We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Encryption Techniques?

By Troy Holmes
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The process of secretly encoding messages has been used for centuries in espionage. Data encryption is a process of creating secret message formats for data that is stored on computer files. Within computer software there are multiple encryption techniques available for data files. These techniques are typically known as data encryption algorithms. Each algorithm has unique benefits and usage patterns based on the type of data and the level of protection desired.

Unencrypted data is information that can be easily read by a computer or person. When data is created on a computer it is automatically saved in an unencrypted format. This data is saved on computers or fileservers and can easily be accessed by would-be hackers on the Internet. Encryption techniques are special processes designed to convert the readable data into the equivalent of gibberish.

Encryption patterns and standards are managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This body approves and tests newly developed encryption techniques. Currently, the advanced encryption standard (AES) is considered one of the most modern of standards on cryptography. It is designed to support a 256-bit key encryption program. The advanced encryption standard was created in 2001 and currently supports several encryption algorithms.

Public key cryptography is a standard form of encryption that requires special keys to encrypt and decrypt messages. Encryption techniques that use this from of encoding are typically considered secure because the data requires two parts to be unencrypted. First it requires the correct decrypting algorithm and secondly it requires a special encrypted key that must be used with the algorithm.

What makes public key cryptography unique is the requirement of special keys to both encrypt and decrypt messages. A public key is used by the encrypting algorithm and a private key is used for the decrypting algorithm. These type of encryption techniques are difficult to break because of the two-key encryption process.

The complexity of encryption algorithms is based on the physical size of the encryption key. The larger the key, the more complex the encryption program can be. Early versions of encryption used the data encryption standard (DES), which only supported a 56-bit key. These were easily manipulated and quickly broken by hackers. With the AES standards, the permutations of possibilities makes deciphering new encryption nearly impossible.

Blowfish is one of the most complex encryption algorithms currently available today. It was designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier. This encryption algorithm is based on AES and supports a 448-bit encryption key. Currently there is no known cryptanalysis of the blowfish algorithm. This version of encryption is freely available.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By pinkandred — On Apr 20, 2011

@SerafinA- There is free software available to ensure data security that you can use during email use -- just google "free e-mail encryption" or something like that and you should be able to find one.

I totally agree with you about protecting data, by the way. I think it is wise to protect your email. I always try to keep my data as protected as possible because the it can be really terrible if someone hacks into a sensitive e-mail.

By SerafinA — On Apr 09, 2011

Encrypted email is actually possible with certain home email accounts, like Gmail. You will have to get a third-party software to make your email encrypted. Depending on what you use email for, this is not a bad idea to consider.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.