End-to-end encryption is a method of secure communication that prevents third parties from accessing data while it’s transferred from one end system or device to another.
- It prevents third parties like cloud service providers, internet service providers (ISPs) and cybercriminals from accessing data while it is being transferred.
- The process of end-to-end encryption uses an algorithm that transforms standard text into an unreadable format.
- This format can only be unscrambled and read by those with the decryption keys, which are only stored on endpoints and not with any third parties including companies providing the service.
Where is it used?
- End-to-end encryption is used to secure communications.
- Many popular messaging service providers use end-to-end encryption, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom.
- End-to-end encryption has long been used when transferring business documents, financial details, legal proceedings, and personal conversations.
- End-to-end encryption is used when data security is necessary, including in the finance, healthcare and communications industries.
- It is often used to help companies comply with data privacy and security regulations and laws.
- It is also used to secure passwords, protect stored data and safeguard data on cloud storage.
- Security in transit: Messages can only be decrypted using these keys, so only people with access to the endpoint devices are able to read the message.
- Tamper-proof: If a message encrypted with a public key gets altered or tampered with in transit, the recipient will not be able to decrypt it, so the tampered contents will not be viewable.
- Compliance: Many industries are bound by regulatory compliance laws that require encryption-level data security.
- End-to-end encryption can help organizations protect that data by making it unreadable.
- Complexity in defining the endpoints:
Some end-to-end encryption implementations allow the encrypted data to be decrypted and re-encrypted at certain points during transmission. This makes it important to clearly define and distinguish the endpoints of the communication circuit.
- Too much privacy: Government express concern that end-to-end encryption can protect people sharing illicit content because service providers are unable to provide law enforcement with access to the content.
- Visible Metadata: While end-to-end encryption protects the information inside a message, it does not conceal information about the message, such as the date and time it was sent or the participants in the exchange.
- Endpoint Security: If endpoints are compromised, encrypted data may be revealed.
Why are Tech Companies using it?
- The extra layer of protection would be valuable to targets of hacking attacks launched by well-funded groups.
- The focus on end-to-end encryption seems to stem from the company’s desire to position itself as a provider of secure data storage and transfer services.
- End-to-end encryption is also seen as a technology that secures users’ data from snooping by government agencies, making it a sought-after feature by activists, journalists, and political opponents.