The World is All About Encryption Now

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

With the recent event of a California court order requesting Apple to disable their security password feature, many tech makers have come forward to support Apple’s defence against providing a backdoor for encryption via a brute force attack. Facebook, Verizon, HuaWei has all stepped up to state their stance against unveiling customer’s privacy content, sparking a whole new debate and conversation in the tech scene.

That has raised quite a hoo-ha that even Mozilla has started a campaign to promote and raise awareness on encryption; with an indirect hit to support Apple’s decision by stating that encryption is “only for people you want to see your information, are able to”.

Video Source: Mozilla Firefox Campaign for Encryption

As an encryption provider ourselves, we understand the dilemma that Apple is going through because encryption was designed for the purpose of communication between intended parties. If a backdoor is made available and permissible by a court order as and when authorities want it (regardless if communication is done with bad intentions), that will be against the rationale behind encryption, the integrity of running a business and misalignment on trust between providers and users.

On the other hand, given that 14 innocent lives have been lost in the shootout, decrypting communication that is held in the apple device could provide answers to the mystery, and possibly uncover leads to close the case.

That said, to decrypt an encrypted device isn’t as easy as picking a lock with a needle. The combined technology required to break the an encrypted code would take thousands of years and large processing energy from computers. It is, for this reason, encryption exists virtually everywhere, for the purpose of safeguarding personal data.

What is Encryption and How do you Encrypt?

Encryption is when  a green padlock and HTTPS is seen on the address bar of websites and is implemented by installing an SSL certificate on web servers. Typically websites, emails, devices that communicate with one another online would have some form of encryption built in. Otherwise, these can be easily read by a third-party.

In this case with Apple, encryption has worked well in preventing a brute force attack by FBI agents, though as Tim Cook said, was with good intentions. Regardless, encryption should be in place where data is stored and where information is shared. Failing to do so can put one at risk of personal data being stolen and used without permission.

ashleeAbout Ashlee Ang

Ashlee is a content writer at Cyber Secure Asia where she writes about introductory topics on cyber security and cyber-related happenings in Singapore & South East Asia.

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