David Papp Blog

What is End-to-End Encryption — How Does it Work and Why Do You Need it?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the vulnerability of social networks like Facebook or other messaging apps using end-to-end encryptions to protect communications. You can look to WhatsApp, Signal and PreVeil as well using these same technologies to protect exchanges of users data.

While it’s being used right now, not everyone fully understands what this means, how it works, and why it’s so important for every day people these days. Perhaps a little bit, but not the whole picture. Here is a rundown of it all.

What It Is

In terms of security, this is the gold-standard of protection. The only way people are ever going to get this information is if the sender sends this data to the intended recipient(s). That means that no third party or hacker is able to access the encrypted data on the server.

End-to-end encryption is basically encryptions on a device level. This means messages and files are encrypted well before they ever leave the phone or computer. It only becomes decrypted once it reaches the destination.

This means hackers aren’t able to intercept the messages part way through. They also can’t go to the servers themselves because they’ll need a private key to decrypt the data. These keys are specifically stored within individual users devices making it very difficult for individuals to get it.

Can It Get Hacked?

In short, yes, but it’s often discouraging.

To understand, you need to understand how hackers think. People say time and again that security is like a chain and hackers will attack the weakest link. That link usually is the servers where all the data is stored.

When using end-to-end encryption though, that information on the server is encrypted. All of that data is stored and encrypted and to anyone beyond users and the intended users, that information is gibberish.

So hackers definitely can be hacking into servers but the encryption makes it both difficult but also a complete waste of their time since they’ll gain literally nothing of use from accessing it.

Why Is This Important?

Why all of this is important is that it provides users and recipients complete security for emails and files. Any information flowing in and out is completely secure and only becomes decrypted once the information has been received.

It ensures that no third party is ever able to read exchanged messages.

How this translates to end users can be best be shown when looking at services like Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft. These enable access to content of user data on its servers, but also holds copies of decryption keys.

What these companies are then allowed to do is these companies are able to read all the emails and files that users have sent and they can leverage that information. Google in particular is able to use that data to sell you targeted ads.

In end-to-end encryptions, the providers of these systems never hold onto those decryption keys.

End-To-End Encryption Is The Way

For those who want a higher level of security and privacy, finding suppliers of these services is crucial and fortunately there are a good amount of options out there. Companies like PreVeil, and WhatsApp are using this technology to protect their users. Switching over to those companies is a good way to ensure communications you send are completely protected.