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End-to-End Encryption (E2E)

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news (context)?

  • End-to-end encryption (E2E) safeguards information, altering perspectives of human rights groups, law enforcement, and tech firms regarding access to and utilization of individual data for protection, prosecution, or profit.

Encryption

About:

  • Encryption involves transforming consumable information into an unconsumable form based on specific rules.
  • Different encryption methods exist, such as symmetric and asymmetric encryption, each with distinct functionalities and purposes.
  • End-to-End Encryption (E2E) secures information as it moves between specific locations. In messaging apps, E2E encryption ensures messages are encrypted both in transit and at rest, only being decrypted by the intended recipient.

 Types of Encryptions

1) Symmetric Encryption:

  • Uses the same key for both encryption and decryption.
  • Examples include the Data Encryption Standard (DES) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

2) Asymmetric Encryption:

  • Uses different keys for encryption and decryption.
  • Provides enhanced security but requires the exchange of public and private keys.
  • Examples include algorithms like Curve25519, based on elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC).

3) Hash Functions:

  • Responsible for encrypting messages.
  • Must fulfil specific properties, such as producing unique digests for unique messages and maintaining message confidentiality.
  • Examples include the hash function used in DES, which operates through a series of steps including S-box conversions.

 

Challenges and Risks

  • Despite E2E encryption, messages can still be accessed through methods like man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
  • Users must verify keys through fingerprints to prevent interception and modification.
  • Complacency regarding security measures may lead to vulnerabilities, such as malware infiltration or backdoor access by companies or authorities.
  • Illegal use and surveillance risks persist, as highlighted by incidents like the Edward Snowden affair.

 

Conclusion

  • Encryption is crucial for safeguarding information integrity and privacy.
  • E2E encryption provides robust security measures but requires vigilance against potential threats and vulnerabilities.

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