Posted On : 21st November, 2019 by Pranjal Kaushiley
ViitorCloud has recently launched a brand-new product ‘Send It Over‘. Send It Over is a platform for users to send encrypted secure messages anywhere and to anyone. In this blog, we have discussed the importance of secure messaging and encryption in today’s era where cyberattacks have become very common.
There is an immeasurable amount of data that together make up the internet. Most of it is simply being transmitted across the web, unprotected and for anyone to view and exploit. If you are in a position wherein your communication entails sensitive data, it could be your company documents, your personal information or any form of financial data that you need to transfer to someone then it’s integral that you adopt certain cybersecurity measures like message encrypting. Given that high profile, corporate security breaches are becoming more and more common nowadays; there’s no guessing who might have access to your personal or business’ confidential information and what harm they might inflict with it or to it.
As for your simple communication, if you’re using standard, unencrypted messaging platforms like SMS texting, to transfer integral information, you’re leaving yourself open to monitoring by your carrier and government entities, as well as hackers and criminals. Not even platforms that offer end-to-end security like WhatsApp are invulnerable to attacks as was recently proven by the Pegasus attack. Every single day there is a new scandal of some political action committee or foreign entity interfering and manipulating the elections by misusing citizen data that they accessed inappropriately.
The risks to your sensitive information are innumerable so are the possibilities of damage done with it. That said, the most basic way to protect your sensitive data from being hacked, seen, or stolen, is to encrypt messages.
Encrypted messaging (also referred to as secure messaging) provides encryption for user-to-user communication. Encrypted messaging prevents anyone from monitoring or accessing your conversations. Some encryption platforms go as far as to also offer end-to-end encryption for phone calls made using the apps, as well as for files that are sent using the apps.
What is encryption?
Encryption is the process of encoding information to prevent anyone other than its intended recipient from accessing or viewing it. The concept of cryptography and encryption is nearly as old as civilization itself. The earliest known use of cryptography is found in non-standard hieroglyphs carved into the wall of a tomb from the Old Kingdom of Egypt circa 1900 BC.
You might have even used some basic form of encryption now and then to send “secret” messages to your friends. While the encryption used in today’s secure messaging apps is much more complicated and secure than any secret code you might have used for fun, the concept and its aim are the same as its basic roots. Hide information from everyone who does not happen to be an intended recipient.
Modern data encryption makes use of an algorithm known as a cipher to convert information into what appears to be random characters or symbols. The encrypted information is inaccessible and unreadable to all those who are trying to access it via illicit methods.
Two modern methods of encryption are the Public Key (Asymmetric) and the Private Key (Symmetric) methods.
While these two methods of encryption are similar in that they both allow users to encrypt data to hide it from the prying eyes of outsiders and then decrypt it for viewing by an authorized party, they differ in how they perform the steps involved in the process.
In symmetric encryption, you use the same key for both encryption and decryption of your data or message. Taking the example, I gave above, sending a secure message to your granny, both of you need to have the same key in order to encrypt and decrypt the messages that you may exchange with each other. Asymmetric encryption is quite the opposite to the symmetric encryption as it uses not one key but a pair of keys: a private one and a public one.
What Is An Encrypted Message?
The intention behind encryption is to shield messages and attachments from being read or opened by anyone except the intended recipients. It does so by scrambling the message’s text using complex mathematical calculations. It then takes a password or some other type of credentials to unscramble the text and read the message or attachment. That way, only the people with the explicit password can access the message. Another important part of message encryption is server encryption — i.e, to ensure that the messages are as safe as they can be, the server from which you send the message must be encrypted, as well. This is because, for a quick moment, while a message is travelling over the Internet from the sender’s server to the recipient’s server, the message is free-floating and under the threat of being accessible to anyone trying to get it. However, if the server happens to be password protected, then all ill-intentioned cybercriminals wouldn’t be able to access or tamper with your messages that are in transit.
Why Should You Use It?
Now things in the actual world may not be as severe as a George Orwell novel but there is no denying that our data and communication is no longer safe from snooping eyes.
Your personal messages that include your financial messages are to be protected at all costs. Any cybercriminal can use your messages to access further personal information like your bank details and online passwords. Encrypted messaging to communicate such critical information protects you from such attacks.
In companies and corporations, message encryption is immensely important for when managers and teams need to share confidential information regarding enterprise products and affairs, exchange files containing financial data, credit card information, security information, and confidential medical records; even general discussions regarding day to day business dealings of a company are to be kept within the company’s exclusive ownership. Essentially, it’s beneficial for any industry to adopt message encryption as a form of cybersecurity.
In addition, as we have witnessed multiple large–scale cyber–attacks like WannaCry and Ransomware targeting enterprises encrypted messaging is a necessary step forward as it is predicted that such attacks are only going to increase in the future. Moreover, insider threats that include inadvertent misuse by employees which currently is the leading cause of business security breaches, encrypting communication ensure that these issues don’t occur and never turn into a crisis. With message encryption, everything is contained and within the business’s control.
Secure Messaging As An Alternative.
Popular communication techniques like emails aren’t ever truly encrypted; there are several vulnerabilities most common people aren’t aware of. In addition to potential cracks in networks, servers, and even devices, encrypted emails only ensure that the message and attachment text is scrambled, not the header information. This means that your address, the recipient’s address, subject, date, and more, are all still in plain text and available for anyone to read. A skilled cybercriminal can still inflict great damage with this information. There are dozens of ways to encrypt emails and attachments (like public key cryptography, for example) but it takes time, effort, and most importantly, technological expertise.
This is why a platform with protection built in to the service is particularly useful—the coding, encryption, security is already in place and, truly, there’s nothing needed on your part except to simply type your message and choose its recipients.
The process of Send It Over encrypted messaging.
Send It Over created by ViitorCloud is a platform that provides this service and the brilliance of this platform is that it is completely free of cost. Users can create encrypted messages, send their messages and set a timer for the message to self-destruct.
The user/s fill out details of their message and its recipient. Then they submit the form. The form upon submission sends data from a server asynchronously without interfering with the display and behaviour of the existing page using jQuery. The message is then encrypted using Laravel AES-256-CBC cipher and stored in MySQL server. The recipient/s of the encrypted message is notified via an email following SMTP set of communication guidelines that they have received an encrypted email. At any given stage the message is neither stored nor transmitted without encryption and is removed as soon as the allocated time is over unless the sender selects the option to allow the message to never expire.
In conclusion, Send It Over is a server-based approach to protect sensitive data when shared with other recipients whilst providing compliance with industry regulations.
Advantages over classical secure e-mail are that confidential and authenticated exchanges can be started immediately by any internet user worldwide since there is no requirement to install any software nor to obtain or to distribute cryptographic keys beforehand. Send It Over provides non-repudiation as the recipients are personally identified and transactions (not the actual messages) are logged by the secure email platform.
With the dramatic rise in cyber-attacks, internet fraud, identity fraud and data breaches in the past couple of years amid nation-state actors now threatening critical and sensitive data, it has become crucial for the individuals and companies to put in ultra-secure measures to stay ahead of hackers.