What is Encryption and why we need to use it?

In short, encryption is the process of encoding the information to render it unreadable by interceptors. Heavily used in Cryptography which is the art of hiding or masking your clear text information so only you and the entity at destination can read it, no one else!!

Encryption goes back in time to the ancient Egyptians and their use of hieroglyphs, but evolved through out time until our days and it keeps on evolving faster every day. One of the famous algorithm used in the early days of encryption was the Caesar Cipher named after Julius Caesar which used a substitution method to encrypt the original text.

Nowadays, encryption is much more than protecting secret messages. All our digital information is now a target for thieves and malicious attackers who will try to steal it or destroy it whenever they get the chance. Encryption in itself is not the one and only solution that will prevent such thing from happening but it will render their job much harder to complete.


Encryption on Computers

All Faculty and Staff computers provided by Georgetown University Qatar have a full disk encryption enabled. In other words, everything on the hard disk is encrypted. That includes each and every file, document, folder, application and program stored on the computer.

As for personal computers, you will have to enable that for yourself. The disk encryption has been made easy by the Operating System (Windows, Mac or Linux) and here is how you can do it.

For Mac OS (FileVault2): Works on OSX Lion and later

For Windows (Bitlocker): Works on Windows Vista and later


Encryption on Mobiles and Tablets

The encryption on the mobile devices have more parameters to look for and make sure of the phone/tablet compatibility. First think to take into consideration is the operating system on your device. The most used ones are the iOS for Apple devices and the Android for a wide variety of manufacturers. The second thing to include in your equation would be the brand and model of the device that you want to encrypt as well as the version of your operating system. You might find native apps or settings to enable encryption on your device or you might need to get a third party app that will help with that.

For iPhones/iPads: Simple settings on iOS will do.

For Android phones/tablets:
With android devices, manufacturer and device model are a big factor. Here are some examples:

Samsung Galaxy S6: http://www.androidexplained.com/galaxy-s6-enable-encryption/
HTC One M9: http://www.htc.com/us/support/htc-one-m9/faq/2/#faq-263553
Nexus: https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/2844831?hl=en