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How does encryption work?

When you use encryption, your data gets converted into meaningless symbols by using a key, which is nothing but the code that helps you to encrypt or decrypt data.

The more random the method of key conversion, the stronger the encryption will be. A pass phrase generally needs to be easy to remember, so it has significantly less randomness than its length suggests. For example, a 20-letter English phrase, rather than having 20 x 8 = 160 bits of randomness, only has about 20 x 2 = 40 bits of randomness.

So, cryptographic software converts a pass phrase into a key through a process called ``hashing'' or ``key initialization.'' (see glossary)

At the heart of the process is the algorithm (see glossary), which is devised so as to make deciphering the encrypted file impossible without using the secret key. Some of the popular encryption algorithms include Blowfish, DES, Diffie-Hellman, IDEA, RC4, RSA and Skipjack. Many of these use 64 and 128 bit encryption systems i.e. devise keys of 2*64 or 2*128 length.

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