What is End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) and How Does it Work?

Haseeb Awan
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July 12, 2022
Modified On
April 5, 2023

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Modified On
April 5, 2023

The most effective method of communicating securely and privately online is end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption stops anybody in the middle from accessing private conversations by encrypting messages on both sides of a discussion.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) was previously only accessible to tech-savvy individuals due to the laborious procedures needed to employ it. But thanks to recent technology developments, end-to-end encryption is now considerably more user-friendly and widely available. This article will define end-to-end encryption and discuss its benefits over standard encryption.

What is End-to-End Encryption (E2EE)?

No one can monitor the network, including the government, hackers, and the corporation that enables your communication, and cannot view the information of a message or an email you send using E2EE.

It is distinct from most businesses that now employ encryption, which merely safeguards data from your devices to the company's servers while in transit. For instance, if you receive and send emails through a service like Hotmail or Gmail that doesn't support E2EE, the corporation can access your communications information as they also control the encryption keys. Since the service provider doesn't certainly hold the decryption key, E2EE avoids this risk. E2EE is substantially more secure than traditional encryption as a result.

How Does End-to-End Encryption Work?

The endpoints hold the cryptographic keys that decrypt and encrypt the communications. This method uses public-key encryption.

It uses shared and private keys in public-key encryption, also known as asymmetric encryption. When the public key is made available, anyone can utilize it to encrypt communication and transmit it to the public key's owner. Only the associated private key, the decryption key, can be used to decrypt the communication.

Online conversations nearly always include a third party passing messages back and forth between the persons participating in an exchange. This middleman is typically a server owned by a telecommunications provider, an ISP, or several other businesses. The critical public infrastructure that E2EE utilizes prevents intermediaries from intercepting messages in transit.

Incorporating a public key into a certificate digitally signed by a reputable certificate body is the best way to ensure a public key is a genuine key generated by the intended receiver (CA). We can trust a certificate signed with the CA's public key because it is extensively used and understood, and because of this, you can assume its authenticity. The CA would probably refuse to certify a certificate that linked a different public key to the same name because the certificate relates the public key and recipient's name.

How is End-to-End Encryption Used?

To use End-to-end encryption when we need data protection, such as in the financial, medical, and communications sectors. It is frequently employed to assist businesses in adhering to security rules, data privacy, and legislation.

To secure confidential data, such as consumer credit card details, a vendor of electronic point-of-sale (POS) systems might provide E2EE. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), which prohibits the storage of card details, security codes, and magnetic stripe information on user devices, can be complied with by retailers using E2EE.

What does End-to-End Encryption Protect?

E2EE defends against these two risks:

  • Prying eyes. Only the intended recipient and sender know the keys to decrypt the communication, so E2EE prevents anybody else from accessing the communication's contents in transit. The info would not be readable, even though a server acting as an intermediary server and facilitating its transmission may be able to see it.
  • Tampering. E2EE additionally safeguards against the alteration of encrypted messages. Any efforts to change a message encrypted in this fashion would be evident because there is no way to change it accurately.

Advantages of End-to-End Encryption Services

E2EE has several benefits above the standard encryption used by most services, including:

  • Your data are kept confidential. If you utilize Gmail, Google will have access to all private information you include in your emails and will be able to save them even after you delete them. You may choose who reads your communications with E2EE.
  • It protects your data from hacking. Fewer parties can access your unencrypted data thanks to E2EE. Even if attackers gain access to the servers where your information is kept (like what happened with the Yahoo mail attack), they will not be able to decrypt it because they lack the decryption keys.
  • It benefits democracy. Everyone is entitled to privacy. E2EE defends free speech and protects from intimidation for persecuted activists, journalists, and dissidents.

Applications That Use E2EE

Pretty Good Privacy was the initial extensively utilized E2EE messaging application that protected email, saved files and employed digital signatures. Apps for text messaging, such as Apple's Signal Protocol, Jabber, and iMessage, typically use end-to-end encryption (formerly TextSecure Protocol). POS service providers like Square also use E2EE technologies to continue providing PCI compliance.

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Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or haseebawan@efani.com for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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