Did you know that the first half of 2019 saw more than 50% more data breaches than the same period in 2018?
Data breaches have become increasingly common in our modern technological world. But when we think of data breaches, we often think of Fortune 500 companies and well-known businesses. After all, look at how much media attention Capital One got last year after their major security breach.
What we often don’t hear about is personal breaches in data, despite how prevalent they are. These types of breaches happen when people are too trusting on the internet, reuse the same passwords multiple times, and fall prey to phishing scams.
Hackers have become highly motivated to access as many accounts as possible. Why? Because despite what the police tell you, crime does pay. Hackers are highly motivated by the payout they will receive for your confidential information.
So what can you be doing to protect yourself online? The answer to that is easy. Encrypting the files you upload will help to keep your information secure and out of the hands of hackers who look to profit from it.
If you’re new to encrypting files, keep reading to get the inside scoop on how it’s done.
What is Encryption?
Before you can understand how to encrypt a file online, you should have a basic understanding of what encryption means. After all, if you don’t understand how it works, you won’t understand how it keeps you safe.
The encryption process scrambles the readable text in your data so that no unauthorized people can gain access to it. The type of data that encryption can protect is massive. From your running logs on your fitness app to your secure banking details stored online, encrypting your information will always make it more secure.
That being said, there are many different ways that you can encrypt your online data. We recommend checking out the options below to get you one step closer to complete online security.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to breach your data is through weak passwords. A password management tool helps you to create stronger, difficult-to-guess passwords, and stores them for you in an encrypted online vault.
Keep in mind that while your browser probably has a password manager built-in, it’s not going to be as effective. When you compare Safari’s built-in password manager to this third-party password manager for Mac and iPhone, the differences are incomparable.
Safari’s built-in browser only saves your passwords in Safari, and Apple actually has a legal obligation to share your information with third parties. Third-party apps don’t have this legal obligation to share your data, making them a more secure choice for password storage. Most third-party apps are designed to be used across multiple devices and browsers as well, making it easier for you to log in to your accounts from wherever you choose.
Symmetric keys are a common method of file encryption and are fairly easy to use. The algorithms of these services protect your data by requiring a key to unlock it. The key that locks the data is the same one that unlocks it and can be a password or a string of random numbers and letters generated by a random number generator.
Symmetric keys work like house keys. Everyone that is granted entry gets an identical key to unlock the metaphorical door to the file. This type of encryption prevents any unintended recipients from being able to access and read your confidential data.
Symmetric keys are often how banks keep their confidential data away from prying eyes. Realistically speaking, if it’s good enough for the industry that houses the majority of the populations’ money, it’s good enough for personal use.
Much like their symmetric counterparts, asymmetric keys work the same way to protect your data, with a few slight differences.
With asymmetric encryption, the keys come in pairs. This means that while you can use one key to encrypt, or lock, a file, you need the paired key to decrypt, or unlock, the file. Asymmetric encryption has also been referred to as public-key cryptography, as users tend to make one key public while keeping the other key private.
This type of encryption is generally used for sending private messages because of the more public nature of this method. This method is recommended for people who need to send confidential information through messaging services, as it works to keep your information secure and assures you that only the intended recipient can access the files.
We think it’s great that you want to take your online security more seriously. File encryption is one of the many steps that you can take to protect yourself from the threats of the online world.
Now that you know more about how encryption works and why we recommend you use it, you’re ready to decide which method works for you.