You’ve probably heard a bit about encryption on the news; ISIS is using it to thwart international governments’ attempts to shut down their communication network, the NSA is breaking it to spy on you and me, all that kind of shifty-sounding junk. That may leave some of you with the impression that encryption is a tool for malicious entities to use and exploit. Yes, they do use it and exploit it, but the purposes of encryption as a whole are very positive. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
Encryption is a vital technology when it comes to security on the web. Every time you buy something on Amazon or ebay, your credit card information and address are encrypted so that nobody can just pop in, grab your information, and deplete your bank account. If you want to register for classes at college, your traffic is encrypted so that there’s a smaller chance of data corruption and you don’t end up registering for Art 101 instead of Thermodynamics. Emails between you and your boss are encrypted for the sake of confidentiality. Encryption is a tool of security. It just so happens that some terrorist organizations are also reaping the benefits of this technology. As much as we despise terrorist organizations, their operation remaining intact is a ringing endorsement for the security benefits of encryption. And, yeah, the NSA is building in backdoors so that they can bypass encryption on your devices, but there are ways around that.
Encryption is the way you should be keeping yourself safe. If you aren’t concerned about encryption, pay a visit to DEF CON one year with an unprotected device and see what happens….