Protecting information transmitted over the Internet has become a major concern for many companies around the world, as cybercrime has increased exponentially in recent years and has left millions of users exposed. for this reason, More and more services are choosing to protect their data using end-to-end encryption (E2EE).
This mechanism prevents third parties from accessing information that is transmitted during a conversation or data exchange between devices over the network. Apply encryption directly to the sender’s system It can only be decrypted in the recipient’s files. That is, information remains encrypted at every stage of its journey.
Data is encrypted and decrypted through Encryption keys stored on endpoints, so that third parties cannot read or modify them. For example, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t have access to this information, and neither do app developers, hackers, or any other entity or service.
Services that use end-to-end encryption
In online communication, there is always a file mediator Delivers messages between the two parties participating in the exchange. This intermediary is usually a server belonging to an ISP, a telecommunications company, or other organizations. The public key infrastructure used by E2EE ensures that middlemen cannot eavesdrop on sent messages.
This method is implemented by many applications that are used by millions of people around the world, such as The WhatsAppMeta messaging service.
It is also found in many other services. For example, in Password managers Like 1Password or BitWarden, which use E2EE to protect user passwords.
It is also used by storage devices Those who typically offer E2EE at rest, and service providers who have them in transit as well, in a cloud storage setup that stores anyone’s user data.
Historically, the complexity of end-to-end encryption limited who could use it effectively. In one of its first releases, known as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), it required the user to manage encryption keys, something difficult for people without advanced computer knowledge.
However, recent technological advances in device capabilities and security protocols have made it possible to simplify this type of encryption in various services, due to the automation of these processes.
How is E2EE different from other types of encryption?
What distinguishes end-to-end encryption is that only the endpoints (sender and receiver) are able to decrypt and read the message through two keys, one public and one private.
Another encryption mechanism, namely Symmetric key or unique keyalso provides an unbroken layer of encryption between the sender and the recipient, but only one key is used to encrypt messages.
It can be a randomly generated password, code, or string of numbers that is sent to the recipient of the message so that they can decrypt it, making the message more vulnerable to interception, decryption, and reading.
Another standard encryption strategy is Encryption in transitwhere messages are encrypted by the sender, intentionally decrypted at an intermediate point (a third-party server owned by the messaging service provider), and encrypted again when sent to the recipient.
Although the message in this state is unreadable in transit and can use two-key encryption, end-to-end encryption does not occur because the message is decrypted before it reaches the final recipient. This prevents messages from being intercepted on their journey, but creates potential vulnerabilities at the midpoint where they are decrypted.