Cryptography: Is It Foolproof against Cyber Threats?

Cryptography: Is It Foolproof against Cyber Threats?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

Cryptography is a method of protecting information by transforming it into an unreadable format. Only those who possess a special key can decipher, or decrypt, the information into a readable format. It’s a powerful tool used to secure data and maintain privacy in digital communications.

Cryptography Examples

1. Secure Emails

Email has quickly become a primary communication method for both personal and professional matters. As such, it’s vital to ensure private information within emails remains private. Cryptography plays an essential role in this, encrypting the contents of an email when it’s sent from one person to another. The way it works is simple: the sender’s email service encrypts the email using a specific key, which can only be decrypted by the receiver’s email service. This means that if someone intercepts the email during its transmission, they will not be able to understand its content because it’s all scrambled up.

But how would the receiver’s email service know how to decrypt the email? This is where public-key cryptography comes into play. Here, every user has a pair of keys: one private and one public. The sender encrypts the email with the receiver’s public key, which can only be decrypted with the corresponding private key held by the receiver. This ensures the email, if intercepted, cannot be decrypted and read by anyone other than the intended recipient.

So, with the use of cryptography, you can send emails knowing that your information is secure. Even if someone does manage to intercept them, they’ll just have a bunch of unreadable information.

2. Secure Online Payments

Transactions done online require the exchange of sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, which must be protected. Online stores use cryptography to encrypt this information to ensure that it is unreadable while in transit from the customer to the store. Once your information reaches the store, it can be decrypted and processed safely. This encrypted data could be intercepted; however, without the key to decrypt it, the data will remain unreadable.

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The technology that seems to be in use most often here is SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) encryption. This is represented by the “HTTPS” and the little lock icon you see in your web browser’s address bar before the website’s address. This signals that the data transmitted between your browser and the website server is encrypted and secure.

The same principles also apply to mobile payment methods or any digital platform that stores your financial information. As our world becomes more digitally interconnected, and as more transactions happen online, the need for strong cryptography measures will only increase.

3. Password Protection

Almost every online service today requires a password. But, as you might have guessed, these passwords aren’t stored just as you typed them. They are, in fact, stored in an encrypted format. This is a crucial use of cryptography. When you type in your password, it is transformed into a protected string of characters and saved in the provider’s database. Each time you log in, the password you type in is encrypted again and matched with the saved encrypted string.

This process acts as a safeguard for your passwords. If anyone gains unauthorized access to the storage database, they will only find encrypted passwords that are almost impossible to convert back to their original form without the correct decryption key. This is the reason why, if you forget your password, most services will allow you to reset it, but they won’t be able to tell you what your original password was.

In summary, the use of cryptography in password protection provides a crucial layer of security to protect user data. Even though data breaches may occur, attackers cannot immediately exploit this information, giving affected parties time to take remedial action.


Cryptography is an indispensable tool in our digital world, protecting our emails, financial transactions, and passwords. By converting readable data into a complex code, it allows us to maintain privacy, secure communication, and safeguard critical information in an interconnected world.

Key Takeaways

  • Cryptography protects information by transforming it into an unreadable format, which can only be deciphered using a special key.
  • It plays a vital role in ensuring secure email communications, by encrypting the content so only the desired recipient can decipher it.
  • Cryptography safeguards online transactions by encrypting sensitive data like credit card information during transmission.
  • In password protection, passwords are stored in an encrypted format ensuring that even if there’s a data breach, dissecting this information is very difficult for the attackers.
  • The wide use of cryptography in our digital communications reinforces the necessity for cybersecurity measures in an interconnected world.

Related Questions

1. How does cryptography protect online transactions?

Cryptography protects online transactions by encrypting the sensitive information that needs to be shared, like credit card numbers or bank account details. This ensures that even if the information is intercepted during transmission, it cannot be read without the unique decryption key.

2. How does password protection work with cryptography?

When you create a password, it is encrypted into a coded string and stored in the service provider’s database. When you enter your password to log in, the entered password is encrypted again and matched with the stored encrypted string, ensuring that the original password is not directly exposed or stored.

3. What is public-key cryptography?

Public-key cryptography is a system that uses two keys: a public key to encrypt data and a private key to decrypt it. This system is the basis for many online secure communications, including email encryption and secure website browsing via HTTPS.

4. Can encrypted data be decrypted without a key?

Decrypting encrypted data without a key is practically impossible given current technology. The purpose of encryption is to protect data, making it unreadable unless the decryptor has the correct key.

5. Why is cryptography important in modern day communications?

In the digital age, where large amounts of sensitive information are exchanged electronically every day, cryptography has become fundamental to ensuring data security and maintaining trust in communication systems. It protects personal, financial and business information, keeping it secure from potential attacks.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional