Overview of E2EE (End-to-end Encryption)
“Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside this chat can read or listen to them, not even WhatsApp. Tap to learn more.”
This phrase sounds familiar. We all use WhatsApp daily; many of us would have noticed this phrase. Let’s dive into E2EE to get a better understanding of this phrase.
Using End-to-end encryption prevents third parties from accessing data while it’s transferred from one end system or device to another. When the sender sends the data, it is encrypted. When the data reaches the receiver end, it is decrypted. As it travels to its destination, the data cannot be read or tampered with by an internet service provider (ISP), application service provider, hacker, or any other entity or service.
End-to-end encryption is used when data security is required, such as in the financial, medical, and communications sectors. It is frequently employed to assist businesses in adhering to data privacy, security rules, and legislation.
What kind of encryption does E2EE use?
End-to-end encryption uses a specialized form of encryption called public key encryption (also sometimes called asymmetric encryption). Public key encryption enables two parties to communicate without sending the secret key over an insecure channel.
Let’s understand this with a simple asymmetric encryption example.
Imagine that you are a spy agency that needs to develop a secure way for your agents to report. They have their orders. Therefore you don’t need two-way contact; all you need are regular, thorough reports from them. You might use asymmetric encryption to give the agents public keys to encrypt their data and a private key at the headquarters that would be required to decrypt everything. This offers an unbreakable one-way communication method.
What does end-to-end encryption protect against?
You don’t want someone reading your conversations in your network.
E2EE protects your data. This protects your data from hackers and your privacy from Big Tech.
Service providers like Google (Gmail), Yahoo, and Microsoft keep duplicates of the decryption keys. This means that these providers have access to users’ email and files. Google has used this access to profit from users’ private communications with tailored adverts.
In contrast, system providers never have access to the decryption keys in well-designed end-to-end encrypted systems.
There are two threats that E2EE protects with:
- Prying eyes. Only the sender and intended recipient know the keys to decrypt the message, so E2EE prevents anybody else from accessing the communication’s contents in transit. The message won’t be readable, even though a server acting as an intermediary server and facilitating its transmission may be able to see it.
- Tampering. E2EE additionally guards against the alteration of encrypted messages. Any attempts to alter a message would be obvious because there is no way to alter one when it is encrypted in this manner predictably.
What Doesn’t End-to-End Encryption Protect Against?
Compromised Endpoints: If either endpoint has been compromised, a hacker might be able to see a communication before it is encoded or after it has been decoded. Attackers might also take keys from infected endpoints and perform a man-in-the-middle attack using a stolen public key.
Payoda and End-to-end encryption
Besides some limitations, End-to-end encryption is currently the safest way to transfer private information, which is why more and more communication systems are adopting it.
End-to-end encryption is at the heart of Payoda’s approach to protecting users’ email and files. Hundreds of corporations and small businesses now trust Payoda to safeguard their customers’ most sensitive data. Learn more about how Payoda protects your data with end-to-end encryption.
Authored by: Visnu Balaji S