What is end to end encryption (e2ee)?
Let’s dig into what end to end encryption is and, also, what it can do to keep you and your data secure.
E2ee is, simply put, a data security method that makes sure of one important thing. Namely, only the sender and receiver can access the data sent between them. It prevents any third party from accessing said data as it moves over networks. When we say networks, these could be of any kind, e.g. the internet, local ones, or Wi-Fi ones.
The advantage of e2ee is that, if someone intercepts your data, they wouldn’t be able to decrypt it without both keys, from both parties.
How does end to end encryption work?
Now that we’ve discussed end to end encryption meaning and we know what e2ee does in principle, let’s see how it works.
On a very basic level, the e2ee process starts when a message/data gets sent from a device. The data gets encrypted at the sender’s end, with only the receiver able to decrypt it. Encryption turns the data into ciphertext, essentially an unreadable format. This is called cryptography.
To decrypt the data, the receiving device needs a secret key. That secret key is only stored on that device.
The name of this process is called asymmetric cryptography and it uses a public-private key pair. The sender uses the receiver’s public key (which is available to everyone) to send the message. However, the receiver has both a private and a public key, the two of which are mathematically related. Only the receiver’s private key can decrypt the ciphertext. This is the secret key that we were discussing above.
Due to this, data can travel over various connections and servers and even be intercepted. Without both keys, decryption is not possible.
Also, the keys won’t ever coincide, as the system will create unique ones every time someone becomes part of it.
An E2ee example
If this feels like an abstract concept, you’re not the only one to feel that way. This is why we’ll look at an end to end encryption example.
An example of how to use end to end encryption would involve a tech support agent for a hospital trust. They’re accessing a computer using secure remote access. As you’d expect, the computer they’re getting into contains sensitive patient data. The last thing they’d want is for this data to end up in the wrong hands.
Also important to mention is that the agent is working from home today and connected to their home Wi-Fi. As their remote access software uses 256-bit AES encryption, the data is end to end encrypted. Therefore, they can rest assured that, due to e2ee, nobody, not even their internet service provider, can access it. Even though their home Wi-Fi password is known by their neighbour, this makes no difference. The neighbour might be able to intercept it, but not decrypt it.
Why end to end encryption is important
In the current age, data privacy is essential. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, that’s still not a reason for others to have access to your information.
Peace of mind is essential, and that’s exactly what e2ee helps with. Most users don’t realize it, but a lot of identity theft situations start from very small bits of information. An attacker might get access to one password, and then use that to get into an email account. From there, they might get to a mobile phone provider account, then a bank account and so on.
Using everything at your disposal to make a malicious actor’s job very difficult is always a good idea. And this goes from e2ee to multi-factor authentication or password managers.
What are the benefits end to end encryption?
Some of the key advantages of end to end encryption are:
Using e2ee makes sure that data remains private to only the sender and receiver.
E2ee helps keep your data more secure, as it significantly reduces the risk of it getting stolen while it’s being transmitted.
Protection against man-in-the-middle attacks
Even if an attacker hijacks the communication channel (e.g., a Wi-Fi connection), the data itself is safe. Without the public and private keys, the intercepted data wouldn’t be of much use to an attacker.
RealVNC and end to end encryption
RealVNC builds its product by putting security first. Therefore, end to end encryption is essential for our company.
When using VNC Connect, you can rest assured that your data is protected by encryption. All connections are encrypted end-to-end using up to 256-bit AES, 2048-bit RSA keys and perfect forward secrecy. This means that sessions are entirely private to you, now and in the future.
Data can’t be decrypted, not even by us at RealVNC. Our use of e2ee is one of the reasons why you don’t need to trust RealVNC to be able to trust and use our product. You can find out more about the security of our product here.
But VNC Connect is not just about security; it’s also about ease of use. And you don’t just have to take our word for it. Click the button below and get a free trial!