End-to-end encryption is a protection of communication against the third parties such as wiretapping. A communication encrypted in this way can only be read by the two communicating parties (sender and recipient). Not only is the data encrypted all along the way from one device to another, but it is also stored in an encrypted mode on the communicating parties’ devices so no third party can ever read the information.
Neither the attacker (the one who wants to eavesdrop on) nor the service provider (such as the chat program, messenger system, etc.) can access the information being communicated. End-to-end encryption brings more security but it also puts more demands on the devices used for communication, since the processes of encryption and decryption require some computing power (they might also consume more battery). Devices with end-to-end encryption are also usually more costly.
Also, end-to-end encryption is a protection against wiretapping or MITM (Man In The Middle) attacks.
Where and how do we use it?
It is important for all companies that want to secure their sensitive and confidential information from the leaks to their competitors or who are bound by law to protect their personal (e.g. HIPAA, GDPR, etc.).
End-to-end encryption is the safest way of communication which can only be accessed by the communicating parties. The service provider can neither interfere with the communication, nor, for example, provide the investigative bodies with some parts of the communication. This is because only the communicating parties’ devices have the cryptographic keys. Different types of communication can be secured by end-to-end encryption:
- Phone communication
- Communication via messages, texting
- Email communication - safe only when using encrypting in combination with S / MIME and X.509 certificates based signing of emails and/or authenticating the recipient’s certificate