What is End-to-End Encryption or E2EE?


In this connected world, online privacy is now becoming an important topic to discuss. End-to-end encryption is one of the systems to protect your privacy.

You must be using WhatsApp or any other messaging service to connect to your loved ones. If you are using WhatsApp, then you may have read the line as "Messages to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption."

In this article I will write in short about What is end-to-end encryption, how it works, it's need and it's drawbacks.

Hey there, I am Madhusudan Somani and you are reading this article at MSS Articles, let's continue...

What is End-to-End Encryption

End-to-End Encryption is a system which protects the information from the sender to receiver. It is widely used in messaging and email services. eg. WhatsApp, Telegram etc. It is also referred to as E2EE.

In E2EE, when you send any message or e-mail then it is encrypted with a unique secret code, which is driven from the public encryption key of the receiver. The encryption is based on two factors, public encryption key of the receiver and the secret encryption key for the message from the sender.

Public Encryption Key

A public encryption key is a unique encryption key, which is assigned to every member of the connected network. Data encryption is done for the individual receiver based on his public encryption key.

How E2EE works

Let me explain the working of End-to-End Encryption with an example of a messaging platform which usage End-to-End Encryption. Now say you are sending a message "Hello there" to someone.

When you send a message, then your message will be encrypted with the receiver's public encryption key and a secret key which is unique for every sender-receiver pair.

Since the encryption depends on two factors, so if you send the same message to another person, then this will be encrypted differently.

The received message is then decrypted to original message by those two factors (secret key and public encryption key)

In End-to-End Encryption, information is stored in the server in encrypted form. So no one can access that message other than sender and receiver. Even the service provider can't access or decrypt the information. So it is called end-to-end encryption.

The need for End-to-End Encryption

In this growing internet, where sending and receiving information and message is becoming easier, privacy is becoming a major factor to worry about. You don't want any other person to read the messages you send to your girlfriend, do you?

For this purpose, a term Encryption is used, in which your data is safe from outside attackers. They are transferred in encrypted form. But this data can be accessed by the service provider. You had to trust the service that they do not interrupt.

We all know the need for security and privacy in this digital world. To be more sure about your data's privacy, a new term End-to-End Encryption is introduced.

End-to-End Encryption is needed because sometimes you can not trust the service provider or their database security. If anyone attack to their database, then they can access your data because it is not stored in encrypted form. So it might be risky.

But in End-to-End Encryption, your data is encrypted from your device and it then can only be decrypted on the receiver's device. In the meanwhile, it will remain encrypted even in the server's database also. So you can be more sure about the privacy of your data.

That's why there is a strong need for E2EE and it is used by major messaging, webmail and other services.

Drawbacks of E2EE

End-to-End Encryption is a great way to protect your privacy. It has many advantages over the traditional encryption system. But as no anything can be 100% perfect. There are some drawbacks in this system which might be not safe for your data.
  • In E2EE, your data is encrypted from your device and then decrypted in receiver's device and in between it is encrypted. But what if it is hacked before the encryption or after the decryption. If your phone is hacked then this may happen.
  • Government and other security communities cannot regulate the information if E2EE is there. This can be a huge disadvantage of E2EE if something happened which should not be and could be controlled by govt if accessed.

I found these two problems with E2EE. If you know any other, please let me know in the comment section below.


Conclusion

End-to-End encryption is an effective system for your online privacy. You can be more sure about your online privacy. Because with E2EE, no any other person can see your data, even the service provider and government also can't access your data. Country's cybercrime regulators also can not access any data encrypted with E2EE, which can be dangerous also.
End-to-End Encryption system may become better if it can find out any solution to this big problem.

If you have any thought in your mind, let me know in the comments below.
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