SSL Certificates are now a reality. They prevent the users from getting their information onto unsafe hands and prevent their web browsers from being attacked by malware and hackers alike. But ever wondered how does the SSL Certificate make sure that the exact information is given to the recipient? What is the procedure that protects the user? Interesting, right? The answer to these questions is BIT ENCRYPTION.
Firstly, we shall discuss some basic terms used:
ENCRYPTION: It’s a process of encoding the information in a format or a language, which can not be understood by any 3rd party intervention.
DECRYPTION: The process of unlocking the encrypted information using cryptographic techniques
BIT: While doing encryption you have to translate the information. The smallest part of the information is termed as a bit. It is represented in number. For example, 128 bit, 256 bit, etc.
SSL CERTIFICATE: SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL Certificate is a data file installed on a web server that maintains a secure connection between the server and a web browser.
CRYPTOGRAPHY: It’s a method of protecting and communicating information by using certain codes. This coded language can be understood only by the ones who intended to.
SYMMETRIC CRYPTOGRAPHY: Here, the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the information. The main disadvantage is that the same key has to be exchanged with everyone to encrypt the data before they can decrypt it.
ASYMMETRIC CRYPTOGRAPHY: Here, 2 types of keys are used to encrypt and decrypt the data and both the keys can not be used to encrypt and decrypt at the same time. This method is better than the symmetrical cryptography since it offers 2 different keys.
ADVANCED ENCRYPTION STANDARD: It is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Suppose the user wants to send some information, then the SSL Certificate will do the encryption. This will prevent the interference of 3rd party when the information is on it’s way to the designated place. There will be a key provided, for the recipient, by the SSL Certificate to decrypt the information.
As mentioned above, there are certain types of bit encryption and we shall discuss a few of these encryptions one by one. Speaking of the protection strength of the bit encryption, their capacity to protect increases with the increase in the number of bits.
The least protective bit encryption is the 40-bit encryption and the strength gradually increases as the bit increases to 88-bit, 128-bit, 256 bit, etc. 256-bit encryption is sufficient for users who want to perform optimum work over the internet. If the user wants additional security, then he/she must go for 256-bit encryption.
Firstly, we shall see that what does 256-bit encryption means. 256-bit encryption is a data or a files encryption technique that uses a 256-bit key to encrypt and decrypt data or files. The 256-bit encryption indicates the length of the encryption key, which will be used to encrypt the information to be sent.
The most effective way to hack into encryption systems would be the brute-forcing. In layman’s terms, trial and error. If an attacker attempts to hack into the server, then he/she has to try ‘2 to the power 256’ combinations. That will be 2x2x2x2x…… 256 times. The fastest Supercomputer Tianhe-2 (MilkyWay-2), will take around millions of years to crack the 256-bit encryption and this is way more than a human lifespan.
So, to hack into the 256-bit encryption system, it is virtually impossible. According to calculations, if we take 1.4 billion supercomputers to check 275 keys per year, then these supercomputers would take 234 years to check 0.01% of all the keys in this encryption. Currently, the US Government has applied 256-bit encryption to most of its sensitive and classified information.
However, if we are to look at the 128-bit encryption, which will contain ‘2 to the power 128’ combinations, it is said to be logically unbreakable. Also, the 128-bit encryption is supported by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
But, it is said that in the coming years, the computers will have the ability to crack the 128-bit encryption. There is also 448-bit encryption and this offers more protection than the 256-bit encryption. Sure it is better, but at the moment 256-bit encryption can suffice to the task of providing the encryption.