Encryption 101

What is encryption?

Encryption is simply a way of stopping data from being read by anyone other than the intended recipient.

Are there different types of encryption?

Yes, there are two types of encryption - symmetric and asymmetric. Waysact uses asymmetric encryption, powered by GPG/PGP, to protect your data exports.

How does asymmetric encryption work?

Let's take a look at a real world analogy:

Imagine that Alice is going on holiday for a while and she wants to be able to send a postcard to her neighbour Bob.

Unfortunately, as it's a postcard, Malory the mailman would be able to read it too. Alice and Bob don't want this.

So, before Alice leaves for her holiday, Bob gives her an open padlock and a box. Bob however, keeps the key.

Alice then goes on holiday. She puts the postcard in the box, closes it and locks it by fastening the padlock.

She then sends the box to Bob in the mail. Malory can see the box, but he can't open it.

However, when Bob receives the box he can unlock it using the key and read the postcard.

That's the basic concept behind asymmetric encryption in just six lines!

What is GPG/PGP?

GPG/PGP is an implementation of asymmetric encryption. It uses public and private keys to encrypt and decrypt data.

What are public and private keys?

In the example above the padlock represents Bob's public key and the padlock key itself represents Bob's private key.

In GPG/PGP they're text files which look something like this:

What do GPG and PGP stand for?

PGP is short for 'Pretty Good Privacy' and GPG stands for 'GNU Privacy Guard'.

GNU is a computer operating system, like Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS.

Where can I find out more?

This article only provides a very brief introduction to encryption. You can find out more about using GPG/PGP with Waysact by reading our article "Understanding GPG/PGP for normal people!".

Powered by Zendesk