exposed. Therefore, it is less efficient as compared to asymmetric encryption.
WORKING OF E2EE
- Asymmetric encryption style is used to communicate data between sender and recipient.
- The sender then pulls down the public key of the recipient from the server.
- Further, the message to be sent is encrypted by the sender with the help of the recipient’s public key.
- The sender then sends this coded message to the server.
- This encrypted message is next received by the recipient.
- The recipient uses its private key to decode the message and reads it.
USAGES OF E2EE
E2EE is mainly applicable in the areas where privacy is a major concern and of the highest importance, such as;
- Military information where the data needs to be secured. Rather, communication done at each and every phase must be protected.
- The fields where sensitive issues are being dealt with; information about minors, health, banking details, etc.
- All sorts of communication and negotiation are of high importance and are at the risk of getting hacked.
ADVANTAGES OF E2EE
- It gives the user the authority to decide who is permitted to read the messages.
- The E2EE method normally consumes fewer resources. Moreover, the file size and time are generally small.
- The communication line is highly protected when data transmits from sender to recipient.
- The user enjoys higher flexibility in deciding which data to encrypt.
- In the modern encryption processes, the transmitted message gets garbled on decryption if anyone tries to tamper with it. Hence, the problem is detected easily.
DISADVANTAGES OF E2EE
- Sometimes, E2EE fails to secure your data when it reaches endpoints.
- A set of special devices are required for keeping the keys.
- An insecure encryption algorithm proves to be risky.
- The server may not access the message, but other details like the date, time, name of the party involved are recorded and may attract unwanted attention.
- With the passkey getting disclosed, anyone can access the data may be the wrong person.
In spite of the drawbacks, End-to-end encryption is the most trusted form of communication to transfer crucial and sensitive data. Currently, almost all sorts of communication services have switched to it.