12 dark secrets of encryption

With data security a key concern across all systems, encryption is increasingly becoming the go-to solution. But encryption may be less of a sure thing than you think.

12 dark secrets of encryption
SolarSeven / Getty Images

Encryption is fast becoming developer’s go-to solution for whatever data privacy or security worry ails you. Afraid of putting your credit card into a web form? Don’t worry. We’re using encryption. Unsure whether a website is authentic? Encryption has your back. The good news is, encryption algorithms do work some of the time. The math offers some protection against eavesdropping and a solid foundation for trust.

But all magic has its limits and the tricky thing with encryption is that it can be impossible to be certain where those limits are. The math can be so awe inspiring that we can only sit and stare with our mouths agape. It’s easy to get lost and just resign yourself to trusting it will all work out when the calculations are so complex.

In the end, with encryption, the best we can do is manage our expectations and our understanding. We can’t live without encryption, but we can’t assume that it will work as easily or as reliably as a light switch.

So here are a dozen dark secrets of encryption to keep in mind when looking for solutions to intractable problems in your information architecture.

We don’t understand it

To continue reading this article register now

Get the best of CIO ... delivered. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters!