Over the last few years, there have been many news about massive hacking scandals and a high number of attacks have taken place. Considering that even major companies and government organizations which are meant to have top security systems, have been targeted by hackers, it is clear that Internet users are not safe and we all need to take measures to protect our information. Understanding how encryption solutions such as AES and zero-knowledge work, will allow you to defend your privacy from the threats that lurk online.
Using strong encryption is crucial to keep your data secure and avoid that it falls into the wrong hands. Encrypting the information that you store in cloud services is just one of the measures that you can take in order to keep your privacy protected. Another important steps include implementing two-factor authentication and making sure that all the passwords you use are very strong. You can also use VPN services to prevent eavesdroppers from finding out what you do online.
What does encryption do?
In essence, encryption refers to the process of scrambling digital data to prevent others from getting access to it. Only by having the key is possible to access the data. Standard online traffic is not secured automatically and anyone would be able to listen a conversation or go through your conversations, just by checking your data logs. Encryption changes everything, meaning that only those who are authorized will be able to receive and see the online communications. Encryption scrambles plain data, making it unreadable.
The process involves algorithms known as ciphers and secured data is known as ciphertext. Recovering the encrypted data is simple, but you need to enter the right password. Make sure that you use a strong password, as well as two-factor authentication and a zero-knowledge service. These solutions, along with AES or Blowfish encryption will allow you to keep your data secure and prevent online fraudsters from accessing your information.
Why do you need to use zero-knowledge
When it comes to protecting your sensitive information, zero knowledge is your strongest security option. Zero-knowledge allows you to enjoy complete privacy for the files and folders that you store in a cloud storage or backup service. You can keep your data private and avoid that malicious hackers, the government or even the cloud service provider, get to access it. In order to access the information, a description key is needed and given that the company that sends and receives the data doesn’t have to verify the contents for security purposes, the privacy of your data will be strongly protected.
Thanks to zero-knowledge encryption, you don’t need to take the risk of placing all your trust into the provider because you will be in control of the security of your files and folders. However, this is not a standard solution and some online cloud storage services haven’t implemented it yet. However, companies like pCloud, Mega, SpiderOak and Tresorit support zero-knowledge.
Why do you need to use AES encryption?
AES refers to Advanced Encryption Standard and it is the most popular encryption solution available. It is commonly used to encrypt hard drives and emails. In order to be able to decrypt an AES file, you just need to enter the right password. AES is worth considering because it is simple and it hasn’t bee compromised yet. In addition, it allows you to upload images using protocols like HTTPS, FTPS, SFTP, AS2, OFTP and WebDAVS. AES is a good option to transfer large files such as videos and programmes, although it is slower than Blowfish.
It is possible to use 128-bit, 192-bit or 256-bit key lengths, and if you want to achieve the highest level of security, it is advisable to opt for the longest key length as possible. You can encrypt data with AES easily by going to https://aesencryption.net/ and uploading the text, then entering the password and selecting the encryption length that you want to use. To get a strong level of security, the best option is to combine all the elements previously mentioned. You can double-secure a text by encrypting it with AES, prior to sending it to a zero-knowledge cloud service. This reinforces the protection to your data.
What about Blowfish?
Although Blowfish is not as prominent as AES these days, it is another solid solution. It was created in 1993 and it is an open source solution that offers faster speeds than AES when it comes to encrypting images and texts. Blowfish offers good performance on electronic devices that have limited processing capacity, including older computers, as well as tablets and smartphones. It is made of a 64-bit block size and it has a key-length range of 32-bit up to 448-bit. If you are uploading documents to the cloud using a mobile device, or you have an old computer, Blowfish would be the most practical option. Some cloud storage and backup services use Blowfish and you can also download the open source code form here: https://www.schneier.com/academic/blowfish/download.html
How to step up your online security
In order to increase your online safety while using cloud storage, there are a few things that you can consider. The first is to use a zero-knowledge cloud service, then secure your data using AES 256-bit encryption, or Blowfish with a key length of 448-bit. Once your data is encrypted, store it using a zero-knowledge cloud service. Make sure that you use a strong password and two-factor authentication as well. The password should be a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols. It is also advisable that it has at least 8 characters and that is not something that can be easily figured out. You can use a password generator and store the passwords in the cloud so that you don’t need to remember them.
Encrypting your data before uploading it to the cloud will allow you to enhance its security and avoid that it is accessed by cybercriminals. Choosing a strong password is essential, but you don’t need to keep track of complicated options. Instead, you can use a password storage service that also keeps the password safe, such as LastPass. With encryption and a zero-knowledge solution, you can keep the privacy of your files and folders protected from prying eyes.