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Encryption security software converts data so it cannot be read by an unauthorized recipient, while decryption converts the encrypted data back to its original form so it can be read. The term encryption refers to a way to send messages in code. Encryption, which continues to gain traction, helps to make communications more secure. The encryption market is set to increase at a rate of 26 percent in the next few years, according to Juniper Research analysts, largely as a result of legislation that governs data protection.
To send encrypted information, a user types a message or other data into the system, which is then processed by the software. The software uses a complex algorithm to encrypt the data, making it virtually impossible to be recovered without access to the encryption key. An algorithm can be defined as a step-by-step plan for solving some problem.
The data is sent to its destination, where it is received by an authorized recipient who has the encryption key. This key is used to decode the information so it can be read. If the data is intercepted at any point between the sender and the authorized recipient, it will be nearly impossible to read without the encryption security software key.
While there are many encryption algorithms, one of the more popular is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES is an encryption algorithm that is used by United States government agencies to secure material that is sensitive but not classified. Some experts believe that, because of its use by the US government, that it may become the de facto standard for private sector commercial transactions.
One of the earliest encryption security software available was Pretty Good Privacy® (PGP®), which was created in 1991 by Philip Zimmermann. This software was made available for free for non-commercial use, and quickly gained a wide following both inside and outside the United States. At the time, cryptography systems of a certain level of complexity were considered weapons by the US government, and Zimmermann was investigated for illegal export. No criminal charges were ever filed, however, and US laws have since been changed.
In addition to PGP®, there are many other encryption security software options which can be used for both personal and professional security. Much of this software costs money, especially if it is to be used in a commercial setting. There are also free encryption software packages available from a variety of security companies.