Mortimer Smythe Designs Oakland Web Design & Web Development Blog

More on Data Security

Encrypted messages protect the privacy of the sender by converting the content from readable text to scrambled text, or cipher. To read the cipher, the recipient must have a matching private key for the public key. When this happens, the recipient is able to decipher the encrypted message. For businesses, encryption keeps data and information indecipherable. Authorized viewers are able to decipher this content by running a code, but non-authorized viewers, or hackers, aren’t able to see anything but a string of random characters.

PGP, a notoriously difficult to master data encryption and decryption computer program, was first released in 1991 and remains one of the best-known pieces of software for this purpose. Up to now, data encryption has either been extremely difficult, poorly designed or have required switching to a new service. But now, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland have developed a prototype browser extension to make sending and receiving encrypted text on Twitter, Facebook and any other website…well, not easy, but easier for individuals.

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The browser extension is called ShadowCrypt and to use it you just need to install the extension and then create encryption keys for each website on which you’d like to use it. To read the encrypted text, users will have to install the extension and enter the encryption key used to create it. You can create multiple keys for individual sites and easily choose which one you’d like to use.

It’s a tremendous achievement for data encryption and personal online security (although, at this time it is just a prototype) and it’s exciting to see what could possibly be a new, easy way for people to control the security of their personal data online. Justin Troutman, an independent cryptography researcher, touts it as a “step toward building a more benign surface for interacting with Web apps.”

It’s amazing, also, to consider how important encryption is that it is now entering the realm of the individualized user—and not just the individualized, hyper-competent, possessor-of-big-secrets individual users—but the Web user who wants to know that the work they do online is safe and in their control.

It should go without saying, although we’ll keep saying it again and again, but as businesses, and especially if you’re a client serving business, all precautions should be taken to protect all the information with which you have been entrusted and which you have created. Taking extra care to keep your data secure involves organizational policy and up-to-date technology that’s been tested and proven to work. Encrypting sensitive data so only those who need to access it can access it is one of the most important security steps you can take. Browser extensions are a fantastic acheivement for the individual online user communicating simple messages, and this browswer extensions is a great reminder of the importance of safely transmitting data online. The most secure way to insure the safe delivery and transmittal of large swaths of complicated information is to use a system that has been tested and proven as secure. 

The amount of data you're storing is dynamic, but your security should be consisent. Is your data secure? Contact us today to arrange a security review of your company.